Quebec is leading the country’s adoption of electric buses, a move that will improve air quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions that cause global heating.
With only 10% of Canada's 20,000 public transit buses being electric, there is much that governments and school boards can do to reduce transportation emissions. There are other reasons that E-buses should be adopted quickly. The Canadian government's funding of electric transport is helping local governments but many are not taking advantage of the money available. Quebec is moving forward.
From the National Observer:
Adam Thorn, director of the Pembina Institute's transportation program, told Canada’s National Observer that zero-emission buses promise substantial savings for Canada in health costs associated with diesel exhaust.
“As per Health Canada, exposure to diesel exhaust from buses and other medium and heavy-duty vehicles has been linked to increases in the incidence of asthma, cancer and other respiratory diseases,” said Thorn. “In Canada, local air pollution ... due to diesel exhaust contributes to more than 15,000 premature deaths a year, and pollution-induced health-related economic costs amount to $120 billion (or about six per cent of the country’s GDP).” Between five and 10 per cent of this can be avoided by shifting to zero-emission buses, Thorn added.
Electric buses provide additional societal benefits that are often ignored, said Marianne Hatzopoulou, a professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering and director of Positive Zero Transport Futures.
“There is evidence that traffic-related air pollution affects disadvantaged communities the most. Bus electrification can help reduce these disparities,” Hatzopoulou said.
Thorn said there are policy steps the government can take to speed the large electric vehicle conversion. He recommends the federal government implement a staggered zero-emission vehicle sales standard, starting with school and transit buses. This would require automakers to produce zero-emission buses at a faster pace so that most buses being sold would be electric by 2030, he said.