Electric bus project is launched in Quebec
The Quebec government announced on Wednesday that it was investing $30 million in an ambitious $73-million public-private project that plans to develop electric buses for the international mass-transportation market. The funding is intended to give the province a leg up over the competition and a chance to become an innovation leader in the burgeoning global electric-vehicle industry. The announcement was made by Quebec Premier Jean Charest Wednesday morning at the headquarters of St. Eustache-based Nova Bus, the main supplier of buses used on Montreal Island. “The development of the electric-vehicle industry is a priority for the government of Canada,” Charest said in a statement. A non-profit organization, Consortium Bus Electric, has been established to manage the project. The group plans to produce two different size aluminum electric-bus models. Of the $30 million being invested by the province, $27 million has been earmarked for the conception and manufacture of an electric bus to be developed by a clutch of Quebec companies. These firms include Nova Bus, lithium battery firm Bathium Canada, electric car component maker TM4, software firm Giro, manufacturing firm René Matériaux Composites and engineering company Précicad. The remaining $3 million will fund the development of a smaller electric micro-bus.
Partners working on this project include passenger counting firm Infodev, product development company StyleTech and manufacturing firm Structures CPI. The Aluminum Association of Canada, a member of the consortium, plans to invest $1.5 million in research and development during a period of four years that will contribute to the realization of the two electric buses. In a statement, Clément Gignac, minister of natural resources and minister responsible for the Northern Plan, said putting more electric buses on the province’s roads will help reduce the carbon footprint of Quebecers. “Every dollar” invested in the project is “a dollar that contributes to the creation of wealth and to our prosperity,” he added. The government’s action plan concerning electric vehicles covers the period from 2011 to 2020 and is focused on developing products for the electric vehicle industry so that Quebec can become an important player in this new global market. The government is planning to invest $250 million in the coming years to help deploy and promote the use of electric vehicles in the province.