Edmonton Transit is ready to take the next ‘green’ step for its bus fleet. A report going to city council recommends buying five electric vehicles. However what the choice is, remains up in the air.
ETS ran a pilot project last winter and have narrowed the choice down to two types of battery technology. One that can take a charge and run all day, for about 500 km, and another than needs charging more frequently from plug-in stations scattered around the city.
“Most of the pilot happened in the winter time,” said branch manager Eddie Robar, who admits it might not have given them as clear a picture as they had hoped. “Obviously we want to try to get these buses with a battery in cold weather and see what kind of charge they keep during the winter time, to make sure in this environment that we have here in Edmonton that it would be a feasible option for us.”
“It was a bit of a mild winter for us so that was a bit of a challenge and part of what our recommendation is to go for five buses, and not go too deep into this. As we get a little bit more experience the buses themselves, the technology, it’s an evolving technology right now so there’s a lot happening in the industry.”
Robar thinks they can buy themselves some time, and see how technology evolves, so one of these in the battle of Beta v VHS emerges as a winner.
“Let’s say we go with the one that needs to charge more frequently, put infrastructure on the street and they go up and recharge at different times, at different stations in different places, and the industry then settles on battery loaded technology on the bus. And it’s the distance charge that we can get an entire day out of it? Then we’ve just wasted all our money on infrastructure that’s not going to be current. That’s an example of what can happen.”
Once they learn maintenance and performance of the five buses, then they can dive deeper with a larger purchase in later years. They’ll also get a clearer picture of the financial situation behind reducing GHGs because of moves made by the provincial government as it establishes how a carbon tax will impact industry.
Council’s transportation committee will debate the report Wednesday, then when the fall supplementary capital budget is presented, all of council will decide on the five vehicle purchase.
The transportation committee report is here Go to item 6.1