News / Edmonton

Edmonton pushes for large purchase of electric buses

Coun. Scott McKeen is warm to the idea as it highlight’s the city’s green plans

Electric buses are in store for Edmonton.

Metro News

Electric buses are in store for Edmonton.

Edmonton is pushing for what could be the largest number of electric buses that any city in North America has ever purchased.

“We’re breaking a new trail here,” said Coun. Scott McKeen. “So, the bus company should reward Edmonton with good prices.”

On Tuesday, the city will propose council approve purchasing 25 to 40 electric buses, for $30.6 million — depending on the unit price. 

The purchase would use funding that was initially slated for 49 diesel buses, to grow the bus fleet. 

McKeen said he hopes other levels of government contribute to such green projects, too.

“In an Alberta context, it’s probably something the Notley government should proclaim when they’re talking about pipelines,” he said. “There’s a lot of good things happening in Alberta.”

The city says the delivery of electric buses would align with the opening of the new northeast transit garage, a $186-million project set to be complete by late 2018.

Prior to the recommendation, a field test and an independent analysis on the buses concluded they are feasible and affordable.

The city anticipates the fleet will mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its fleet by 38 to 44 per cent. 

The buses will be “free floating,” rather than being physically connected to overhead electrical wires.

“I don’t think there’s a huge risk here,” McKeen said. “I’m quite excited about the fact we’re leading North America on this purchase. This is another feather in Edmonton’s cap and I think Edmontonians should be very proud about that.”

A city survey of 2,825 questionnaires also found 78 per cent of ETS customers would like the Edmonton to purchase electric busses. Four per cent were opposed to the purchase while 18 per cent were unsure.

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