Electric buses and the canadian landscape

Canadians are known for being tough-as-nails. Working and playing in the cold is a challenge we rise to. We understand the different challenges working with equipment in weather extremes. Unfortunately, technology doesn’t always cooperate in our climate.

Extreme cold can really challenge the operation of a vehicle. Anyone who owns an electric car can attest their battery life isn’t the same in the winter as on a warm day. Those in research and development are continually working to develop batteries that can overcome this challenge and improve battery performance in all conditions.

Batteries perform best when kept near room temperature; too cold or too hot may result in degradation. In general, an electric school bus in a moderate climate will outperform one in a harsh climate.

One of the challenges faced is the need to control the bus’s interior temperature using only the battery. It’s not surprising then that a battery drains quicker when heating or cooling the cabin interior. To add extra heat, some manufacturers will add a diesel-powered heater. For the purist, that defeats the purpose of moving away from fossil fuels.

There is anticipation, however, that battery technology will continue to advance. Expect improvements as large-scale electric batteries technologies continue to develop. It’s ‘electrifying’ to watch as barriers continue to be broken.

designed by the best

As a regional Canadian dealer, The Bus Centre currently offers Thomas Built Buses’ electric bus, aptly named ‘Jouley’. Without a doubt, this is “top of the line” in the electric bus industry and is ideal for short and mid-range applications.

Jouley is a full sized conventional C2 bus with a 2-speed transmission and 295 peak horsepower. It is available in both conventional school and white commercial units. As well, it is the only truly zero-emission school bus on the market.

Thomas Built Buses is a subsidiary of Daimler AG, one of the world’s largest automotive companies. This has allowed them to benefit from Daimler’s global resources and expertise. It’s clear Thomas is committed to the product and is continually working to advance it. It’s successful adoption in various municipalities attests that Jouley is the step forward we’ve been looking for.

With any product purchased, you want to know that the manufacturer stands behind their offerings. Daimler has the most extensive parts and service for EV’s in North America. This top-in-class transportation leader can be counted on to be in the market for years to come. That’s why Jouley comes with a market leading battery warranty. That’s on top of the comprehensive standard warranty that’s always been offered.

Electric School Bus Considerations

One of the first things we do when buying a product is to check the price tag. It’s important to know that the purchase price fits the budget. However, unlike buying a box of cereal where the price and product are easily identified, there are additional factors to consider in the EV bus equation. An electric school bus is more expensive than it’s diesel counterpart. In addition, this purchase must include planning for fueling infrastructure purchase costs and installation, not just the cost of the bus alone. A site assessment should be done before costs can be fully determined. Things to consider include:

  • Battery size – the bigger it is, the further you’ll go on a charge
  • Charging capacity – better chargers reduce charging times. Currently it’s one charger per bus
  • Fueling Infrastructure – consider charger location, accessibility and grid connection
  • Power Grid – include your utility provider to evaluate your increased energy needs
  • Warranty – consider extended warranty for worry-free long-term usage
  • Servicing – basic training required to do non HV work. All other maintenance must be done by trained technicians
  • Maintenance – No fuel, oil, lubricants, belts or after treatment components to maintain

Additional battery Assessments

Achievable mileage, length of time to charge and charger technology are all considerations when opting to purchase an electric bus. And each battery has a true usable amount that differs from it’s noted capacity. That’s to safeguard the battery and avoid unnecessary degradation. Consider these battery topics:

  • DC or AC battery – AC chargers are less expensive but DC chargers are smarter and faster
  • Battery capacity – usable amount of battery is less than capacity – this is by design
  • Length of time to charge – fully draining the battery results in longer charge times
  • Unmanaged charging (AC) vs Managed charging (DC)
  • Cabin Heating/cooling – battery based or diesel add-on
  • Range considerations – weather, urban/rural, stop frequency, road conditions, terrain
  • Battery longevity – avoid operating at high and low state of charge

It’s important to understand the keys elements surrounding electric vehicle batteries to make an informed decision. We’d like to assist you to evaluate the options. When you reach out to us at The Bus Centre, you are choosing knowledgeable individuals who know the market and understand the school bus industry.

Choosing An electric School Bus

As the planet turns toward more earth-friendly and sustainable options, electric vehicles are the undeniable wave of the future. There are, in fact, several advantages to making the switch to an electric school bus.

Safety – All the safety features that have been incorporated into traditional school buses are still there in the electric version. In addition, electrical bus construction includes specialized packaging for the battery. There’s also a simpler overall vehicle design which results in fewer mechanical failures. The lack of noise pollution from the engine lends to quieter operation. That makes it easier for the driver to be aware of what is happening on the bus.

High Performance – Electrical vehicles have increased horsepower and acceleration capabilities. This can be a game changer for driving in Canadian road conditions involving deep snow or soft backroads.

Lower Maintenance – Electric bus owners enjoy fewer mechanical failures and service visits. With a simpler power system and fewer moving parts, you can spend more time on the road and less in the shop.

Zero Emission – Designed for a sustainable environment, an all-electric bus is the perfect fit for a greener world. It’s emissions-free, noise pollution-free and fossil-fuel free. That goes a long way to help save the planet!

Cost Savings – Powering with electricity costs less than traditional fuels which helps offset the price difference of battery electric versus conventionally powered vehicles. Buses have regular scheduled routes that result in thousands of trips per year leading to significant fuel savings. And there’s downtime in between runs to refill with the convenience of on-site charging.

Forward Thinking – Electric vehicles are the future of transportation, and the public is increasingly recognizing the switch to electric vehicles as good practice. As electric innovation continues, expect further advances which will improve cost savings and extend driving ranges.

We’re Your knowledge Centre

We live in a complex world and it takes significant innovation to creatively solve the problems we see. It takes societal effort to make the changes we need to ensure an environmentally sound world for today and tomorrow. If everyone contributes, we can make it happen. Electric school buses are just one of those products that help us to get there.

Electric vehicles are quickly becoming the sensible transportation choice. Not sure if an electric bus is right for you? Reach out to us; we are happy to answer any questions you may have. Navigating the world of information is only getting more extensive with time and education is part of our service to you, our customer. We recommend an discussion with one of our sales managers to get the latest data. When you’re ready to make the switch, The Bus Centre will be there to support you all the way.

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Electric School Bus

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