In early 2011 a prototype electric bus project was launched to run a single electric bus in Winnipeg. The project was financed by the province, Manitoba Hydro and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). At the time, MHI was in the business of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries but exited that business in 2014. The study was conducted in partnership with Red River College. Read the final report here.
In 2014 Winnipeg Transit partnered with New Flyer to demonstrate battery-electric buses in operation. They used up to four Xcelsior buses on route 20 (Academy-Watt), a 40 km, two hour route between the James Richardson airport through downtown to East Kildonan and back.
A high power charging station was installed at the airport in late 2014 to recharge the buses. The buses recharged by parking under the station, then a pantograph is raised from the bus to make the connection with the station. It took about 10 minutes to recharge the bus.
Financial support was provided by NSERC. Red River College was another partner, and they produced the video above.
The project ended in 2017. Winnipeg Transit stated that these were “first generation” vehicles that are now outdated.
More information on the project is available here: Winnipeg Transit project description
In late 2007 Winnipeg Transit received an articulated hybrid electric bus for a five month trial. This diesel-electric hybrid bus was built by New Flyer and was 60′ long and featured air conditioning. The trial was funded by the federal government through the Gas Tax Agreement.
The trial was apparently unsuccessful and the planned purchase of 20 hybrid buses did not occur. Winnipeg Transit does use articulated buses in regular service, however. 20 of these (used) diesel-powered “bendy buses” were acquired in 2013.
Next Steps for Winnipeg
Meanwhile, New Flyer’s electric buses are in production or being tested in a variety of Canadian and American cities. This article claims they have 1,600 zero-emission buses on the road, with another 5,700 electric buses (powered by trolley wire or fuel-cell based electricity) in service.
King County Metro, the transit authority for the Seattle WA area, announced that it has purchased 40 Xcelsior battery-powered buses from New Flyer at the end of January 2020. These buses have a list price of $1.3 million each, to be delivered in 2021. King County has an option for 80 more buses to be delivered in 2022.
STM / STL
40 Xcelsior CHARGE™ all-electric buses have been ordered by the Société de transport de Montréal (“STM”) and the Société de transport de Laval (“STL”) for the Montreal area. STM received its first (pilot) bus in November 2019 to perform trials on it over the winter and spring, prior to receiving the remainder of its order starting in June 2020.
Vancouver, Brampton, and York
Vancouver, Brampton and York are all participating in a trial of electric buses from New Flyer and Nova Bus as part of the $11.5 million Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial.