Edmonton Transit is launching a new pilot program to bring hydrogen-electric transit buses to the region. This past weekend, the region showed off the first bus at the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Expo.
The pilot program will see two hydrogen-electric buses enter the region’s fleet. One will operate in Strathcona County, and the other will operate within the City of Edmonton, according to Global Edmonton.
The pilot will allow city officials to assess the buses operations in cold climate conditions.
If successful, the pilot will also provide some time for the region to equip facilities for hydrogen-specific maintenance and iron out any other kinks.
It is unclear where the new buses will be refueled. According to Natural Resources Canada, there are only 5 hydrogen stations in all of Canada – four in British Columbia and one in Quebec. We have reached out to the City of Edmonton for clarification and will update this article when we receive a response.
UPDATE Sept 27 10:25am PDT: In a statement to Drive Tesla, the City of Edmonton’s Fleet and Facility Services Branch Manager Eddie Robar says the buses will be refueled at the the first hydrogen vehicle fueling station in Alberta at Suncor’s Edmonton liquified petroleum gas (LPG) facility.
“The City of Edmonton and Strathcona County will use the first hydrogen vehicle fueling station in Alberta, which is a collaboration between Suncor and the Alberta Motor Transport Association. The City of Edmonton’s new hydrogen fuel cell electric bus will be fueled daily at Suncor’s Edmonton liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) loading facility using a leased mobile hydrogen storage trailer from HTEC, with the hydrogen fuel being generated by Suncor. The same is true for Strathcona County’s new hydrogen fuel cell electric bus,” Robar said.
Battery technology is not new to Edmonton; the city has operated a fleet of 60 battery-electric buses since 2020.
Edmonton’s City Planning and Environment Services Branch Manager, Kent Snyder, had this to say about the pilot:
We know that people want transportation choices, whether they want to take a bus or ride a bike or walk or drive their own personal vehicles. We understand that people will continue to prefer their own personal vehicles so that’s why it’s important that they understand there are choices out there for them to have a hydrogen vehicle or have an electric vehicle.
Depending on the results of the pilot, the region may purchase additional hydrogen-battery buses in the near future.