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CUTRIC launches $40M Pan-Canadian electric bus trial

The Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial: Phase I was launched at TransLink in Vancouver as part of a national coordinated effort to advance zero emissions transit technology, spear-headed by the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC).

The $40-million project encompasses 18 standardized and interoperable electric buses, seven standardized and interoperable overhead chargers, and five routes in three cities, said CUTRIC Executive Director & CEO Josipa Petrunic.

CUTRIC brought together manufacturers, transit agencies, utilities, funding partners, research teams, and technology development capacities for the demonstration trial that is launching first in TransLink’s system in Vancouver, B.C. TransLink is joined by Brampton Transit and the Regional Municipality of York as sites for the trial, with Brampton Transit having spearheaded the trial planning process back in 2016.

This funding investment will support the first global trial to integrate competitive bus manufacturers with competitive charging station manufacturers—all of whom are designing and delivering interoperable high-powered charging systems for on-route charged electric buses—across multiple municipalities and utility jurisdictions.

This type of collaboration, standardization and integration is proving to the country and the world that transit agencies can be at the forefront of technology development and job creation. And it’s happening in Canada first.

—Josipa Petrunic

TransLink is working with two Canadian transit vehicle manufacturers (New Flyer Industries of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Nova Bus, of St. Eustache, Quebec) and two charging station manufacturers (ABB Group and Siemens Canada) to deploy four electric buses and two overhead electric charging stations that plug into an open protocol known as the OppCharge protocol—first jointly developed by Siemens and Volvo Bus Corporation.

  • New Flyer is providing Xcelsior CHARGE battery-electric buses. For the purposes of the CUTRIC trial, the company is implementing an on-route rapid charging system in co-operation with ABB and Siemens who are the providers of the charging equipment. This overhead charging strategy allows the bus to essentially stay in service indefinitely and is limited only by the transit service demands.

  • Nova Bus, part of the Volvo Group, is providing LFSe electric buses. Through it fast charging technology, the LFSe can be charged in less than 5 minutes at the end of route stations.

  • ABB will supply interoperable opportunity charging systems with inverted pantograph technology for e-buses, rated up to 450 kW, to the e-bus demonstration project in Brampton, Ontario.

  • Siemens Canada is an eBus charging solution provider for the Pan Canadian Demonstration Project. Siemens modular charging systems are available in 150kW, 300kW and 450kW configurations and include an overhead-charging interface that can charge the bus in station, while passengers exit and enter the bus. The chargers are also OppCharge compliant and in use with multiple bus OEMs.

The protocol standardizes the design of the off-board pantograph that connects the high-powered charging station to the bus, communications between the bus and the charger, and performance metrics of the overall system.

The trial will also integrate neutral third-party vehicle and systems analyses by the National Research Council of Canada.

CUTRIC is a member-based innovation consortium that partners stakeholders in industry, transit and academia to develop the next-generation of low-carbon smart mobility technologies. Its mandate is to drive forward innovation in transportation across Canada, create jobs by doing so, and lead to significant GHG reductions.

Comments

HarveyD

Those worthwhile objectives could lead to improved e-buses and quick charging facilities.

Volvo (Europe) has already produced 4000 electrified buses for many major cities on all continents. Volvo Canada has produced and tested 4+ units. Low battery performance and the need for frequent recharges (specially in winter) are the major problems to be solved.

Gasbag

In contrast China has about 500,000 battery electric busses.

Gasbag

Correction. It looks like China only has 350,000.

HarveyD

Gasbag:

Your assumption of 500,000 e-units is correct when you include e-trucks.

China is currently producing/using over 55% of the world EVs and probably raising to 60% by 2020 or so.

With the exception of Norway and California, the rest of the world has a very long way to go to try to catch up.

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