Electric buses set to roll out on streets of Edmonton

Edmonton Transit Service has given the city a sneak peek of its new Battery-Electric buses before the clean, green and quiet vehicles join the fleet and glide the streets for the first time in early August.

“What a good day,” said Ryan Birch, Director of Transit Operations for ETS.

“It’s a good day for ETS, for ETS customers and for all Edmontonians who are excited to be part of making the place we live, and move, a more climate-friendly place.”

Quieter than a conversation

ETS has purchased 40 of the new buses, with 21 already built, wrapped, trucked, received and ready to roll from ETS garages.

Electric buses are quieter than diesel buses. Diesel buses produce sound between 75 and 80 decibels, which makes them a little louder than a vacuum cleaner. The Proterra-built electric buses generate 45 to 50 decibels.

That’s quieter than a conversation.

The buses are approximately 30 per cent less expensive to maintain than current diesel buses.

Battery-Electric bus news conference, Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage, July 23, 2020

Leading the charge

An electric bus can cover up to 350 km on a charge. That makes them able to operate on just about every ETS route.

The electric buses will be housed in two ETS garages equipped for the job of keeping them charged. The Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage in the northeast end has 22 overhead chargers and six plug-in chargers. Centennial Garage in the southwest has four overhead chargers and one plug-in charger.

Battery-Electric buses and overhead chargers, Centennial Garage

Intentional design

Multiple overhead chargers indoors are a better idea than chargers on the routes. In case of a charger down for service and upkeep, there are others easily available.

“From the start, we’ve been very intentional about how we’ve designed our electric bus program,” said Birch.

 Ryan Birch, Edmonton Transit Service

“We’ve taken a unique approach to charging our buses inside transit facilities,” Birch said. “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.”

ETS is one of the first transit agencies on the continent to have overhead chargers in transit garages.

Other cool stuff about electric buses

They are air conditioned.

A battery lasts about 12 years.

They have been tested and work in winter. And in rain and in cloudy weather, too.

Electric buses come with protective Operator shields.

“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, whose company made the buses.

Proterra’s Mike Bismeyer at Battery-Electric bus media conference

“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,” said Allen.

“We are proud to partner with ETS to deliver clean, quiet transportation to Edmonton.”


Take a look at some of the highlights, so far, of the ETS Battery-Electric buses. Including Dennis, from South Carolina:

The first electric buses are scheduled to debut in service on August 4.

Thanks for reading, watching and riding.

Editor’s note: the pic at the top of the post shows a new ETS Battery-Electric bus at the Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage in Edmonton, July 23, 2020.

ETS Brill trolley from 1947, and Proterra Battery-Electric bus from 2020