Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)

Electric bus on trial run serving Nanaimo-to-Victoria route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

A new bus that will be travelling the Island’s highways in coming months will be shockingly quiet and emission-free.

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus announced Wednesday, April 21, that the company has taken its first step in its zero-emissions fleet strategy with a new electric bus pilot project, thanks to a partnership with battery-powered electric bus manufacturer BYD Canada.

The Model C8M highway coach makes its debut Thursday, April 22, in time for Earth Day, according to a press release from the Wilson’s Group, parent company of Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus. The release suggested “initial reviews” show an approximate 97-per cent reduction in emissions.

The 41-passenger coach, powered by a 313-kilowatt battery, is embarking on a three-month trial and will serve Vancouver Island Connector’s daily route between Nanaimo and Victoria.

John Wilson, Wilson’s Group president and CEO, said in the release that the bus lines are very excited about the partnership with BYD.

“It has always been our company’s plan to reduce our emissions and footprint; however, with the setback we have experienced through COVID, the high cost of replacing our fleet with electric vehicles seemed out of reach,” Wilson said. “This new partnership allows both companies to help do our part towards a sustainable future.”

Rick Salewski, operations manager for the Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus, said in an e-mail to Black Press that there is a charging station in Victoria and there are discussions around adding a charging station in Nanaimo “which will allow us to extend the area of operation.”

The release noted that a goal of the trial program is to expand the partnership and implement electric buses in Wilson’s other service routes suitable for electric bus use.

Ted Dowling, BYD Canada representative, said battery electric buses are “the most efficient and cost-effective solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions” and can make tour bus operators leaders in a “green recovery.”

-files from Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

READ ALSO: B.C. motor coach industry at the breaking point, says Victoria operator



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