New electric coach bus coming to Vancouver Island starting Earth Day

New electric coach bus coming to Vancouver Island starting Earth Day
The Wilson's Group

A new greenway of transportation is making its debut on Earth Day for Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus are launching their new electric bus in a three-month pilot project with partner BYD Canada, an electric bus manufacturer.

The Model C8M highway coach is a 41-passenger bus powered by a 313-kilowatt hour battery.

Samantha Wilson, brand manager of Wilson’s Group – a company that acquired Tofino Bus in 2018 – said in a release that early reviews show a 97 per cent reduction in emissions with the new bus.

“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,” said Wilson’s Group President John Wilson. “This new partnership allows both companies to help do our part.”

The electric bus has around a 220 kilometer range and will be travelling on Vancouver Island Connector’s daily route between Victoria and Nanaimo. The bus will need to stop and charge in Victoria overnight.

The company hopes to expand their new partnership and start using electric vehicles on other areas of Wilson’s service lines as infrastructure and technology improves. Samantha Wilson says it’s possible a route from Nanaimo to Tofino is possible in the future.

“The range on a charge is definitely a hurdle when it comes to electric buses,” said Wilson. “However, as we understand, the technology is always improving and growing and we are hopeful that at some point we will be able to put an electric bus on that route.”

The BC Special Use Vehicle Incentive (BC SUVI) provides incentives to encourage the use of electric vehicles in BC.

“Zero Emission Battery Electric buses are the most efficient and cost-effective solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ted Dowling of BYD Canada. “With the help of BC SUVI program, tour bus companies can replace their fossil fuel buses and lead the Green Recovery.”

The Wilson’s Group continues to work with Synergy Enterprises and has been a certified Green Business and Surfrider Approved since 2019.

READ MORE: B.C. ‘becoming a leader’ with over 54,000 electric vehicles registered

Justin WaddellJustin Waddell

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