Guelph councillors recently unanimously voted in favor of installing up to four electricbus chargers at the transit depot on Watson Road South. The expected cost of this project, $1.5 million, would come from money already set aside in the 2020 capital budget, approved by council last year.

Once up and running, the new chargers would be able to fully charge a 600 kWh battery-sized electric bus, which would have a range of more than 300 kilometres, in about four hours. Those new buses would be purchased in 2021 or 2022, replacing diesel-powered buses already slated for retirement.

General manager of facilities management for the city, Anitti Vilkko, said those new buses would likely be on the road in 2022 or 2023.

The pilot project for these new electric buses will be among the first steps of transitioning the city’s entire transit fleet away from diesel power, and over to electric.

In January, the city received a combined $74.7 million from the federal and provincial governments to go toward three projects aimed at electrifying Guelph’s bus fleet: replacing 35 diesel-powered buses with electric ones, purchasing an additional 30 electric buses over the next eight years and building a bus storage facility that would include charging stations for those new vehicles.

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