Electric bus inside the Northfield garage, with "Hi! I'm Electric" on the destination sign

GRT unveiled our first electric bus in January 2024. It will be joined by 10 more electric buses in 2024. The electric buses will be housed at our Northfield Drive Maintenance Facility, which opened in 2022. The facility is equipped with 12 chargers; buses can be fully charged in four hours.

These 11 buses are part of a pilot. As they head out on the road to pick up passengers, we'll collect data about how they perform. We'll be looking at: 

  • Range - how far buses can travel on a charge in different conditions;
  • Reliability - how the buses perform in service carrying customers every day;
  • Rider experience - we'll be seeking feedback from our customers on different aspects of the electric bus.

We’ll use that information as part of our next business plan, which will map out service improvements and expansion over the next five years.

As more electric buses hit the road, there will be opportunities for the community to see them up close and learn more about the pilot project.

Electric buses and greenhouse gases

The Region of Waterloo plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. GRT can be a big part of this effort by switching from diesel buses to lower emission vehicles. 

In 2019, we celebrated the launch of ION light rail, which carries thousands of riders every day on trains that produce zero emissions. In 2020, GRT committed to no longer purchasing diesel-only buses, and switching to hybrid and electric options. The electric bus pilot is the next step in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.