Quebec to get 1,229 electric buses in $2.1B deal with Nova Bus

Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault made the announcement Monday, saying the buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 930,000 tonnes. (Radio-Canada - image credit)
Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault made the announcement Monday, saying the buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 930,000 tonnes. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

The Canadian and Quebec governments have teamed up to buy 1,229 electric buses at a cost of $2.1 billion.

Nova Bus will manufacture the buses in Quebec, according to the joint announcement made on Monday.

"This is the largest electric bus acquisition project in North America. It is an incredible vote of confidence in the Quebec economy," said federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

Ottawa's contribution amounts to $780 million, while Quebec is spending $1.1 billion. The 10 public transit companies that will add the electric buses to their fleets will cover the remaining $234 million.

Those 10 transit companies include:

  • Société de transport de Montréal (STM).

  • Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO).

  • Société de transport de Sherbrooke (STS).

  • Société de transport de Trois-Rivières (STTR).

  • Société de transport de Lévis (STL).

  • Société de transport du Saguenay (STS).

  • Société de transport de Laval (STL).

  • Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL).

  • Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC).

  • Exo.

The vehicles will have a range of at least 300 kilometres. Half of them will be delivered to the STM, which acts as the project's representative and will ensure the procurement of buses.

Delivery of the vehicles will be spread over four years and should be completed in 2027.

It will be up to two Nova Bus factories to manufacture them. The Saint-François-du-Lac plant, which has 350 employees, will be responsible for the construction of the chassis. The Saint-Eustache facility, which has 800 employees, will be responsible for the final assembly.

The two governments have included a stipulation requiring the buses be manufactured with 25 per cent Canadian acquired parts and that the final assembly be done here.

The joint announcement was made at the Nova Bus facility in Saint-Eustache, Que. about 35 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault said these vehicles will enable a reduction of 930,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press
Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

She said the call for tenders has been under discussion for some time and is part of the province's plan to develop a green economy that, tabled by Premier François Legault's government, has a budget of $9 billion.

A good part of this budget is allocated to the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility because transport is responsible for a substantial portion of greenhouse gas emissions, said Guilbault.

On Twitter, she said the project shows a "firm desire to reduce our GHG emissions and develop our green economy."

Ottawa's contribution is part of the federal government's plan to eventually purchase 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years.

Traditionally, the buses run on diesel, said Éric Alan Caldwell, STM chair and Montreal executive council member.

Since 2013, the STM has been buying hybrid buses and, by 2040, its entire fleet should be electric, he said.

In Quebec, the lifespan of a typical bus is estimated to be 16 years, said Caldwell.

On Twitter, the STM says it welcomes the commitment of both levels of government — making this historic order possible.

"From 2025, Montrealers will rely on a growing number of electric buses, contributing to the attractiveness of public transit and allowing the city to breathe easier," the transit company said.