Winnipeg Transit plans to test two types of greener buses in an upcoming pilot project for 12 to 20 electric vehicles.
"The results of (a) technical assessment have identified a need for Transit to evaluate both battery electric and (hydrogen) fuel cell battery electric buses in both 40-foot and 60-foot lengths," Erin Cooke, Transit project manager for bus electrification, told members of city council’s public works committee Thursday.
In January 2019, the City of Winnipeg announced plans to study a pilot project for electric buses. At the time, it estimated a standard, 40-foot battery-electric bus would cost up to $1.2 million, compared to a price of around $600,000 for the diesel version.
The city said the price discrepancy created a need to extensively test the greener technology before making a broader investment to cut emissions from its 640-bus fleet.
Cooke said testing two types of buses should help the city prepare for further electrification.
"It will give us all the data that we need to properly assess the technology before we start making larger planning decisions," she said.
While fuel cell buses are the more expensive option, they have a longer battery power range than basic battery electric models, Cooke said.
Cost estimates for both models and any related charging infrastructure are still being worked out. A report on the pilot project is expected in early 2021.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.