Staff Report #1 – Zero Emission Bus Implementation Strategy – Contract Award

Staff Report #1

April 28, 2021

To All Commissioners

Re: Zero-Emission Bus Implementation Strategy Contract Award


That the Commission:

  1. APPROVE the award of a contract to the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) at an upset limit cost of $390,600 exclusive of applicable taxes, for the completion of a Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) Implementation Strategy; and
  2. DIRECT administration to continue discussions with CUTRIC with respect to London’s participation in a Phase 2 ZEB trial and joint procurement initiative which will assist transit agencies and operators in leveraging the economies of scale associated with ZEBs and allied charging/fueling infrastructure, further details of which will be provided at the Commission’s May 26, 2021 meeting.


At the January 29, 2020 meeting, the Commission approved a contract award to the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) for the completion of a Fleet Electrification Analysis Study. This study was presented to the Commission at the November 25, 2020 meeting for review and consideration. In addition, at the November meeting, the Commission directed administration to issue a request for proposal for the completion of a detailed Electric Bus Implementation Plan which would include a recommended path forward as well as projected costs associated with full fleet conversion. Subsequent to the meeting, further investigation was undertaken with respect to the data required to undertake this initiative, as well as an industry scan of agencies who have completed plans of this nature.

Given CUTRIC has already undertaken the Fleet Electrification Analysis Study, which is a significant component of the work required to complete a ZEB Implementation Plan, coupled with their level of expertise in all aspects involved with the introduction of ZEB technology into a fleet, it was concluded that the most expedient and efficient path forward would be to continue to work the CUTRIC on this initiative.

Early in 2021, CUTRIC advised of the potential of a second ZEB trial and joint procurement (similar to the one currently underway with Brampton, York Region and Translink participating). CUTRIC plans to merge this effort with its pre-existing Phase 2, Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trial, which successfully secured $5 million in federal funding in 2019. Administration has now received confirmation of the plan to move forward on this Phase 2 ZEB trial and joint procurement, and London has been invited to participate. As the report recommendation sets out, administration will continue discussions with CUTRIC in the interim and it is expected that further details with respect to participation in the Phase 2 will be available for the May 26, 2021 meeting. Moving forward as part of a group of stakeholders will provide all participants the ability to leverage the knowledge and expertise of CUTRIC, and to share resources and data as the trial moves forward, ultimately benefitting the entire transit sector.

A number of discussions were held with CUTRIC representatives with respect to the approach that would be taken in the development of a Zero-Emission Bus Implementation Plan for London Transit. As has been discussed in previous reports on this topic, the introduction of ZEB technology into a transit fleet is not a simple undertaking, and requires careful planning and risk mitigation efforts in order to ensure a successful introduction while at the same time continuing to meet service expectations. The areas that CUTRIC was asked to include in the plan development process included the following:

  • Assessment of the current state
  • Evaluation of electrical power services
  • Review of operational goals and scenario development
  • Comparative analysis of available vehicles and charging systems
  • Infrastructure gap analysis and requirements identification
  • Implementation planning and costing

CUTRIC has provided a proposal that incorporates all of the above, and has suggested some additional considerations that should be included based on their experience with other implementations of this nature. CUTRIC adopts a nine-step methodology in planning fleet electrification for transit agencies, starting with the strategic vision development to the completion of a successful electrification and ZEB integration. Given LTC’s preference to adopt a phased approach, the first two steps in the process have already been completed (strategic focus and preliminary feasibility analysis). The feasibility analysis that CUTRIC has completed for LTC has already assessed and identified the success rates that different technologies and vehicle configurations would have in specific service areas as well as the steps that could be taken to improve on successful electrification.

Given two steps have already been completed, the seven steps involved in the creation of the ZEB Implementation Strategy will include the following.

