Canada, Quebec announce North America’s largest-ever electric bus purchase

Saint Eustache-based Nova Bus is ecstatic about historic public transit deal

A nearly $1.9 billion funding package announced last week by federal and provincial officials will allow 10 public transit agencies across Quebec to purchase 1,229 electric buses in the largest electric bus acquisition deal undertaken to date in North America.

Canadian Infrastructure Minister Dominic Leblanc, Quebec Minister of Transport Geneviève Guilbault, Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette and the Trudeau government’s Quebec lieutenant, Pablo Rodriguez, issued statements relating to the announcement made at Nova Bus in Saint-Eustache.

A massive conversion

According to a press release from the two governments, the funding – $780 million from Canada and more than $1.1 billion from Quebec – will allow the public transit agencies to begin a massive conversion of their bus fleets to become 100 per cent electric, in line with Quebec’s Plan for a Green Economy (PEV 2030) and Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan.

The LFSe+ is the 40’ long-range battery electric bus model that Nova Bus will be delivering to the ten public transit agencies across Quebec.

The release also points out that the investment delivers on a previous federal government commitment to help purchase 5,000 zero emission buses over the next five years. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is the official representative for the contract on behalf of the nine other transit agencies, including the Société de transport de Laval (STL), and is responsible for purchasing the buses.

Canadian content required

In order to maximize the potential for local economic benefits, the level of Canadian content required in the call for tenders was set at 25 per cent and the final assembly must be done in Canada, in accordance with applicable trade agreements to which Quebec subscribes.

Following a public call for tenders issued in April 2022, Nova Bus was awarded the contract to manufacture the buses. All the buses covered by the contract will be produced and assembled in Nova Bus’s Quebec plant, which the two governments point out will help generate significant economic benefits for Quebec and Canada.

“By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is growing our country’s economy, increasing the resiliency of our communities, and improving the lives of Quebecers and all Canadians,” the federal government said in its portion of the statement.

Future green economy

“By investing to help Quebec transit operators purchase electric buses, we continue to fight climate change and encourage Quebec entrepreneurs who are participating in the development of the green economy of the future,” said Rodriguez. “The federal government is fully committed to supporting the green transition of our economy and we continue to deliver for Quebecers through investments that will make a real difference in their daily lives.”

“Across Quebec, citizens rely on public transit to get where they need to be each day,” said Leblanc. “With today’s $780 million investment, our government is enhancing the electric public transit network across the province. We will continue to partner with the Government of Quebec to deliver modern and reliable infrastructure that meets the needs of our communities today and into the future.”

Achieving low-carbon

“Public transit is one of the key elements in the sustainable mobility of people and the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Guilbault. “With this investment of more than $1.1 billion, the government is responding in order to help achieve a low-carbon Quebec. Ultimately, the entire population of Quebec will be able to benefit from the advantages of these electric buses.”

“The Quebec government is determined to make the climate transition a success,” said Charette, who is the CAQ MNA for the North Shore riding of Deux-Montagnes. “This transition includes a major project to electrify the economy and transportation, including public transit. The authorization granted by my colleague today is a step in this direction and demonstrates once again our willingness to act responsibly and sustainably to address climate change.”

They’re going electric

The contract for the acquisition of the buses calls for all of them to be delivered by 2027. The buses will be acquired for the following transportation agencies: Société de transport de Montréal, Société de transport de l’Outaouais, Société de transport de Sherbrooke, Société de transport de Trois-Rivières, Société de transport de Lévis, Société de transport du Saguenay, Société de transport de Laval, Réseau de transport de Longueuil, Réseau de transport de la Capitale and exo.

The contract for the buses calls for all of them to be delivered by 2027

Quebec’s Green Economy Plan sets the following targets: Beginning in 2025, all new vehicles acquired by public transit agencies and receiving government subsidies must be electric. Also part of the plan by 2030 is to electrify 55 per cent of city buses, 65 per cent of school buses, 35 per cent of light electric vehicles on Quebec roads, 40 per cent of cabs, 100 per cent of the government’s cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and minivans, and 25 per cent of its trucks.

Sweet deal for Nova Bus

In a separate statement issued by Nova Bus, the company confirmed that the model of electric bus being sold to the STM-led public transit buyers’ group is the LFSe+, a 40′ long-range battery electric Nova Bus model.

“We have delivered more than 6,000 buses in Quebec since 1997,” said Ralph Acs, president of Nova Bus. “We are honored to continue this collaboration by supporting Quebec public transit authorities in their transition to electromobility and to be part of this new chapter we are writing together to collectively contribute to the fight against climate change.”

Delivery over three years

The company said the buses will be delivered over a three-year period starting in 2025. The LFSe+ frames for this order will be built at Saint-François-du-Lac and the buses will be assembled at the Saint-Eustache facility.

“Thanks to its long driving range, its reduced maintenance costs as well as the elimination of all pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), the LFSe+ in a first-choice vehicle for the transition to sustainable transport,” said Nova Bus management.

“The LFSe+ represents a smart mobility solution combining the Nova Bus LFS platform, a durable, proven structure that facilitates access for people with impaired mobility, with the latest innovations in electromobility and security.”