The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), a non-profit organization that spearheads, designs, and launches technology and commercialization projects that aim to make Canada a global leader in low-carbon smart mobility, recently announced the creation and spin-off CUTZEB, the Canadian Urban Transit Zero Emissions Bus joint procurement initiative.

This unique technology-oriented organization has the sole aim of supporting Canadian public transit agencies in the procurement of turn-key zero emission transit technologies, including battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and their respective charging and hydrogen fuelling systems. CUTZEB will provide a uniquely synergistic, comprehensive and cost-effective process for joint procurements by bringing together small to mid-sized transit agencies across Canada.

“We knew that transit agencies wanting to electrify their fleets didn’t just want buses or chargers, but turn-key solutions — the buses, the chargers, the installation, the maintenance and everything in between. They wanted all of that in a package that could be delivered by a consortium, which is where the idea for CUTZEB emerged,” said Josipa Petrunic, president and CEO of CUTRIC and CUTZEB.

“Now, with CUTRIC and CUTZEB working synergistically, we can ensure there is comprehensive support behind transit agencies and municipalities to undertaking zero emission bus (ZEB) electrification and planning studies, and therefore getting one step close to reaching zero-emission fleet goals.”

While there’s been an increase in battery-electric and fuel-cell buses promises, orders and deployments in Canada, to meet the Government’s target of 5,000 ZEBs by 2026, transit agencies will need a significant amount of planning. For many — particularly smaller — transit agencies, significant financial and technical gaps remain in plans to procure and deploy these vehicles in tandem with supporting infrastructure. CUTZEB will not only expedite commercial-scale deployment of ZEB technologies, but plans to complete multiple rounds of joint procurements to support the Government of Canada’s zero-emission bus target, all while bringing together small to mid-sized transit agencies.

“CUTZEB is the logical extension of CUTRIC’s important work to help transit agencies verify the performance claims of zero emission bus manufacturers,” said Chris Hill, chair of CUTZEB’s Board of Directors and program manager for Fleet Planning with the City of Guelph. “A well-planned procurement that includes electrical supply and charging equipment, as well as buses, is critical to the successful deployment of this new technology.”

CUTZEB is governed by a Board of Directors composed of representatives of the nation’s leaders in zero emissions bus procurements and deployments, including: the City of Guelph (and Guelph Transit, ON), represented by Chris Hill; Edmonton Transit (Edmonton, AB), represented by Eddie Robar; TransLink (Metro Vancouver, BC), represented by Ralf Nielsen; and, Grand River Transit (Waterloo, ON), led by Blair Allen.

Featured image credit: Unsplash/Brune Van Der Kraan.

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