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B.C. Transit looking into battery-on-board electric double deckers

B.C. Transit is seeking information from companies on everything from the maturity of their technology to the buses' cost, noise level, performance in climates similar to B.C.'s. and life span.
Heavy-duty electric buses are expected to arrive in Victoria this summer. Via B.C. Transit

B.C. Transit is gearing up to add electric double-decker buses to its fleet as it plans for an emissions-free future.

A request for information about high-capacity buses has been issued; it closes Dec. 21.

Meanwhile, 10 new electric heavy-duty buses to serve Greater Victoria are scheduled to arrive in stages starting in the summer, as part of a $20-million program.

The buses are being built by California-based manufacturer Proterra Operating Co. Inc. A demonstration bus supplied by Proterra will be returned to the company.

Charging infrastructure for the buses will be installed in the Victoria Transit Centre yard.

B.C. Transit is seeking information from double-decker-bus companies on everything from the maturity of their technology to the buses’ cost, noise level, performance in climates similar to B.C.’s. and life span. The plan is to use electric buses that are propelled by their own batteries.

B.C. Transit is also asking suppliers if they would bring a demonstration bus to B.C. at their own cost.

It’s not known yet when B.C. Transit will add double-decker electric buses to its fleet.

The agency expects to have more information to announce in six months, it said in a statement Wednesday.

“B.C. Transit is at the information-gathering stage and the timeline for procurement of electric double-decker buses is still in development,” it said.

In July of 2019, B.C. Transit announced its Low Carbon Fleet Program. In the coming decade, about 1,200 diesel- and gas-fuelled buses are expected to be replaced with zero-emission buses, with the main focus on battery-electric buses, it said in the request for information.

The existing fleet, which serves Greater Victoria and 83 community transit systems, includes 78 high-capacity (double-decker) buses running on diesel fuel, as well as 548 heavy-duty buses running on diesel and compressed natural gas.

B.C. Transit has 195 medium-duty buses operating with diesel and compressed natural gas, and and 341 light-duty buses using diesel and gasoline.

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