Town of Milton first in Canada to convert old diesel bus to electric

A pilot project in Milton aims to convert one of the town’s buses from diesel to electric. The Town of Milton is teaming up with a local company, MTB Transit Solutions, to make the conversion happen. This will be the first transition of its kind in Canada.

Tony D’Alessandro from Transit Services says the town is pioneering this move,
as the conversion process itself is a first in Canada and will help Milton decide if this change should be spread to the entire bus fleet.

D’Alessandro says, “It’s really going to give us a lot of information about metrics, how much diesel we’re saving, about how much Greenhouse gas emission reductions we’ll be seeing, what the maintenance costs going to look like?” D’Alessandro says it will move the city closer to its environmental sustainability goals.

Statistics Canada says a quarter of Canada’s Greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicles like diesel buses. Milton says switching a bus from diesel to electric could cut more than 51,000 kilograms of emissions over six years.

MTB Transit president Gara Hay says the conversion will take about six months and all the resources used are Canadian. “We take out the diesel engine, we take out the transmission, we take out the radiator and replace it with a much smaller electric motor and put batteries placed around the bus.”

When it comes to the rider experience, the electric bus is said to be a more comfortable ride with less noise and less vibration. The city expects the total process of the project to cost about $900,000 which factors in charging units, vehicle components and training.

Hay says, “We think there’s a good market potential to convert other forms of transportation like a school bus, a mining vehicle, maybe a garbage truck in the future.”

The switch will be done by the end of the year and the bus is expected to hit the road in early 2024.