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B.C. Transit orders 66 electric buses from Canadian suppliers

The buses will be arriving gradually starting early next year and continuing until mid-2026
The order includes 33 40-foot LFSe+ model electric-buses from Nova Bus, a Quebec-based bus manufacturer. VIA NOVA BUS

B.C. Transit says it has ordered 66 electric buses from two Canadian-based suppliers after a previous supplier from California filed for bankruptcy.

On Monday, B.C. Transit said it has requested the buses from two pre-qualified suppliers — Nova Bus, a Quebec-based bus manufacturer, and New Flyer, a Winnipeg-based manufacturer.

Half of that order is for 40-foot electric buses from Nova Bus.

Company spokesperson Christos Kritsidimas said the LFSe+ model that B.C. Transit is purchasing is already in use in Vancouver, Halifax and Quebec City.

According to a specification sheet from the company, the LFSe+ holds up to 68 passengers and has a seating capacity of 41.

The bus, which can store up to 564 kWh of onboard energy, takes less than 3.5 hours to fully charge at a depot.

While B.C. Transit has not confirmed how the buses will be allocated across the province, the transit agency is in the process of installing about 134 electric-bus charging points in the next two years in nine B.C. communities, including Victoria and Nanaimo.

The buses will arrive gradually starting early next year and continuing until mid-2026, it said in a statement.

Kritsidimas, who was taking a technical tour on a bus in Halifax when reached on Monday, said he did not have the financial details of the purchase on hand.

B.C. Transit spokesperson Jamie Weiss said the transit agency is not releasing its purchase prices so its future procurements remain competitive.

The New Flyer bus order will be Xcelsior CHARGE NG models to be built to the transit agency’s requirements, Weiss said in a statement.

A specification sheet from New Flyer said the model can run up to 415 kilometres on a single charge with 564 kWh of power.

B.C. Transit issued a request last month for companies to pre-qualify to supply 40-foot-long heavy-duty electric transit buses.

B.C. Transit’s previous 10-bus $20-million contract with ­Proterra, a California-based bus manufacturer, fell through after the company went into bankruptcy. B.C. Transit could not reach an agreement with North Carolina-based Phoenix Motors, which had acquired Proterra after it declared bankruptcy. B.C. Transit has been looking for other firms to supply its electric buses.

B.C. Transit said Monday that more procurement is on the way.

The transit agency said last month that funding is in place for it to purchase 141 battery-electric buses for its fleet province-wide, up from the 115 initially promised in July 2023.

Funding totaling $395.5 million for buses and infrastructure was announced in July 2023.

The Crown corporation, which owns a fleet of 1,106 buses of varying types, is aiming to have a fully electric fleet by 2040.

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