North America’s 3rd largest transit system orders electric buses

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has ordered 10 battery electric buses from the leading North American e-bus supplier, Proterra.

With an annual ridership of more than a quarter billion per year, the TTC is the third largest system in North America after the New York City Transit Authority and Mexico City Metro. The TTC was named the 2017 North American Transit System of the Year. 

Nearly 2,750,000 residents use the bus fleet. With 24,000 vehicles and a turnover of about 1,000 per year, it is a prime market for electric buses.

In July of 2017, the City of Toronto’s TransformTO action plan set a target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050. With these first 10 Catalyst buses, the City of Toronto will displace more than almost 5 million litres of diesel over the vehicles’ lifetime, and eliminate over 1 million kgs (2.2 million lbs) of carbon emissions every year. The buses will go into service in 2019.

Aside from the carbon, cities are concerned about the nitrous oxide and nitric oxide emitted from diesel buses, as well as the harmful effects of inhaling fine particulate matter.

The new electric buses also have the potential to save money for the TTC, since they need less energy to operate and require less maintenance. Over their lifetime, the 10 Proterra buses are expected to deliver operational cost savings of more than $5.9 million CAD.

This is the first Canadian sales of e-buses for Proterra. In the U.S. the company has sold about 600 vehicles to 70 different municipal, university, airport, federal and commercial transit agencies in 31 states.

Switching buses and other commercial vehicles from fossil fuel to electricity is key for reducing greenhouse gases. Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that “For every 1,000 battery-powered buses on the road, about 500 barrels a day of diesel fuel will be displaced from the market, according to BNEF calculations. This year, the volume of fuel not needed may rise 37 percent to 279,000 barrels a day because of electric transport including cars and light trucks, about as much oil as Greece consumes.”

Toronto’s move to electrification is greener and cleaner than many cities because the province of Ontario in which is located closed its last coal-fired plant in March and fossil fuel (natural gas) supplies less than 10% of the power.

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