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Manitoba investing $1M in electric bus R&D

The Manitoba government is investing $1 million in the development of an all-electric transit bus and charging system that it says could be used in cities all over North America.


April 26, 2011
by PLANT STAFF

WINNIPEG: The Manitoba government is getting into the electric bus business. The province, which has announced an electric vehicles strategy, is investing $1 million in the development of an all-electric transit bus and charging system that it says could be used in cities all over North America.

It’s also putting $100,000 into a new electric-vehicle learning and demonstration centre at Red River College in Winnipeg.

The new Electric Vehicle Technology and Education Centre (EV-TEC) is to be a demonstration site for all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles and their recharging equipment.

“We all know that better training opportunities, like this new one at Red River College, will give more Manitobans the skills they need to get well-paying jobs and give their families hope for a better future,” said Premier Greg Selinger.

The $3-million, three-year project brings together Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Winnipeg-based bus manufacturer New Flyer Industries, Manitoba Hydro and Red River College. Development of the bus is to be completed in the first year followed by two years of testing, with activities focused at New Flyer Industries’ Winnipeg plant and Red River College.

New Flyer brings its expertise in building hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell buses to the project, Mitsubishi will contribute its advanced lithium-ion battery technologies, Manitoba Hydro will provide grid-management knowledge and Red River College’s instructors and students help solve the technological challenges arising from the project.

“All-electric buses are an emerging need in the heavy-duty transit market as our customers are focused on cleaner technologies and reducing fuel costs,” said New Flyer president and CEO Paul Soubry.

Last week, Manitoba announced its Electric Vehicle Road Map, which involves adopting electric and hybrid vehicles, reducing the province’s dependence on fossil fuels and creating economic opportunities involving electric transportation.

Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak said much of the infrastructure that will support widespread adoption of electric vehicles is already in place. He said the province has more than 500,000 existing recharging outlets, it has clean, low-cost electricity and Manitobans have already shown their ability to plug in their vehicles.

And a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada will also make Manitoba a proving ground for the further development of the company’s global i-MiEV electric vehicle.

The province said it’s also committed to establishing an advisory committee on electric transportation that will identify roadblocks to the accelerated introduction of electric vehicles. The committee will look at potential barriers such as insurance considerations, impact on the electric grid, electricity consumption and cold-weather performance, plus business opportunities and regulatory changes.
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