27 Electric School Buses Headed To Quebec

Air Quality

Published on June 27th, 2020 |
by Cynthia Shahan

June 27th, 2020 by  

Who doesn’t remember the fumes, and the ensuing headache coming on, from riding on a school bus? I do. Transdev Canada is thinking about that, thinking about our children and grandchildren, and doing something about it.

As a side note, a study found that children living within 100 meters of a major highway had, on average, lung function around 6% lower than that of children living 400 or more meters away from major highways.

Sitting on a horribly polluting bus, the exhaust coming inside somehow — this is no way to start a school day. Since that 2016 study, CleanTechnica has covered volumes of studies finding the same, and worse. As the world works to protect people from the harms of COVID-19, which is exacerbated by air pollution, we should keep in mind how much more we could do — easily — to prevent innumerable harms caused by air pollution. We even recently wrote about an online tool for easily finding the electric school buses, vans, trucks, and tractors you may need.

Image courtesy Transdev Canada/Lion Electric.

Transdev Canada notes that it is investing close to CAD$4.5 million into its fleet of electric school buses, adding 27 that bring bring the total up to 31. The buses will be used in the Estrie and Montérégie regions of Quebec and gradually phased into the fleet starting this year, September 2020. Its supplier, Lion, is also based in Quebec.

Transdev Canada plans to electrify 100% of its Quebec school buses by 2025. That’s what we’re talking about! (Related: California “Requires” Trucks Clean Up Their Act — But The Rule Is Late & Weak.)

Each one of those LionC electric school buses results in pollution reductions equivalent to removing 5 cars or 23 tons of greenhouse gases. So, this is like eliminating removing 155 gasoline cars from the road by the time all 31 are operating.

Other school systems will hopefully swiftly match or try to catch up with Transdev Canada, the largest private operator of electric school buses in North America. We also have the leadership in Virginia in the USA to inspire more schools. As I reported in January, Dominion Energy and Virginia school districts have partnered to transition all of the districts’ diesel school buses to electric school buses by 2030. In 2020, 50 electric school buses are supposed to go into operation there, the largest order to date in the country, and another 200 a year are supposed to be added each year to get the fleets to 50% electric by 2025 and then 100% electric in 2030.

Image via Lion Electric.

The technical specifications of the school buses are compelling, with a substantial range of 65 to 155 miles (100 to 250 km) per charge. There is a single-speed electric powertrain and a 19.2 kW onboard AC charger. The secure, high-performance batteries are constructed by Lion (chassis, body, battery packs). 72 passengers can comfortably fit on the bus, to be transported with a smoother, quieter ride.

The transition to this gentler travel, in my opinion, needs to start like a sprint. But the new electric fleet will be moderated, gradually moved into the school transport networks operated by Transdev.

Image courtesy Lion Electric.

It is nice to hear the conviction to change. It would just be nice if it did not take 5 years switch. The company reported that the order was placed prior to the health crisis, which should have brought in more conviction about solving our ongoing health and air-pollution problems.

“This order for electric buses was planned before the health crisis. Despite the situation, we did not hesitate to complete this order with a Quebec partner because it is part of an ambitious development plan for our activities in Quebec. We are convinced of the major role we can play in all communities and firmly believe in the future of the sustainable mobility sector in the province,” said Marie-Hélène Cloutier, Executive Vice-President Quebec and Maritimes of Transdev Canada.

“We wanted to demonstrate a strong commitment regarding energy transition, and in particular to serve the younger generations who are the public transportation passengers of tomorrow. The crisis we are going through has only strengthened our conviction: we have a responsibility to make strong choices in this area. We have done so with two key partners: the Québec government, whose support is crucial to our electrification strategy, and Lion, a local Québec company with which we have been working for a long time,” said Arthur Nicolet, Chief Executive Officer of Transdev Canada.

Transdev Canada also notes that by the end of last year, Transdev operated more than 800 electric buses worldwide. By the end of this year, 2020, it expects to have a fleet (operated and on order) of 1,200 electric buses (including battery electrics and hydrogen fuel cell buses).

All of America should be convinced about the imperative of this time. Do what Quebec is doing.

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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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