By: Kevin Bamber, Director, St. Albert Transit
The City of St. Albert procured the first long-range battery powered electric transit buses in Canada. St. Albert Transit ran two electric bus trials in 2014 and 2015. The trials examined performance, reliability of the electrical systems, interior heating system, battery life and vehicle range. Following the trial, City Administration recommended the purchase of several electric buses.
The first three (3) buses were purchased from BYD Coach & Bus in 2016. They are 10.7m (35 ft) long (BYD model K9S), green on the outside and on the inside. The new environmentally friendly buses can travel up to 280 km, or about 10 hours on a single charge. The chargers are set up in the Dez Liggett Transit facility to accommodate off peak charging, with an average charge time of approximately 3 hours.
In May 2017, St. Albert unveiled the first three buses with Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason, then Mayor Nolan Crouse, Members of St. Albert City Council, Spruce Grove-St Albert MLA Trevor Horne and other dignitaries that participated during a ceremony.
“I want to commend the City of St. Albert for being the first city in the country to incorporate electric buses as part of its regular transit fleet,” said Alberta Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure, Brian Mason.
Why did the City choose to go with electric buses?
- Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are significantly lower with battery powered electric buses, contributing to St. Albert’s continuing commitment to the environment.
- The new electric buses use new smart technology to manage the various bus and charging systems, which align with St. Albert’s Smart City Initiatives.
- In line with a healthier community, these buses make less noise and will lower noise pollution in the community.
- Buses are smaller, contributing to safer travel on City Streets.
StAT has since taken delivery of an additional four (4) electric buses. There are now seven (7) battery powered long-range electric buses in St. Albert’s fleet.
The first three buses were purchased with support from the Province of Alberta from GreenTRIP funding. The next four buses were purchased with Federal PTIF, and Provincial GreenTRIP funds. Even though these buses are more expensive to purchase, the entire lifecycle costs are comparable to a conventional diesel bus through anticipated fuel savings and maintenance savings.