Moncton is undertaking a study of what it could take to switch its public transit fleet to electric power.
City councillors voted unanimously Monday in favour of awarding a sole-source contract to the not-for-profit Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium.
The study, expected to take 30 weeks, will begin this year.
Angela Allain, Moncton's director of public transit, said it will examine everything from the existing transit garage and diesel fleet to whether supplementary charging stations may be required along bus routes.
"So there's a lot of changes that will be required with moving to a zero-emission transit fleet because currently all the buses are diesel," Allain said in an interview.
A staff report to council says the study will look at electric batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and hybrid bus options, as well as range requirements, power demand and short- and long-term financial plans.
'Road map' for testing electric buses
It would also include recommendations about implementing the change and carrying out a pilot project.
The study doesn't include a test run of electric buses.
"It will create a road map of how we could do a pilot project, but we won't actually be ordering buses or anything like that right away," Allain said.
The study is expected to cost $172,500, though 80 per cent of the cost will be covered by the federal government.
The consortium includes transit agencies from across the country, manufacturers and academics.
A staff report to council says the organization has carried out similar studies for Ontario communities such as Guelph, Burlington, Toronto, the York Region, Brampton and London, and on Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.
"We see this as a great partnership and a great opportunity to move our fleet to the next generation of sustainable buses in our community," Marc Landry, the city manager, said during the council meeting.
The staff report notes the study fits with the city's climate initiatives.
A report presented to council in March calls for electrifying the transit fleet as part of a long-term effort to cut Moncton's emissions.