The order for Western Canada Bus will include 18 electric buses from IC Bus for 14 school districts. Shown here is an IC Bus chargE electric bus. - File photo courtesy IC Bus

The order for Western Canada Bus will include 18 electric buses from IC Bus for 14 school districts. Shown here is an IC Bus chargE electric bus.

File photo courtesy IC Bus

Western Canada Bus in British Columbia will be the first to order electric school buses from IC Bus.

The order, which will include a total of 18 Type C electric buses, will be operated by 14 British Columbia school districts and funded through the annual British Columbia Provincial School Bus Standing Offer, according to a news release from IC Bus.

The order is one the most significant electric school bus orders placed from a sole province in Canada and is the first in British Columbia, according to the manufacturer. British Columbia has reportedly mandated a 40% greenhouse gas reduction for public fleets by 2030.

“We are very happy to announce the first order of our electric CE school bus,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager of IC Bus. “Electric is an exciting opportunity for IC Bus and we look forward to expanding our presence following this initial purchase.”

Robyn Stephenson, manager of transportation services at School District No. 22 in Vernon, British Columbia, is looking forward to putting two of the electric buses into service next year. The acquisition, according to IC Bus, builds upon past sustainability actions such as fuel-efficient driving techniques and bus route design, which has already contributed to a 30% drop in fuel consumption.

Over the past 18 months, IC Bus and NEXT — Navistar’s eMobility business unit — have been consulting with a group of transportation supervisors in British Columbia to obtain real-world operational data, route-profiles, and climate data.

“The group of transportation supervisors offered us unique insight by sharing their operational wants and needs while keeping in perspective the very diverse climate they work in, which will serve as a model for most of North America,” said Joel Landry, account manager for Western Canada Bus. “From mountain ranges to the coastal rainforest and the Okanagan desert, British Columbia presented a perfect challenge for the engineers, which will benefit us moving forward.”

NEXT’s consultative four C’s process, touching many areas outside of the vehicle, was key to the order, according to IC Bus. Throughout the meetings in British Columbia, it became clear the school districts would require charging infrastructure guidance. As such, each of the school districts are being provided with complimentary site planning services by NEXT’s charging solutions team. Collectively, the team is covering consulting, constructing, charging, and connecting — each of the four C's.

“Western Canada Bus is proud to partner with IC Bus in this exciting new chapter of school transportation in British Columbia,” said Doug De Hoop, vice president and general manager of Western Canada Bus. “We look forward to continuing to support our many clients through our extensive service network.”

IC Bus will begin delivery of the electric buses in 2021.

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