Almost 150 school transporters were present at the Girardin company a few weeks before the start of the school year to discuss questions relating to the electrification of the school bus network.
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Since last November, all new school bus models on the road must be fully electric. The challenges are significant.
“This is the biggest change in school transport since the beginning. challenges [sont nombreux]: electrification, labour, vehicle maintenance, autonomy, road planning,” said Pierre Deschênes, President of Autobus Idéal.
Currently 6% of the market is electric. 65% of school buses to be electric by 2030, to be fully electric by 2035.
“It can be done, but the challenges are significant,” said Girardin vice president Michel Daneault. One thing we must not forget: the bus exists, it works, the autonomy is not yet optimal, but the second challenge is to install an infrastructure that allows these vehicles to be recharged in the region.
Some manufacturers also have difficulty marketing these buses.
In Quebec, four companies make electric school buses. Lion Electric has self-service since the models are assembled in Canada.
But the other three (Girardin, Autobus Thomas and Leeds Transit) do not have access to these subsidies.
According to Leeds Transit, which sells its models for $400,000, its competitor benefits from a $150,000 subsidy on the sale of one of its buses, hampering its ability to attract customers.
The company’s director also confirmed to TVA Nouvelles that sales in Quebec have fallen by 85%. A total of 400 electric school buses were delivered this year.