Oakville Transit unveils first zero-emission battery-electric buses

Feb. 28, 2023
Manufactured by Karsan, the 20-foot e-Jest model buses will be hitting the streets this spring and will be used to deliver transit services such as care-A-van, Home to Hub and Ride On-Demand in north and southeast Oakville.

Oakville Transit unveiled the agency’s first zero-emission battery-electric buses. The first batch of zero-emission battery-electric specialized buses arrived in January 2023. Electric vehicles will replace existing diesel-run buses and will be how Oakville continues to expand its transit fleet.

Manufactured by Karsan, the 20-foot e-Jest model buses will be hitting the streets this spring and will be used to deliver transit services such as care-A-van, Home to Hub and Ride On-Demand (in north and southeast Oakville).

To support battery charging for the electric buses, 10 charging stations have also been installed at Oakville Transit’s operations facility.

The town is on track to acquire the first 15 zero-emission battery-electric buses to be used for conventional services (larger buses operating for fixed routes) in early 2024. Over the next five years, it is planned that approximately 50 percent of Oakville Transit’s fleet will be converted from diesel to electric.

Diesel fuel is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Oakville. Given Oakville’s 2019 climate emergency declaration and its strong commitment to reducing its impact on the environment, the town is making use of available funding from the government of Canada to accelerate greening its transit fleet.

In 2020, the government of Canada, government of Ontario and the town of Oakville announced joint funding to support the electrification of Oakville Transit buses, with the federal government contributing nearly C$5.3 million (US$3.9 million), the province contributing C$4.4 million (US$3.2 million) and the town contributing over C$3.5 million (US$2.6 million).

Providing public transit services with battery-operated electric buses will have a significant positive impact on the town’s corporate goal to reduce GHG emissions by 80 percent from 2014 levels by 2050.

“We are committed to taking action on climate change to cut pollution and grow our economy, and this project is a demonstration of our commitment. The first group of zero-emission, battery-electric, specialized buses arriving in Oakville is an exciting milestone for our community that will bring us one step closer to a net-zero emissions future by 2050. We will continue to work with partners to make Oakville one of the greenest and greatest places to live in Canada,” said Anita Anand, minister of National Defence and member of Parliament for Oakville.

“Upgrading Oakville’s specialized bus fleet with zero-emission, electric vehicles is a big step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The government of Canada’s support for green and sustainable infrastructure is helping to combat climate change and ensure a prosperous future for all Canadians. The introduction of the zero-emission battery-electric specialized buses demonstrates Oakville’s commitment to creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly community, which will contribute to meeting our 2050 target of achieving net-zero emissions,” said Pam Damoff, parliamentary secretary to the minister of public safety and member of Parliament for Oakville North – Burlington.

"Our government is committed to supporting municipal transit in Oakville and in communities across Ontario. Oakville Transit's new, electric buses will provide safe and reliable options for commuters while reducing local air and noise pollution,” said Stephen Crawford, member of provincial Parliament for Oakville.

"Adding electric buses will allow Oakville Transit to provide more service for people living in the Oakville and Halton Region. Helping Oakville Transit to electrify their ‘Green Fleet’ is another way our government is supporting municipalities in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This ensures people and families can rely on public transit to connect them with jobs, housing and opportunities throughout our region,” said Effie Triantafilopoulos, member of provincial Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington.

“Today’s unveiling of Oakville Transit’s first-ever electric buses is an important milestone in advancing Council’s efforts to create a thriving and livable Oakville for today and future generations. Reducing the town’s greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental footprint while modernizing and expanding our transit services is critical to the health and well-being of our community. Thanks to funding from the town and our federal and provincial partners through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, we’re moving forward to provide innovative and environmentally friendly transit service for Oakville,” said Mayor of Oakville Rob Burton.

The town has been active in implementing climate change policies and programs since 2005 and has taken significant steps to reduce its impact on the environment.

In June 2019, Town Council unanimously passed a motion declaring a climate emergency in Oakville, establishing the importance of accelerating climate change action.

The town took steps for the electrification of transit buses in 2011 with the building of a new bus garage and service center, which features a heightened roof and crane necessary for servicing electric buses. Updates to the facility are planned in 2023 to support transit fleet electrification.

Introducing zero-emissions battery electric buses aligns with the town’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy, Climate Change Strategy, Community Energy Strategy and Sustainable Green Fleet Procedure.

Transit fleet electrification is one of seven key priority projects for Oakville Transit to address climate change, ease gridlock and improve connectivity.

Ontario is investing C$61.6 billion (US$45.3 billion) over 10 years to expand and improve public transit in communities across Ontario. This includes the GO Rail Expansion program, which will deliver frequent two-way, all-day service along core segments of the GO Rail network, including Oakville.

The provincial and federal governments are providing more than C$2.5 billion (US$1.8 billion) to support municipal transit systems across the province in response to COVID-19 through the Safe Restart Agreement.