Side view of Videotron e-transit van, kitted with ladders, stationed in front of apartment complex
Videotron, a Quebec-based subsidiary of media conglomerate Quebecor and one of Quebec’s most well known telecommunication companies, has announced it is adding 100 new Ford E-Transit electric vans to its fleet this summer. Photo: Videotron

With the new Ford vehicles, and related charging infrastructure, 20 per cent of Videotron’s 900-vehicle fleet will be electrified — in step with parent company Quebecor’s commitment to have a fully zero-emission fleet by 2030

Videotron, a subsidiary of media conglomerate Quebecor and one of Quebec’s most well-known telecommunication companies, has announced it is adding 100 new Ford E-Transit electric vans to its 900-vehicle fleet this summer.

With a range of 200 kilometres, the Ford E-Transits were chosen for their ability to meet the needs of Videotron’s technical crews to assist customers on-site and return back to base, says Stephane Labrecque, fleet director for Videotron in an interview with Electric Autonomy Canada.

Videotron has millions of television, entertainment, internet landline and mobile phone users from across the province as well as customers in New Brunswick and Ontario.

“Our plan is to be electrified at the end of 2030… and for now we just want to make sure that we have the right vehicles in our fleet in terms of EVs or our PHEV and we do want to learn,” says Labrecque.

Among one of the first companies in Canada to be deploying Ford E-Transit electric vans, Labrecque says they will be surveying to see how well the new E-Transits will fit into their fleet and ensure they are the “best vehicle” for Videotron’s operations before making anymore purchases.

The Ford E-Transits will join a fleet that already includes 70 other EVs, plug-in hybrids or hydrogen vehicles, says Labrecque. The company also has six Ford Econoline 150s that they converted to electric.

By the end of the year, says Labrecque, electric vehicles will account for around 20 per cent of Videotron’s fleet.

Adding charging infrastructure

To meet Quebecor’s targets to achieve a 100 per cent electric fleet by 2030, the company has invested $17.5 million (so far) in the initiative.

It will also be supporting its subsidiaries’ pivot to EVs by purchasing electric charging stations and updating existing infrastructure across the company.

Videotron has a total of 80 charging stations across their regional offices, says Labrecque. The installation of 42 new Level 2 chargers with speeds between 7.2 and 19.2 kilowatts and one 50 kilowatt DC fast charger station was recently completed at Videotron’s main Frontenac St. offices in Montreal. Half of the Level 2 chargers are also connected to backup generators.

The infrastructure project is receiving a $500,000 investment from Quebec’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources’ Electric Vehicle Fleet Charging Pilot Project. Videotron is also receiving federal funding through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Fuels Awareness Projects.

“Almost a year ago to the day, Videotron announced its ambition to become the first telecommunications company in Canada to electrify 100 per cent of its vehicle fleet by 2030. Today’s announcement is a first milestone in achieving this objective,” said Jean-François Pruneau, former president and CEO of Videotron in a press release about the government’s funding for the charging stations, originally announced last year.

“For the first time, a large company will operate and maintain an entire fleet of electrically powered service vehicles. We hope that the lessons thus learned can guide the implementation of electric vehicle fleets in many other organizations throughout Quebec.”

In the coming months, more charging stations will be installed at other Quebecor business locations, says the company.

Overall green plan

In January 2020, Quebecor pledged to electrify its entire fleet of over 1,100 cars and light trucks at all its subsidiary businesses, including Videotron and TVA Group — another Quebecor subsidiary that provides communication services.

“Business[es] ha[ve] an important role to play in tackling climate change. Quebecor has always been a pioneer in its fields of activity and in many social spheres. We are committed to being part of Quebec’s energy transition to a sustainable economy,” said Pierre Karl Péladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor in a recent email statement to Electric Autonomy.

“We estimate that our vehicle fleets account for 52 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions. Our efforts are therefore focused on purchasing electric cars and converting the gasoline engines of some of our vehicles to electric, mainly at our Videotron and TVA subsidiaries.”

Last year, Quebecor joined EV100, a global initiative started by The Climate Group in order to unite “forward-looking” companies to accelerate EV adoption by 2030.

“Our plan will guarantee responsible management of our fleets. Among other things, it will increase the useful life of our light trucks and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” adds Péladeau.

As part of its action plan to reduce its environmental footprint, Quebecor also has run the Rolling Green program since 2021, which encourages eco-responsibility on film sets in Quebec.

And this year Quebecor entered into a partnership with Soverdi, a non-profit urban forest organization that plants trees and improves biodiversity on private and institutional lands in Montreal.