Powered by C$4.7 million in federal and industry funding, seven mostly post-secondary institutions in Ontario are forming North America’s first research cluster providing research support to zero-emission buses (ZEBs) powered by batteries or fuel cells.
The seven members of the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) include OCAD University, Ontario Tech University, Queen’s University, the University of Windsor, Centennial College, York University, and Chalk River, Ontario-based Canadian Nuclear Labs. The release notes that global e-bus sales grew 32% in 2018, 40% between 2016 and 2017, pointing to a “burgeoning sector” for Canada’s economy.
“Our consortium provides the data-driven insights required by municipal, provincial, and federal governments to implement electric bus fleets in a way that saves tax dollars over the long term and improves transit to make it the primary choice for mobility for Canadians in the future,” said CUTRIC Executive Director and CEO Josipa Petrunic. “Our work will remove the barriers of uncertainty and high risk associated with the adoption of electrified propulsion technologies.”
The consortium supports “research into electric and hydrogen bus simulation and modelling tools, as well as the visualization of battery electric bus and fuel cell electric bus performance in three dimensions, and powertrain optimization that will improve bus motors, batteries, and hydrogen fuel cell stacks,” the release states. “CUTRIC is also supporting cybersecurity research to ensure electrified buses cannot be hacked and that the electricity grid is protected.”
“Our research will answer the question of how researchers and implementation teams can accurately track the progress and impacts of ZEB implementation,” said OCAD design professor Jeremy Bowes. “We are working closely with CUTRIC to develop visualizations that will highlight key factors as decision support for the overall process of ZEB adoption, testing, and evaluation in Canada.”