OC Transpo preps first battery-electric buses to enter service

Nov. 29, 2021
The 40-foot vehicles will enter service in early 2022 and will be housed at the St-Laurent Garage, which was retrofitted to accommodate charging infrastructure for the buses.

Municipal leaders put the spotlight on four 40-foot battery-electric buses at OC Transpo’s St-Laurent Garage on Nov. 26 to highlight the vehicles that will enter service on Ottawa, Ontario, streets in early 2022.

“With the launch of these four battery-electric buses early next year, OC Transpo will take a critical first step in its conversion to a zero-emission bus fleet. This milestone also brings us closer to achieving our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition Ottawa into a clean, renewable and resilient city,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

The four buses were purchased from New Flyer using funds provided through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. The city explains the battery-electric buses will be of similar capacity and design to OC Transpo’s existing diesel vehicles to provide a standardized customer experience.

The buses will be housed at the St-Laurent Garage, which was retrofitted to accommodate the new plug-in style charging stations. The city reports the chargers can charge a bus from empty to full in five hours. The chargers were installed by Envari Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa.

In June 2021, the city council approved a plan that will see OC Transpo procure solely zero-emission buses moving forward as it targets transitioning to a fully electric fleet by 2036. OC Transpo reports that by 2023, an additional 74 battery-electric buses will be added to the fleet and 450 zero-emission buses will be phased in by 2027. Transitioning the transit fleet to zero-emission supports the city’s Climate Change Master Plan, which includes a goal of reducing emissions from city operations by 100 percent by 2040.

OC Transpo will seek to leverage government loans, funding and grants to fund the transition of its transit fleet to zero-emission buses. In June 2021, the Canada Infrastructure Bank committed C$400 million (US$331 million) to support OC Transpo’s adoption of 450 zero-emission buses by 2027.

“This transition represents the City’s significant progress in electrifying our transit service and adds to the ongoing expansion of O-Train service across the city. In addition to offering a quieter ride, battery-electric buses are expected to offer savings through reduced operating costs, demonstrating the several benefits that the reduction of emissions has for OC Transpo, its customers and for all Ottawa residents,” said Ottawa Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.