  1. Cost Analysis – an in-depth cost analysis of focussing on the selected technologies that have been revealed as feasible through the preliminary feasibility analysis will consider both operating and capital costs over the lifetime of the ZEBs. This analysis will consider the bus replacement cycles and vehicle acquisition currently in LTC plans, and conduct a total cost of ownership assessment with capital costs and operational costs to guide capital investments in the short (first year), medium (five years) and long term (15 years). Considerations will include present and near future equipment requirements, expected purchase prices, and maintenance costs of buses as well as utility rate costs that will be incurred based on load profile. This analysis will also consider the real estate constraints involved and include a primary architectural profile requirements with respect to facility retrofit costs in the short (0-5 years) and long (10-15 years) terms.
  1. Benefits Analysis – While the preliminary feasibility analysis provided a solid understanding of what the potential merits of a transition to ZEB would be, the advanced benefits analysis will help to identify merits in the economic, environmental, social and political domains. This analysis will also consider and evaluate the funding options (municipal, provincial and federal) and financing options (CIB financing) that are or are expected to be available for initiatives of this nature. The items that will be considered in the advanced benefits analysis are anticipated to be required for any application-based funding, and as such, will ensure LTC will have the required information to complete funding applications and/or meet established criteria with respect to metrics and expected returns when they are made available.
  1. Risk Analysis – As planning efforts seek to minimize potential risks associated with the implementation of new technologies, it is critical that a prudent ZEB implementation plan considers various risks in the process from both the operational and capital investment perspectives as ensuring resiliency and uninterrupted service delivery is critical while transitioning to ZEBs. CUTRIC will conduct risk assessment and mitigation planning as well as emergency planning for electrical systems for grid supply configuration, and the need for back-up or alternate facilities in the event of outages. In addition, the risks associated with equipment requirements and repairs, future technology changes and staff training and certification requirements will also be evaluated from a risk management perspective.
  1. Needs Analysis – The needs analysis is made up of four specific parts, each of which is explained in greater detail below.
  1. Asset and Gap Analysis – This analysis will enable LTC to enhance its ‘electrification confidence’ as all assets that are currently existing will be evaluated to ensure a proper asset registry or existing infrastructure is established and resources are not wasted. The gaps analysis will provide LTC with an understanding of what is needed to move on to the next steps and plan resource allocation efficiently and sustainably.
  2. Electric System and Facility Needs Analysis – CUTRIC will review all facility records in order to gain an understanding of the current status. The plan will provide the steps for a staged approach and recommendations on all preparation needed to ensure both transit facilities will be ready to maintain, store and charge electric buses including any facility upgrades required to infrastructure, transformers, the electrical grid to the facilities, energy storage devices, and type and placement of chargers. The proposed charging infrastructure set out in the Plan will align with the routes that will be converted to battery electric buses and match the required infrastructure to the expected demand load and route energy. This analysis will include input and feedback from London Hydro as applicable.
  3. Schedule Optimization Needs Analysis – CUTRIC will utilize its advanced schedule optimization capacity to undertake a detailed scheduling analysis for battery electric bus options by considering overnight depot charging and on-route charging during single or round trips as may be required. This analysis will utilize scheduling data to assess recovery times and determine how much charging time can be added per vehicle at every recovery point. CUTRIC will match schedules with runs to identify where reliefs are made, determining vehicle requirements throughout the day and identifying where vehicle shortfalls may occur. This analysis will help inform the manner in which different routes will be prioritized in the implementation plan.
  4. Advanced ZEB Implementation Needs Analysis – CUTRIC will utilize its modelling toolset to further understand the precise mix of battery electric bus charging technologies and associated infrastructure requirements, identify corresponding route assignments and evaluate selected charging systems for their merits and demerits. The ease of charging system integration at facilities, the ongoing maintenance requirements and battery replacement needs will be provided from the perspective of industry best practices and experiential knowledge. CUTRIC will also provide information on the needed skills training for LTC staff in order to ensure a smooth transition.
  1. Procurement Planning – CUTRIC will review existing and realistic solo and joint procurement opportunities available to LTC for early stage electrification as well as a second stage of fuller fleet procurements. As set out in the report recommendation, consideration will be given for London to participate in the Phase 2 trial and procurement being undertaken by CUTRIC for the initial procurement of required technology.
  1. Empirical Evidence – CUTRIC will provide insights into how LTC should proceed with empirical data analytics during ZEB rollout and present the significance of including data collection and validation in the procurement based process. This data will enable LTC to compare the predictions with real operational data, the relative differences observed in the performance of the service already implemented with ZEBs, and can be used to extrapolate the model outcomes and adjust the predictions to obtain more accurate indicators for the remainder of the service to be transitioned.
  1. Finishing Point – CUTRIC will compile the information collected in the previous steps into a ZEB Implementation Plan and roadmap for LTC to consider for the short, medium and long term giving consideration to the technological evolution anticipated going forward.

In terms of the project schedule, CUTRIC is aware of the Commission’s desire to have any information and cost estimates associated with the 2022 operating and capital budgets available for consideration during the budget deliberation process. As such, it is proposed that a ‘First Impression Report’ will be completed for presentation at the Commission’s August meeting, the same meeting at which the 2022 budgets will be deliberated. The final ZEB Implementation Plan will be completed in November 2021, which provides the opportunity to share the details and implications with Municipal Council prior to their deliberation of the 2022 budgets.

The costs of the project is provided as an upset limit given there may be aspects of the project that have already been completed, or are well underway, which will reduce the amount of resources that CUTRIC will need to dedicate to the project. It is anticipated that this initiative will qualify for the recently announced $2.75 billion ZEB funding program with the Government of Canada; however in the interim, the costs of this undertaking will be funded with Provincial Gas Tax. A breakdown of the upset limit costs associated with each of the tasks is set out below.

ZEB Implementation Task Total
Cost Analysis $75,600
Benefits Analysis 59,375
Needs Analysis 190,000
ZEB Roadmap Development 35,625
Final Report Preparation and Presentation 30,000

As discussed earlier in this report, the Commission will receive an update report at the May 26, 2021 meeting with respect to participation in the CUTRIC Phase 2.


I – CUTRIC ZEB Implementation Plan Proposal (Commissioners only)

Recommended by:

Craig Morneau, Director of Fleet & Facilities

Mike Gregor, Director of Finance

Katie Burns, Director of Planning

Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager