Buses running solely on electricity could be rolling down the streets of Brampton as early as 2018.

The Pan-Ontario Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trail is supposedly the first partnership of its kind, linking multiple government levels with private industry and universities. Brampton Transit, in partnership with the Canadian Urban Transit Association, has made the bid to be a test site for new environmentally friendly, electric buses.

Brampton city council approved the project on March 8, 2017.

Mayor Linda Jeffrey says “This initiative demonstrates our world leading commitment to bringing strategic, future-ready transit solutions that are environmentally friendly and help move our people more efficiently.”

The project, which asked for a budget amendment from city council, would see the city purchase up to 10 new electric battery buses and four overhead charging stations.

The cost of each bus would be $600,000, which is $10,000 less than a standard diesel bus.

Brampton Transit is proposing that routes 23 Sandalwood and 26 Mount Pleasant be the test routes. Both routes share a terminal at Mount Pleasant, which would be the site of the two charging stations.

The other two stations would be placed at Heart Lake Terminal and the Queen/Highway 50 Zum station, at the middle and end of point of the 23.

The total cost of the project would be $9,520,000. However, the plan is to have the province act as a co-financer, contributing 63 per cent of the costs.

Similarly, the city plans to finance the charging stations with the federal and provincial government taking 100 per cent of the costs, including civil engineering work.

Brampton Transit has suggested that while there are some risks, electric buses could save on fuel and maintenance costs in the long-term.

In addition, Ontario’s energy supply mostly comes from emissions-free, arguably clean, technology.

The buses would be provided by NOVA and New Flyer Industries. NOVA has built buses for most of Brampton’s regular routes, while the latter builds both regular and articulated Zum buses.

New Flyer Industries has built four electric buses that are used in Winnipeg. Winnipeg Transit uses electric buses on a two-hour, 40 kilometre round trip bus route between its airport and downtown. A full charge takes 10 minutes. The electric bus model is the Xcelsior XE40; Brampton Transit uses buses from the Xcelsior line on Zum routes.

The chargers would be built by Siemens and ABB Group. Siemens has built a similar product for bus systems in Hamburg, Stockholm, and Vienna. ABB has built a demonstration unit being used in Montreal.

York Region Transit and Oakville Transit are also expected to become partners in the trial. The full report can be read on page 31 here.

What do you think? Should the city take the plunge and invest in electric buses? Let us know in the comments.