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City of Burlington Moves Closer Towards Electrification of Transit by Engaging with CUTRIC

Council Approved - CUTRIC CUTZEB plan - TW

Burlington City Council unanimously approved staff’s recommendation to develop a Zero-Emission Bus Fleet Implementation and Rollout Plan by engaging with the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) and CUTZEB™ (CUTRIC’s not-for-profit arm) to finalize the plan and will report back to Council in Q2 2023.

Click here for the full staff report: TR-04-22 CUTRIC-CUTZEB Joint Procurement Initiative.

Over the past two years, Burlington Transit staff have worked with CUTRIC modeling our route network to analyze the potential opportunity for electrification of our fleet by participating in CUTRIC’s Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Pilot Demonstration Project Phase II.

Staff did look into comparing the use of hydrogen as an alternative source of fuel but, for now, it has been deemed to be considerably more costly.

The total cost of the Zero-Emission Bus Fleet Implementation and Rollout Plan is $92,500 plus HST — the plan will use funds already received from the Provincial Gas Tax.

CUTRIC will complete the Zero-Emission Bus Fleet Implementation and Rollout Plan, noting below the areas that the plan will include:

  •  Assessment of the current state;
  • Evaluation of electrical power services;
  • Review of operational goals and scenario development;
  • Comparative analysis of available vehicles and charging systems;
  • Infrastructure gap analysis and requirements identification; and
  • Implementation planning and costing.

CUTZEB™ is planning to issue an RFP (a request for proposal) to procure electric buses and charging infrastructure in 2023.  Once an award is made to the preferred vendors, then Burlington Transit would have the option to purchase this equipment through the joint procurement.

As part of the 2024 Capital Budget, Burlington Transit is planning to request the purchase of four electric buses and the necessary infrastructure to replace four diesel buses that are due to be retired.  This would allow Transit to launch a small pilot of electric buses in 2024 and bring us closer to achieving the goals we’ve set out in our City’s Climate Action Plan.


This report is great news for our city and it’s very exciting to see the possibility of electrification of our transit fleet within reach. We’re joining a joint procurement process to acquire electric buses as soon as 2024! In the meantime, we’re authorizing a study to do an overview of our infrastructure needs to make this happen and determine where the charging stations will need to go.


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5 thoughts on “City of Burlington Moves Closer Towards Electrification of Transit by Engaging with CUTRIC”

  1. Though on the surface electric power appears to be the answer to pollution and it would definitely be nicer in congested areas versus diesel, how environmentally beneficial is it in the big picture? More lithium batteries would be required to both store energy produced from wind chargers Etc. and by what additional means would the additional required electricity be produced by?
    There would be increased mining of lithium for batteries and probably copper for conductors. and we all know mining is rarely environmentally friendly.
    Many mining techniques require the use of internal combustion engines which would increase since the demand would increase. Plus the other destructive mining techniques.
    Lithium for example is mined using some very destructive measures, it is typically mined from two sources: hard rock (usually igneous) or subsurface brine–water with high concentrations of lithium carbonate–reservoirs below dried lake beds. The methods used for mining lithium from hard rock mirror those used for coal mining, oil drilling, and fracking. The ore (rock with valuable minerals) is extracted from either open-pit or underground mines through boring holes drilled hundreds of feet beneath Earth’s surface. This process requires large supplies of water and emits significant amounts of carbon dioxide. Extracting lithium from brine lake deposits requires even more water and typically takes place in areas already experiencing drought conditions; however, it is typically a cheaper process than mining lithium from hard rock.
    Another method is to use sulfuric acid to concentrate lithium from clay. This would produce significant amounts of battery-grade lithium but also cause substantial damage to the surrounding area. It would impact species and threaten many species of fish and wildlife. It would also use billions of gallons of water and contaminate local groundwater, potentially to levels exceeding federal standards.
    Do not get me wrong I am all for alternatives that would reduce our impact on the environment but I believe the majority who feel electric vehicles are a clear cut answer to pollution are not always aware of the bigger picture.
    An interesting read is this article. Not trying to sway anyone one way or the other just providing additional food for thought.

  2. Peter W. Sangster

    The ONE THING that seems to be OVERLOOKED is the fact that Batteries expire and create MORE WASTE (Garbage) and where is all this garbage going to go.
    WHAT HAPPENS in the Winter, if there is an accident or extended delay with BATTERY POWER. ooooh ooooh NO HEAT!!!
    BURLINGTON needs to team up with Quebec City and Vancouver to implement the use of HYDROGEN. The only waste being H2O.
    Both Cities mentioned above have been implementing HYDROGEN at their gasoline stations.
    Niagara Power Plant has been looking into the possibility of providing HYDROGEN. We should be their first Genie Pig.
    If Canadian Tire can produce Hydrogen for their LIFT TRUCKS, surely we can come up with something similar to START SMALL!!

  3. Good to see the City looking to replace diesel with electric for our bus system.
    Electric buses have a long history across North America replacing horse drawn trolleys in most large cities since the late 1800’s. Until 90 years ago electric trolleys served Hamilton and a trolley line passed through then rural Burlington along present day New Street. Electric trolleys still serve much of Vancouver, as well as San Francisco.
    I think the current study of bus electrification in Burlington should compare the costs and benefits of both tethered or trolley buses versus the costs of battery powered bus systems.
    Doug Brown, M.Sc., P.Eng
    Chair, Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit

  4. I love seeing our city’s team take a lead in ways that other levels are not. Thank you for respecting our home and caring about future generations by reducing our emissions and human impact on our local environment. I would love to see more trees, pollinator gardens and continue to see more “green” initiatives. Thank you.

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