Ontario, Canada’s Brampton City Council approved its involvement in the Pan-Ontario Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial — the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) has brought funding partners, research teams, technology tools, and manufacturing stakeholders together with Brampton Transit to ensure this world-leading demonstration trial launches locally this year.

“This milestone marks the first time that competitive bus manufacturers and competitive charging station manufacturers are designing and delivering interoperable charging systems for on-route charged e-buses,” says CUTRIC Executive Director/CEO Josipa Petrunic. “There is nowhere else in the world where this type of collaboration is in place.”

The City of Brampton has agreed to work with two Canadian transit vehicle manufacturers (New Flyer Industries and Nova Bus) and two charging station manufacturers (ABB Group and Siemens Canada) to deploy up to 10 electric buses and four overhead electric charging stations that plug into an open protocol known as the OppCharge protocol — first jointly developed by Siemens and Volvo Bus Corporation. The protocol standardizes the design of the robotic off-board pantograph that connects the charging station to the bus, communications between the bus and the charger, and performance metrics of the overall system.

The trial aims to encourage long-term job growth in e-bus manufacturing and overhead charging system design and development in Canada in the future.

“This is good news for Canadian job growth in the manufacturing and the tech sectors,” states Petrunic. “Growth in skilled trades will be allied to electric bus manufacturing by Nova Bus and New Flyer, charging system innovation by ABB Group and Siemens, and electric mobility maintenance support in Canada.”

Brampton Transit is joining a consortium of partners in several jurisdictions in Canada that have collectively sought financial support from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and several municipal jurisdictions. The trial will integrate proposed neutral third-party vehicle and system analyses by the National Research Council of Canada, the University of Ontario — Institute of Technology, York University, Brock University, University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières, and the University of Victoria. St. Clair College will also help to lead the development of a training program for e-bus and charging system maintenance staff.

CUTRIC is a member-based organization that partners members of transit and transportation industries with academic researchers. The consortium supports industry-academic collaborations in the development of next-generation technologies to help drive forward innovation in transportation across Canada, leading to job growth, economic development, and significant GHG reductions.