B.C. Transit has awarded a six-year, $20 million contract to
supply hydrogen for the province’s 20 new fuel cell buses, which are set to
arrive in Victoria next summer.
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon and B.C. Transit chair
Kevin Mahoney announced Monday that the contract was awarded to Montreal-based
Air Liquide Canada Inc., a company that has dealt with industrial, specialty
and medical gases since 1902.
Air Liquide will work with Canadian companies Sacre-Davey
Group, Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation, and Hydrogenics Corporation
to design, supply, operate and maintain two hydrogen fuelling stations.
The first station, which will be located at B.C. Transit’s Langford
Transit Centre in Victoria, should be completed in mid-2008, while the other
will be located in Whistler, at a new B.C. Transit facility planned to be
completed by mid-2009.
“When these buses are up and running, B.C. Transit will have
the largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet worldwide,” Falcon said in a press
release issued Monday.
“The development of this fleet is a major step in our
commitment to hydrogen and fuel cells as a zero-emission transportation
The first fleet of fuel cell buses will be tested in Victoria
next summer. After testing the buses will be moved to Whistler in late 2009,
where the new fleet will become part of Whistler’s public transportation during
and after the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The new hydrogen bus fleet is part of the provincial
government’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020,
as hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles produce no smog or greenhouse gas
emissions, and can be twice as efficient as internal combustion engines.
Each of the low-floor buses will have a lifespan of 20 years
and a top speed of 90 km/h.
The total cost of the bus fleet will be $89 million, with $45 million provided through the federal Public Transit Capital Trust and the remaining $44 million from the provincial government and B.C. Transit.