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TTC contracts New Flyer for up to 565 hybrid-electric buses

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Canada’s largest public transit system, has placed an order...

IMAGE: New Flyer's Xcelsior hybrid-electric bus

One of New Flyer’s Xcelsior hybrid-electric buses. (Courtesy New Flyer Industries Canada ULC)

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Canada’s largest public transit system, has placed an order for up to 565 hybrid-electric buses from New Flyer Industries Canada ULC.

The contract contains a firm initial order of 202 buses from Winnipeg’s New Flyer, a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (NFI-T), which are to be completed by the end of 2023. The order includes 134 Xcelsior 40-foot hybrid-electric, heavy-duty transit buses and 68 of the 60-foot models.

“Our partnership with TTC started 55 years ago. Since 1968, we have delivered nearly 1,000 vehicles, including 25 battery-electric buses – making New Flyer the only provider of both hybrid-electric and battery-electric buses to TTC,” said Chris Stoddart, New Flyer’s North American president of bus and coach, in a statement on the contract.

“With these new buses, NFI adds the ability to meet green zone regulations through intermittent zero-emission operation and ultimately, is helping accelerate TTC’s transition to zero-emission and building a more livable GTA (Greater Toronto Area).”

The two four-year contracts include options for up to an additional 263 of the 40-foot models and 100 of the 60-foot buses.

The TTC facilitates over 526 million passenger trips annually via its subways, streetcars, buses and paratransit services in the city. The commission says it operates the largest fleet of battery-operated vehicles in North America – 255 hybrid buses and 60 e-buses.

It has also ordered 134 of the 40-foot Nova Bus LFS Hybrid models to be delivered by the end of 2023.

An April report from the TTC’s Green Bus program states it expects its entire fleet will be electric by 2037.

New Flyer’s Xcelsior buses

Xcelsior hybrid buses reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 50 per cent and particulate matter levels by up to 100 per cent.

Seated and standing, the 40-foot Xcelsior can accommodate 84 passengers, while its 60-foot version can hold 123 people. It is also available in a 35-foot model.

All 202 Xcelsior orders will be equipped with GPS technology allowing the buses to be switched to zero-emissions mode in designated areas.

A New Flyer brochure states up to 40 per cent of the energy to accelerate the buses comes from energy saved through regenerative braking.

The hybrids’ batteries have a life expectancy of about six years. The fuel economy is estimated to be 10 to 29 per cent improved over conventional buses, depending on the routes they travel.

The company says it has sold over 3,500 hybrid-electric buses across North America.

NFI and New Flyer

Originally founded in 1930 as the Western Auto and Truck Body Works Ltd., New Flyer began publicly trading on the TSX in 2005, when it also created the NFI parent company.

NFI says it topped the North American heavy-duty transit sector with 43 per cent of market share in 2020.

By 2025 NFI, which has its global headquarters in Winnipeg but operates in eight other countries around the world, predicts $3.9 to $4.1 billion in revenue. Zero-emission buses are expected to make up 40 per cent of the manufacturing revenue. In 2021, it reported $2.3 billion in sales.

NFI’s other brands are MCI and Plaxton for motor coaches, Alexander Dennis Limited for single and double-deck buses as well as ARBOC for low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses.

New Flyer supports over 35,000 heavy-duty transit buses currently in service, of which 8,600 are powered by electric motors and battery propulsion and 1,900 are zero-emission.

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