CUTRIC releases fourth edition of Canadian ZEB Database

June 10, 2024
The report reveals a detailed analysis of the challenges facing Canada’s provinces as they strive to embrace sustainable transit solutions.

The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) has released the fourth edition of its Canadian Zero-emission Buses (ZEB) Database. The latest edition focuses on the progress and potential of ZEBs across Canada, setting a new benchmark for eco-friendly transit systems. 

The report reveals a detailed analysis of the challenges facing Canada’s provinces as they strive to embrace sustainable transit solutions. From varying infrastructure needs to regulatory hurdles, the report notes each region faces unique obstacles in transitioning to ZEBs. Despite the challenges, the report showcases significant progress made in key areas, underscoring the commitment of many regions and transit agencies toward a greener future. 

“Canada is waking up to electrification and it’s clearly taking hold across the cities and transit agencies across the country,” said Dr. Josipa Petrunic, president and CEO of CUTRIC. “However, it is also clear that inflation is taking a toll – the actual number of zero-emission buses moving forward to procurement has dropped compared to 2023. Today’s dollar buys fewer electric buses and chargers than it did last year. Industry leaders, policymakers, stakeholders and advocates must champion zero-emission transit solutions, focusing on areas that require more targeted action. CUTRIC and the Zero Emission Transit Fund (ZETF) are dedicated to driving positive change and creating a future where sustainable mobility is not just an aspiration, but a reality for all Canadians." 

Key findings include: 

  • As of Jan. 31, 2024, the count of ZEBs stands at 4,945 across the six stages of transitioning (“Pronouncement” to “In-service” deployment), marking an eight percent decrease from the third report in 2023. 
  • Among these, battery electric buses (BEBs) make up 4,845 while fuel cell electric buses make up 100. 
  • There is a decrease in the number of BEBs in five provinces/territories, an increase of BEBs in three provinces/territories, stagnation in three provinces/territories and three provinces/ territories have no zero-emissions transitioning plans. 
  • There is a decrease in the number of ZEBs in the initial stages from pronouncement to funding while there is an increase in the later stages from procurement to in-service. 
  • Transit agencies cite challenges in adopting ZEBs such as high procurement costs, poor bus performance, limited workforce capacity and capacity restraints at transit facilities. 

CUTRIC says ZEBs are pivotal in Canada's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. In 2021, the transportation sector accounted for 25 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, with public transit contributing one percent. The adoption of ZEB technology is crucial for sustainable advancement. 

As the National Planning Service for the government of Canada's ZETF, CUTRIC's database provides federal, provincial and municipal governments, transit agencies, and manufacturers with valuable insights into the progress and obstacles encountered in electrifying transit operations.