The Pembina Institute says if 65% of Ontario's school bus stock is electrified by 2030 multiplier effects along the supply chain would result in more than 13,000 jobs and generate nearly $2 billion in economic output in Ontario. PHOTO courtesy Pembina Institute.
With global sales of electric buses projected to reach US$3.1 billion by 2030, and a similar growth spurt underway in the North American market, Ontario is presented with a unique opportunity to revive its heavy-duty vehicle sector by investing in the production of electric school buses, according to the Pembina Institute.
Once an economic powerhouse, the province’s heavy truck and bus industry practically collapsed after the 2008 financial crisis, and the sector is still operating at only 10 per cent of its pre-2008 production levels. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), once central to the growth of Ontario’s heavy-duty vehicle sector, have been grappling with unpredictable market conditions ever since. Of the province’s dozen or so businesses that manufacture heavy trucks (or truck bodies), most employ fewer than 50 people.
By taking advantage of the surge in demand, Ontario can help revive and stabilize Ontario’s commercial vehicle manufacturing industry by investing in electric school bus production and incentivizing fleet purchases, the Pembina Institute argues in releasing a report outlining the the financial, environmental, and health benefits of electrifying Ontario’s school bus fleets.
‘To date, however, the province has failed to adequately support the manufacture and uptake of zero-emission heavy vehicles, including school bus fleets over which the province has control. Programs to upskill the labour force for jobs in the zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle sector have ended and are yet to be renewed even though significant increase in demand for specialized workers is widely anticipated,” the Pembina Institute says in a release.
It adds that demand-management policies have been overlooked despite evidence that policies such as purchase incentives are more effective at growing the domestic market than are subsidies targeting manufacturers.
‘Of all categories of large trucks and buses, school buses are one of the easiest, and most cost effective, to electrify. Pembina’s modelling shows that transitioning away from diesel-fuelled buses will lead to a net increase in provincial GDP, job creation, positive health outcomes thanks to cleaner air, and lower carbon emissions in a province where the single largest source of greenhouse gases is transportation at 32 per cent of total emissions,” the Pembina Institute states.
If 65% of Ontario’s school bus stock is electrified by 2030 (which is Quebec’s target for school bus electrification), multiplier effects along the supply chain would result in more than 13,000 jobs and generate nearly $2 billion in economic output in Ontario.