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A report from Clean Energy Canada, Will Canada Miss the Bus?  warns that Canada runs the risk of “missing the bus” on a massive economic and environmental opportunity. Electric buses do two things: they cut pollution and they are an economic gold mine as the world demand for E-buses skyrockets.

As Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada, Merran Smith argues that the timid approach to electric buses (e-buses) by Canadian transit operators, compared to other cities globally, is threatening Canada’s position in a very competitive e-bus market. The following piece was first published as a media release.

Missing the Electric Bus

Electric buses are making a real—and rapidly growing—dent in emissions. As reported in March, electric buses will displace 270,000 barrels of diesel a day by the end of this year.

Will Canada Miss The Electric Bus?, Below2C

But despite being home to four prominent electric bus manufacturers, Canada’s transit fleets have been slow to adopt this climate-change-fighting technology, lagging behind others around the world.

It’s a missed opportunity to both cut carbon pollution and support our growing electric bus companies—like Quebec’s Lion Electric and Vancouver’s GreenPower—by creating a stronger market for them at home.

Canada has relatively few electric buses on its roads—especially compared to the 16,359 fully electric buses in Shenzhen, China, or even compared to the approximately 100 electric buses in L.A. Meanwhile, Paris is ordering  800 electric buses.

But there are signs of leadership at home. Montreal, for example, has committed to providing 100% zero-emission transit by 2040.

For now, many Canadian electric buses are sold to California, leading Canadian companies to open manufacturing facilities abroad rather than in Canada.

Though it is just a start, the $2.2 billion in [the recent] budget earmarked for infrastructure funding—including transit—is an opportunity to accelerate Canada’s transition to electric buses.

More policies to encourage electric buses in Canada would not only help us fight climate change but also create opportunities to save money in the long run. Electric buses have many advantages, not the least of which are significant fuel, environmental, and health cost savings, helping offset higher—but quickly falling—upfront costs.

Clean Energy Canada’s new report, Will Canada Miss the Bus?, delves into the current use of electric buses at home and around the world, exploring the opportunities they present for Canadian manufacturers, transit operators, and riders.


There are four electric bus manufacturers in Canada: GreenPower Motor Company, The Lion Electric Company, New Flyer Industries, and Nova Bus.


“Canada is lucky to have a handful of innovators in this space building the next generation of buses, but we’re also at risk of falling behind other countries. Supporting electric buses is about more than just cutting pollution—though that’s a big one. It’s also about saving money in the long run, being healthier, and helping our homegrown manufacturing industry become competitive on a global scale. Now what we need is leadership at all levels of government, so that Canadians don’t miss the bus.”

Report | Will Canada miss the bus? 
Op-ed |How Canada is both leading and falling behind on electric buses

Related articles:

Batteries are Driving the Clean Energy Transition
Canadians Want EVs to Become Mainstream

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Creative Commons License

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  1. Be wary of what proponents of electric buses say — and more so of what they don’t tell you.

    For example, the article says “Electric buses are making a real—and rapidly growing—dent in emissions.”
    However, the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2018 Newsroom report for Nov 13, 2018 notes: “The analysis finds that higher electrification [in transportation] would lead to a peak in oil demand by 2030, and reduce harmful local air pollutant. But it would have a negligible impact on carbon emissions without stronger efforts to increase the share of renewables and low-carbon sources of power.”
    (Source link )

    What the article doesn’t say is “… governments will have a critical influence in the direction of the future energy system. Under current and planned policies, modeled in the New Policies Scenario, energy demand is set to grow by more than 25% to 2040, requiring more than $2 trillion a year of investment in new energy supply.

    What it doesn’t say is “The analysis shows oil consumption growing in coming decades, due to rising petrochemicals, trucking and aviation demand. But meeting this growth in the near term means that approvals of conventional oil projects need to double from their current low levels.”

    What it doesn’t say is “But most emissions linked to energy infrastructure are already essentially locked-in. In particular, coal-fired power plants, which account for one-third of energy-related CO2 emissions today, represent more than a third of cumulative locked-in emissions to 2040.”

    What it doesn’t say is the world will have to “… create some room for maneuver by expanding the use of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage, hydrogen, improving energy efficiency, and in some cases, retiring capital stock early. To be successful, this will need an unprecedented global political and economic effort.”

    Moreover, as Atmospheric Physicist Tim Garrett of the University of Utah emphasizes, “Perhaps there is a way out but it will not be by way of increasing energy efficiency.” [with electric buses]. Quite the opposite. … “CO2 emissions can be stabilized despite efficiency gains. But this is possible only if decarbonization occurs as quickly as energy consumption grows. At today’s consumption growth rates, this would require roughly one new nuclear power plant, or equivalent in renewables, to be deployed each day” (Shortlink source: )

    • Frank,

      I’ve had a problem with my website database and I have lost my original response to your comment and feedback.

      As usual you cover the matter in great detail with supporting references. Thank you for that. Sometimes the cure can be just as bad as the disease. Pinning all our hopes on an aggressive transition to renewables may lead to yet unforeseeable repercussions as you allude to. There simply are no easy solutions.

      Thanks for your support.


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