The $ 400 million loan to provincial bus operators is the latest investment in the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s $ 1.5 billion zero emission bus initiative to help with transportation transition common to diesel in Canada.
The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and the Quebec Federation of Bus Transporters have announced an agreement whereby the BCI will invest up to $ 400 million for the purchase of 4,000 electric school buses in Quebec over the years. next five years.
The investment is a long-term loan that aims to help bus operators cover higher up-front vehicle costs and charging infrastructure expenses and accelerate the shift to electric school buses in the province.
“It’s a loan based on the expected savings that the buses will generate over their lifetimes,” said Charles Todd, general manager of investments at CIB, in an interview with Autonomy Electric Canada.
âSo if you plan to run a diesel bus for 10 years, you’re going to spend some money on diesel, [but] driving an electric bus for 10 years, you will spend a lot less money on electricity. So the difference between these two numbers is how [much] we are reimbursed.
The Federation of bus carriers, which represents more than 650 private companies in the passenger transportation industry, will function as the primary facility where school bus operators can place orders to take advantage of the loan.
“We want this [funding] program to be accessible to all of our members – from small, medium to large companies, âsaid Martin Bureau, deputy managing director and communications director of the Bus Carrier Federation in an interview with Electric autonomy. âSo our role is, first, to do an analysis and thenâ¦ to be an assistant to the bus carriers to facilitate access to financing for the CIB. “
Bus operators who receive the loans will be responsible for repaying them over the life of each bus purchased.
The agreement between the CIB and the federation should be finalized by next March.
Quebec wants more electric buses
CIB funding is in addition to new provincial government funding for electric school buses. Earlier this year, Quebec Premier FranÃ§ois Legault pledged to invest $ 250 million over three years to electrify 65% ââof the province’s school bus fleet.
As of Nov. 1, the province has also made it mandatory for all bus operators to switch to an electric vehicle once one of its traditional diesel buses reaches the end of their life.
âCarriers have no other choice at the moment but to take measures to [gradually] transform their fleet, âsays Bureau. “So they will really need [financial] for more than five years because the prices of ZEB [zero-emission buses] are more than three times the price of regular buses … This is why the financing that the CIB provides is interesting because it will facilitate the shift [to electric]. “
Although the initial costs of purchasing electric buses are higher than those of diesel buses, according to CIB, bus operators can expect to see substantial savings afterwards, as operating costs can be up to at 35% lower than their diesel-powered counterparts.
The electrification of school buses will also bring substantial environmental benefits. According to CIB, they can save around 20 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The transition from 4,000 diesel buses to electric is expected to reduce emissions by 81,000 tonnes per year.
“We are proud to work with an innovative partner to provide Quebecers with greener and more sustainable transportation for students, parents and school staff for generations to come,” said Ehren Cory, CEO of CIB in a statement from hurry. âWith this investment, we are sending a clear signal to other potential partners across the country: we want to sign similar partnerships with you to make a difference in the quality of life of Canadians.
Growing investment in zero-emission public transit
This latest investment by CIB stems from a 10 billion dollar growth plan announced in October 2020. In this plan, CIB has committed $ 1.5 billion for zero-emission buses (school and public transport) and related charging infrastructure over the next three years.
Previous investments under this program include $ 30 million to support the purchase of 280 electric school buses in British Columbia and a $ 15 million investment Partnership with Autobus SÃ©guin in Quebec for the purchase of 131 zero-emission buses.
âThe way our program worksâ¦, whoever is willing to take advantage of our funding, they contact usâ¦ then we start a process with them where we look at their plan and we assess if they are actually ready to buy the buses,â explains Todd.
âWe don’t necessarily have a regional allocation. We are looking to get the money out in the most efficient way.
That said, the CIB is a pan-Canadian institution, so expect more initiatives in different places.
âWe expect this to continue and on many different scales,â Todd says. âThere are still a lot of large municipalities that I think from a transit perspective need our support. There are now thousands of diesel school buses across the country that are going to be replaced and we hope to be able to help as many of them as possible make the transition.