The Town of Oakville and Oakville Transit, the Canadian Federal government and Geotab, and other local businesses, including Ford Motor Co, have invested in electric vehicle resources. These investments move Oakville one step closer to reaching the goal outlined in the Community Energy Strategy of increasing the use of electric vehicles. The goal is to increase the share of electric light-duty vehicle sales to 30% and heavy-duty vehicle sales to 10% by 2041.
Oakville Transit commits to an all-electric fleet.
Image courtesy of Karsan
The Town of Oakville and Oakville Transit have committed to the transition of an all-electric bus fleet beginning in 2023. The replacement and purchase of new electric buses will be completed in phases with the first delivery of zero-emission battery-electric specialized buses having already taken place in January of this year.
At the unveiling of the new buses in February, Mayor Burton outlined the Oakville’s commitment to reduce the town’s greenhouse gas emissions as well as modernize and expand transit services to the Town. Thanks to funding from the town and federal and provincial partners through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, Oakville is moving forward to provide innovative and environmentally friendly transit service for its residents.
To support battery charging for the electric buses, 10 charging stations have also been installed at Oakville Transit’s operations facility.
The town is on track to acquire the first 15 zero-emission battery-electric buses to be used for conventional services (larger buses operating for fixed routes) in early 2024. Over the next five years, it is planned that approximately 50 per cent of Oakville Transit’s fleet will be converted from diesel to electric.
- The town took steps for the electrification of transit buses in 2011 with the building of a new bus garage and service centre, which features a heightened roof and crane necessary for servicing electric buses. Updates to the facility are planned in 2023 to support transit fleet electrification.
- Introducing zero-emissions battery electric buses aligns with the town’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy, Climate Change Strategy, Community Energy Strategy and Sustainable Green Fleet Procedure.
- Oakville Transit’s first delivery of electric buses for specialized services are manufactured by Karsan. The Karsan e-Jest electric bus model purchased by Oakville Transit will replace and expand its specialized bus fleet, featuring a unique and innovative design with low floor, key for accessibility for customers.
- Transit fleet electrification is one of seven key priority projects for Oakville Transit to address climate change, ease gridlock and improve connectivity.
Free Transit for Youth & Seniors
In addition to moving towards an all-electric bus fleet, Oakville Transit will be fare-free for youth 13-19 and seniors 65+ starting May 1, 2023. The fare elimination is permanent and applies to all routes and services including conventional fixed routes, school special routes, care-A-van, Home-to- Hub and Ride On-Demand. A valid Presto card is required to ride free. Kids under 12 have been able to ride for free since 2021.
Public transit is a sustainable mode of transportation. Fare-free travel for youth and seniors provides the opportunity to reduce the number of cars on the road resulting in reduced congestion on Oakville roads. Less road congestion reduces greenhouse gas emissions, leading to a cleaner environment.
Minister Anand Announces Federal Funding for Electric Vehicle Chargers in Oakville and Kitchener
The Government of Canada invested over $53,000 in Geotab Inc., to install 11 Level 2 EV chargers in Oakville and nine in Kitchener, Ontario, which are now available for use. Geotab has also matched the funding amount, bringing the total project cost to over $106,000.
The eleven additional Level 2 EV chargers add to Oakville’s public charging station ports (Level 2 and Level 3). There are currently 76 public charging station ports within 15km. 94% of the ports are level 2 charging ports and 75% of the ports offer free charges for electric cars. Easy access to EV chargers is essential for consumers and businesses to make the change to electric vehicles.
Ford Motor Co. is spending $1.8 billion to transition its Oakville, Ont., auto assembly plant into a “high-volume” EV manufacturing hub
Image courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
The investment allows Ford to repurpose and transform existing buildings into a state-of-the-art facility that leverages Ford of Canada’s skilled and experienced workforce.
The campus, to be renamed Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex, will begin to retool and modernize in the second quarter of 2024 to prepare for production of next-generation EVs. This marks the first time a full-line automaker has announced plans to produce passenger EVs in Canada for the North American market.
Why are the investments important?
Electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure is critical for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. As we work to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, EVs offer a promising solution for decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels and transitioning to a more sustainable transportation system.
Governments, businesses, and individuals must work together to invest in and promote the development of EV infrastructure and EV use to achieve our goals of increasing our use of zero-emission electric vehicles. The investments into critical infrastructure for EVs like charging stations and retooling manufacturing to EV production as well as the adoption of the use of EVs move us one step closer to our goal.
More needs to be done to replace diesel and gasoline vehicles with zero-emissions vehicles for Oakville to achieve the goal within the Community Energy Strategy. This will reduce the business’ carbon footprint as well as have potential cost savings in the long run with reduced operating and repair costs.