STL rolls out the first of a possible fleet of all-electric buses
In a move that the Société de Transport de Laval is taking well ahead of virtually every other public transit agency in Quebec, the STL has acquired its first fully electric bus, to be tested before a decision is made whether to purchase an entire fleet of all-electric buses.
Built by the U.S.-based DesignLine Corp., the 40-foot EcoSmart, resembling most other ordinary city buses, was formally presented to the media during a press conference held at the STL headquarters and garage on Jan. 14. The vehicle is equipped with slow charge batteries, giving it an estimated autonomy on the road of more than 200 kilometres.
Effects of our climate
The STL took possession of the bus more than a week before Laval became immersed in the recent arctic cold snap. These are the sorts of conditions which would prove to be the most extreme such a vehicle in service in Laval might ever face. But there are lingering questions as to how its batteries will stand up in our climate. (The manufacturer is based in North Carolina, U.S.A.)
A press release issued by the STL said the bus will be subjected to a series of tests over the coming months, although it wasn’t clear if any testing would take place before then. According to the transit agency, members of a special maintenance and engineering team as well as STL drivers are evaluating its reliability, the driving conditions, how long the vehicle can stay on the road between charges, and its overall maintenance requirements.
The vehicle is supposed to gradually be put into use as early as this spring. The STL is seeking comments from transit users at the same time. The agency plans to share the results of the tests with other transit agencies throughout the province, as well as with certain key partners in the project, including Hydro Quebec and the province’s transport ministry.
Mayor pleased with purchase
Laval mayor Alexandre Duplessis said he was very pleased with the acquisition. “I’m very proud that the STL was able to acquire the first 100 per cent electric in Quebec and even in Canada under comparable conditions,” he said. “Laval is implementing several initiatives aimed at reducing GHG emissions.”
Jean-Jacques Beldié, a Laval city councillor who also chairs the STL, said: “This initiative, of which we are very proud, inserts itself perfectly within the framework of our Sustainable Mobility Plan. This is an efficient way to reach our reduction of greenhouse gas target. Our research and experiments will also contribute to providing information to the Autorités organisatrices de transport (AOT) that are all working towards the electrification of mass transit.”
Thumbs up from Bureau-Blouin
Léo Bureau-Blouin, the PQ MNA for Laval-des-Rapides, supports electrification of public transit. “I am proud to collaborate with the STL in making a tangible impact for sustainable development in Laval,” he said during the new vehicle’s launch. “The environment is one of the major challenges of my generation,” added the 20-year-old neophyte politician, “and I hope that in fifteen years all the transportation corporations will have followed suit in the electrification of their fleet.”