The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), which looks to develop technology that advances next-generation mobility and transportation across Canada, has partnered with seven research institutes to create North America’s first cluster of post-secondary institutions dedicated specifically to researching battery electric and fuel cell electric buses – or zero emissions buses (ZEB).
The project aims to support research into electric and hydrogen bus simulation and modelling tools, as well as the visualisation of battery electric bus and fuel cell electric bus performance in three dimensions, and powertrain optimisation that will improve bus motors, batteries and hydrogen fuel cell stacks.
CUTRIC is also supporting cybersecurity research to ensure electrified buses cannot be hacked and that the electrical grid is protected. CUTRIC’s National Academic Committee on Zero-Emissions Buses (NAC-ZEB) research aims to allow federal, provincial and municipal governments to make better decisions when it comes to procuring and deploying zero-emission buses across Canada.
“This research will move Canada closer to achieving the goal of electrifying 5,000 buses across the country, as set by the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities,” said Josipa Petrunic, Executive Director and CEO of CUTRIC. “Our consortium provides the data-driven insights required by municipal, provincial and federal governments to implement electric bus fleets in a way that saves tax dollars over the long-term and improves transit to make it the primary choice for mobility for Canadians in the future. Our work will remove the barriers of uncertainty and high risk associated with the adoption of electrified propulsion technologies.”
The work conducted through the consortium’s predictive analytics has already supported the electrification of routes in Vancouver, Brampton, and York Region and supported the feasibility assessment of the full fleet electrification of the Toronto Transit Corporation, Canada’s largest transit system.
“The NAC-ZEB project is playing a key role in moving Canada to the forefront of the shift to electrified public transit, a key priority of our government,” said MP Ruby Sahota, the Member of Parliament for Brampton North. “For a transit network like Brampton Transit which is facing a rapid increase in ridership, the adoption of e-buses will benefit the entire community by reducing fuel consumption, vehicle emissions and traffic congestion, and improve the quality of life for my residents.”
“Our research will answer the question of how researchers and implementation teams can accurately track the progress and impacts of ZEB implementation,” said Jeremy Bowes, a tenured Professor in Design at OCAD University, one of the partner institutes. “We are working closely with CUTRIC to develop visualisations that will highlight key factors as decision support for the overall process of ZEB adoption, testing and evaluation in Canada.”
The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium develops technology that advances next-generation mobility and transportation across Canada. Its low-cost simulation tools help transit agencies across North America predict how electric buses, hydrogen-fuel-cell buses and autonomous smart vehicles will operate. These advancements are helping to grow the low-carbon and smart technology ecosystem, leading to job growth and economic development over the long term.