Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Katherine McKenna, was in Brampton Monday to announce an $11.1 million investment a new electric bus trial slated to roll out on Brampton Transit in the coming years.

After funding for the program was previously cancelled by the Ford government in 2018, MPs in Brampton worked to secure the funds to allow the program to continue, and it paid off. The program will continue as planned, putting Brampton at the forefront of innovative new tech that’s setting standards across the globe.

Canada’s two leading bus manufacturers, New Flyer Industries and Nova Bus, will manufacture the batterypowered electric buses, and Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) and Siemens will provide the on-route chargers, which will demonstrate the performance of the overhead electric bus charging system and enable future mass deployments. The program will not only be beneficial for Brampton Transit and its riders, but it will also support innovative Canadian companies and good jobs in Canada’s cleantech sector.

This trial is the first of its kind and the largest global deployment of electric buses and high-powered, overhead on-route chargers. The unprecedented initiative has brought multiple levels of government, bus and charger manufacturers, system integrators, academia, and funding partners together to implement the project in Brampton. 

“A well-connected transit network is critical to building our position on Canada’s Innovation Corridor. Today’s announcement will bring more Brampton innovation to the Corridor, and position Brampton as a leader in sustainable transportation. The new e-buses are a testament to Council’s commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and building a Green City,” says Mayor Patrick Brown.

The breakthrough electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions, they also contribute to less noise pollution and have better handling in the winter.

The buses will launch on two existing conventional routes in Brampton, routes 23 Sandalwood and 26 Mount Pleasant. New overhead on-route charging stations will be launched at the Mount Pleasant Village terminal, the Queen Street/Highway 50 Züm station and the Sandalwood Transit Facility. Buses can typically go 16 hours on a 2-hour charge, but these on-route stations will allow them to power up as they move along the route, so buses can technically operate 24 hours a day.

But the project almost didn’t happen at all. When the Ford government cancelled the Green Energy Act, they also cancelled the funding to allow Brampton to move forward with the project.

 “I first heard about CUTRIC and their electric bus trial in early 2016. I knew that because of Brampton’s population growth and increasing ridership, this project was necessary to decrease Brampton Transit’s reliance on diesel buses,” says Brampton North MP Ruby Sahota. “I was disappointed to learn that when the Provincial Conservative Government canceled the Green Energy Act, they also cancelled funding to Brampton’s involvement in this trial. My Brampton colleagues stepped up and advocated to increase the federal investment in this trial.”

Now that the project is back on, it will allow Brampton to continue to work towards reducing the city’s overall carbon footprint and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% come 2060, a benchmark recently set by Brampton City Council.

In total, the project is expected to cost an estimated $15.96 million, with buses rolling out in late 2020/early 2021.