Low Carbon Fleet Program


In July 2019 BC Transit announced its Low Carbon Fleet Program which aligns with the Province’s CleanBC and forms a core component of our strategic vision for the future of BC Transit. Central to this program is a 10-year fleet replacement strategy to replace over 1200 existing buses and expand the fleet by an additional 350 buses by using GHG reducing technology.

Across the province of B.C., there is growing expectation from all partners that BC Transit endeavor to find prudent ways to support its emission reduction goals. We are committed to doing our part as corporate citizens by prioritizing actions that contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions.

BC Transit’s Role

BC Transit is actively pursuing new and emerging low carbon technologies, supported by the use of renewable fuels, as we strive towards a cleaner, greener fleet. We have the ability to significantly contribute to the provincial government GHG reduction targets with this program and are excited to be working with the Province of BC and local government partners to achieve these climate action goals.

BC Transit’s Low Carbon Fleet Program Principles explained:

Low Carbon module image

1. Fleet Replacement Strategy – Fleet replacement timelines and technology readiness will drive the deployment roadmap for electric buses in each of the four bus categories (note: reference to technical readiness can apply to BC Hydro as well as vehicles)
2. Sustainable Fuel – In the short term, renewable fuels will be leveraged for our incumbent fleet to support achievement of greenhouse gas targets
3. Strategic Partnership – Risks associated with being an early adopter of battery electric bus technology will be mitigated by developing good working relationships with our program and learning from industry partners
4. Strategic Funding – Alternative funding arrangements will be leveraged whenever possible to support long-term capital investments.

Low Carbon/Zero-Emission

Low Carbon Options

Achieve lower net carbon dioxide (GHG) emissions than existing incumbent methods.

For example, our bus fleets which normally use carbon-based fuels such as CNG or diesel fuels can utilize low carbon alternatives that are produced through less carbon intensive ways or offset higher GHG emissions which are otherwise created through other means. However, low carbon options are not zero-emission. Similar localized emission effects such as hydrocarbons, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides are still emitted from the tail pipe of our buses.

Zero-Emission Options

Achieve no emissions at all, GHG or localized emissions from the ‘tailpipe’.

Zero-emissions can only be achieved through the electrification of the fleet. With hydro-electricity, BC Hydro produces clean electricity and provides for zero-emissions from ‘well to wheel’ for these buses.

What work is happening now in the program’s four principles?

  1. Fleet Replacement Strategy: As part of the project a battery electric bus demonstration bus is currently running routes to prepare for electric buses. Transit system electrification analysis is underway with concept designs for electrification of infrastructure being completed.
  2. Sustainable Fuel: In addition to electrification, renewable natural gas and renewable diesel fuel are expected to be used to support near term greenhouse gas reductions.
  3. Strategic Partnership: BC Hydro provides power to the majority of BC Transit depots and have been working with BC Transit to assess the utility power requirements. Fortis BC and other community power utilities (e.g. Nelson Hydro) have also been engaged to support the assessments.
  4. Strategic Funding: BC Transit continues to work with Provincial and Federal governments to secure funding and investments for the low carbon fleet program.
Low Carbon module image
  1. Each vehicle classification will have its own electric transition pathway, including timelines and implementation plans, in alignment to future replacement needs.
  2. The transition to full electric will be supported by sourcing renewable fuels and the acquisition of CNG buses and fueling infrastrucutre.
  3. Business cases will be developed for all fleet investment and associated technology types, supported by ongoing assessment of technology readiness.
  4. Strong partnerships will be established with organizations that have similar obectives and will assist in the execution of a low carbon fleet.

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