Canada Infrastructure Bank Announces Funding for 4,000 Electric School Buses in Quebec

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has signed an agreement with Quebec’s Bus Carriers Federation for a $400 million CAD loan to provincial bus operators that will fund the purchase of 4,000 electric school buses over the next five years — reports Electric Autonomy Canada.

The investment is part of the CIB’s planned $1.5 billion CAD zero-emission bus initiative designed to accelerate the transit sector’s move to electric vehicles (EVs).

Quebec is currently at the forefront of Canada’s transition to electric transportation, accounting for 49.1% of all zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) registered in the country during the second quarter of this year, which makes it an ideal candidate for the initiative.

As part of the agreement, the CIB will provide long-term loans to school bus operators across Quebec to cover the higher upfront costs of buying an electric bus and charging infrastructure expenses.

“It’s a loan that’s based on the expected savings that the buses are going to generate over their life,” explained Charles Todd, Managing Director of investments at CIB, in an interview with Electric Autonomy Canada.

“So if you think about running a diesel bus for 10 years, you’re going to spend a certain amount of money on diesel, [but] running an electric bus for 10 years, you’re going to spend a lot less money on electricity. So the difference between those two numbers is how [much] we’re repaid.”

The bus operators that receive loans from the CIB under this program will be responsible for repaying them over the life of each purchased bus.

The Quebec-based Bus Carriers Federation, which represents 650+ private companies across the passenger transportation sector, will act as the intermediary between the province’s bus operators and the CIB. School bus operators in Quebec will be able to place orders with the Federation to take advantage of the loan.

“We want this [funding] program to be accessible to all our members — from small, medium to big companies,” said Martin Bureau, Assistant General Director and Communication Director at the Bus Carriers Federation.

“So, our role is to, first, do an analysis and then…be an assistant to bus carriers to facilitate the access to the CIB funding.”

The Canada Infrastructure Bank and the Bus Carriers Federation are expected to finalize the agreement by March 2022.

What will make things even easier is the fact that Quebec is home to Lion Electric — a manufacturer of electric, zero-emission school buses that are already running in Quebec and Prince Edward Island, and even in the U.S.