History in the making: ETS deploys first electric bus into service 
August 4, 2020

Today, Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) achieves a historic milestone by deploying its first battery-electric buses into service. This is the result of collaboration between the City of Edmonton, and the electric bus supplier, Proterra.

"For many years I've advocated for the adoption of electric buses in our city, and I'm happy to see that Edmonton is leading the way. Our purchase is historic in that it represents the largest purchase of electric buses in Canadian history," said Mayor Don Iveson. “Electric buses are a major component of the future of public transit in our city and across Canada, because they save the City money and benefit not only transit users who get to experience the perks of a quieter commute with decreased emissions, but also Edmontonians who aren't regular commuters on our transit system, as they also benefit from the city meeting its energy and climate goals.”

To date, 21 of the 40 electric buses have arrived in Edmonton. The remaining 19 will begin to arrive this fall. ETS is the first transit agency in North America to have overhead chargers installed inside transit facilities. Charging from above, rather than using floor-mounted plug-in chargers, greatly reduces the amount of floor space needed for charging. 

“From the start, we’ve been very intentional about how we’ve designed our electric bus program,” said Ryan Birch, Director of Transit Operations, ETS. “We’ve taken a unique approach to charging our buses inside transit facilities. This provides important redundancy that makes our electric bus fleet more reliable for transit customers, and will help us continue to modernize our transit system.”

Proterra’s clean and quiet long-range electric buses are winter compatible, have a range up to 350 kilometres on a single charge, and contribute to the City’s shift toward more sustainable transportation, a lower carbon footprint, and high-quality transit service for Edmontonians.

“This is one of the most impressive end-to-end deployments of battery-electric transit buses we’ve seen in North America,” said Jack Allen, CEO of Proterra. “The ETS deployment showcases how to successfully implement an electric bus fleet and charging infrastructure for current fleet needs, as well as plan for expansion in the near future. We are proud to partner with ETS to deliver clean, quiet transportation to Edmonton.” 

Electric buses will be able to operate on almost every ETS route, and all buses come equipped with protective Operator shields. Electric buses are roughly 30 per cent less expensive to service and maintain than current diesel buses, plus savings on the cost of fuel.

Of the 21 buses that have arrived, 14 have an eye-catching promotional wrap on the back half of the bus that clearly indicates the bus is battery-electric, while the other 7 buses are painted with ETS’ traditional blue and silver brand colours. 

Electric buses will be housed at the new Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage in northeast Edmonton, and Centennial Garage. Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage, once fully operational with electric bus infrastructure, will become the main hub. 

In 2015, ETS winter tested several electric buses to ensure the technology would be suitable for Edmonton’s cold weather, steep river valleys and broad geographic transit area.
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