Canada’s South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink) celebrated the launch of its electric bus pilot operation, featuring two 40-foot, zero-emission, battery-electric New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE™ heavy-duty transit buses.
The two-and-a-half-year pilot is a part of the TransLink Tomorrow Program to help improve mobility in Metro Vancouver and furthers the agency’s goal of operating a fleet with 100% renewable energy by 2050. The launch was celebrated in Vancouver, with representatives from TransLink, CUTRIC, New Flyer, and all levels of government in attendance.
The pilot, operated in partnership with the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), is part of the world’s first multi-manufacturer interoperability demonstration for fast-charge electric buses and involves on-route high-powered charging stations integrating with local utility systems. It spans three communities across Canada (Vancouver, Brampton, and York Region) and will test interoperability of electric transit vehicles using a new standardized high-powered overhead charging system.
New Flyer first delivered buses to TransLink in 1991, and today, New Flyer together with NFI subsidiaries MCI, ARBOC, Alexander Dennis, and NFI Parts, support TransLink with multiple bus propulsions and models, including transit buses, low-floor cutaway buses, and double deck buses.
The launch follows New Flyer’s September 2018 announcement of TransLink’s purchase of two 40-foot, zero-emission, battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE™ heavy-duty transit buses as part of the CUTRIC Trial. In July 2019, New Flyer also announced it would supply six Xcelsior CHARGE™ buses to Brampton Transit, as a direct result of CUTRIC and Brampton Transit jointly securing $11.15 million in federal funding from Natural Resources Canada to support the adoption of zero-emission transit buses. The purchase followed an April 2018 commitment to partnering with CUTRIC on the trial by Brampton Transit and York Region Transit.
The pilot, which includes chargers from ABB and Siemens Canada, will evaluate bus performance, maintenance, and customer experience. The pilot, along with the future acquisition of six more battery-electric buses, is supported by funding from the Government of Canada and BC Hydro.
TransLink is Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority, connecting the region to enhance livability by providing a sustainable transit and transportation network for over 247 million trips per year. Currently, more than half of TransLink’s fleet operates with clean technology. In July 2019, TransLink was awarded the American Public Transportation Association’s Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award.