September 21, 2014

Want to Ride In An Electric Bus?

Electric Bus in WindsorThoughts on the Electric Bus: ‘This will send shockwaves through the system.’Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis

If you want to ride an electric bus you may be able to do so shortly. Windsor, Ontario is hoping to be the first Canadian city to fill its public transportation system with electric buses.

Mayor Eddie Francis relayed the news about the city’s joint venture with Chinese manufacturer BYD Motor Inc. BYD produces the only commercial battery powered transit bus in the world and Windsor wants to be the test site for this technology in North America. He stated “We’re excited about being the first and being a leader in putting electric buses in the streets.This will send shock waves through the system.”

The plan is to initially purchase up to 10 electric buses with the possibility of more in the near future. The idea of marketing, selling and building these vehicles with BYD may sound enticing for a city that has the highest unemployment rate in the country, but the deal isn’t expected to produce great numbers in the employment field at the current time. The initial thought being a couple hundred people as there will be some jobs made available such as building infrastructure, including a charging station, to keep each electric bus on the road.

The town does hope however that many transit officials will stop by for a ride in an electric bus and perhaps take notice of this technology. They believe the potential to help the city is there if people like what they see. The idea is by setting Windsor up as the marketing hub for other jurisdictions, creating manufacturing facilities in the city will be ideal if the electric bus becomes the need of the future. Windsor may be the place to get one from. Francis declared that BYD officials were hoping for a Windsor plant to manufacture 500 electric buses each year.

Michael Austin, vice president of BYD America said “We’re going to want to find what that market size is and part of this is really to build creditability in the market place and give us some time to figure out what the market size is.” Although he expects no problems, he is interested to see the effects the colder climate has on the electric bus.

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