Electric buses are being rolled out with increasing frequency in cities around the world. They’ve yet to make a big mark in North America, but that’s beginning to change with new initiatives, including in a city perhaps better known to gearheads for grand-prix racing and trikes.
Following more isolated initiatives in other cities, Montreal is launching a pilot program that is poised to see electric buses put into service in municipalities across the continent in the coming years. And the location was hardly chosen at random.
For one thing, the province of Quebec in which Montreal is situated has an abundance of cheap, renewable electricity, thanks to a widespread network of hydroelectric dams. The city also has one of the best public transportation systems around. And it also happens to be near the headquarters of the Volvo Group‘s bus subsidiary Nova Bus.
With all of those elements in place, the Société de transport de Montréal (the city’s public transit department) and Nova Bus are collaborating to put into service three electric buses (along the 36 Monk route for interested locals).
“It is a great feeling for our team to be part of changing our world, making it a greener place and helping our commuter travel with great comfort and peace of mind,” said Nova Bus chief Ralph Acs. Provincial transport minister Laurent Lessard added that “these Québec-designed buses will enable Société de transport de Montréal to implement the first milestones of electrification of its fleet and allow users to recognize the benefits of their electrically-powered trips.”
The project is being partially funded by the city and the province’s green transportation initiative, but will serve as a trial program (on Nova’s part) for implementation in other cities as well. So don’t be surprised to see the Nova electric buses in the future deployed on additional routes in Montreal and in other cities across Canada and the United States in the near future.
Correction: a previous version of this article erroneously stated in the title that electric buses are coming for the first time in North America. Companies like Prottera have been operating zero-emission battery-powered transit buses in select cities across the States.