Edmonton Transit Service rolls out 21 electric buses with 19 more to come by year-end
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Jul 23, 2020
Luke Sarabia

One of the largest single purchases of electric buses in Canadian history — with innovative in-depot overhead charging — brings city closer to meeting its 2030 emission targets

One of the largest single purchases of electric buses in Canadian history — with innovative in-depot overhead charging — brings city closer to meeting its 2030 emission targets

Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) today announced the arrival of 21 Proterra electric buses, with another 19 buses to be added to the fleet by the end of 2020. The purchase of 40 vehicles marks one of the largest single purchases of electric buses in Canada’s history.

“For many years I’ve advocated for the adoption of electric buses in our city, and I’m happy to see that Edmonton is leading the way,” says Edmonton mayor Don Iveson.

“Electric buses are a major component of the future of public transit in our city and across Canada, because they save the city money and benefit … transit users who will get to experience the perks of a quieter commute with decreased emissions.”  

ETS currently maintains a fleet of over 1,000 diesel buses which provide more than 87 million rides per year throughout Edmonton. As such, the addition of 40 electric buses represents a serious step towards meeting the city’s declared goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. 

Edmonton ETS electric Proterra bus
ETS electric bus. Source: Proterra

Innovative charging system

The purchase also makes ETS an early adopter among North American transit systems to implement in-depot overhead charging for its electric buses, a technology that was developed by Proterra in collaboration with ABB and ETS. In order to charge the vehicles, bus drivers will only have to drive into one of 26 parking spots equipped with the chargers and flip a switch initiating an overhead charging process reliant on RFID and Wi-Fi technology.

It was also announced that the new charging depot will be named the Kathleen Andrews Garage after Edmonton’s first female transit operator, a 23-year employee of the city of Edmonton.

Proterra electric bus at Edmonton ETS depot
An ETS electric bus connected to the in-depot overhead charger. Source: Proterra

“From the start, we’ve been very intentional about how we’ve designed our electric bus program,” says Ryan Birch, director of transit operations, ETS. “We’ve taken a unique approach to charging our buses inside transit facilities. This provides important redundancy that makes our electric bus fleet more reliable for transit customers, and will help us continue to modernize our transit system.”

Maximum energy storage

The Proterra Catalyst E2 Max buses purchased by ETS have 660kWh of battery storage onboard each — the most energy storage on any 40-foot electric bus — which allows for upwards of 350 kilometres of range. Its DuoPower drivetrain delivers nearly twice the horsepower and five times better fuel efficiency than a standard diesel bus engine.

“The ETS deployment showcases how to successfully implement an electric bus fleet and charging infrastructure for current fleet needs, as well as plan for expansion in the near future,” says Jack Allen, CEO of Proterra. “We are proud to partner with ETS to deliver clean, quiet transportation to Edmonton.”

The same Proterra Catalyst model also made headlines in 2017 for breaking the world record for the longest distance traveled by any electric vehicle on a single charge. ETS expects to begin putting the vehicles in service in early August.

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