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Research Partnerships & Innovation

Going electric in the sub-Arctic: The EV Tundra Buggy project

September 16, 2021

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Tundra Buggy was more than three years in the making for Frontiers North Adventures (Frontiers North), a certified B Corporation® and leader in sustainable travel.

The EV Tundra Buggy is a proof-of-concept project that engaged several partners, including Red River College’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC), and was made possible in part by support from the Vehicle Technology Centre (VTCI) and funding from the Province of Manitoba’s new Climate and Conservation Grant.

Frontiers North’s goal of converting a Tundra Buggy® in their touring fleet from diesel-powered to battery electric was two-fold: to lessen their environmental footprint and reduce sound pollution across Manitoba’s sub-Arctic.

“Our company’s purpose is all about stewardship, and positively contributing to our communities and the environment,” said John Gunter, President and CEO, Frontiers North.

“By starting the conversion of our fleet with this first EV Tundra Buggy, Frontiers North is taking meaningful steps towards reducing our GHG emissions and creating new clean tech jobs.”

RRC’s involvement in the EV Tundra Buggy prototype commenced in early 2021. The opportunity to assist Frontiers North and project partners with testing and validating the Tundra Buggy conversion to battery-electric, meant leveraging the expertise of VTEC researchers, engineers, and technicians. It also provided the opportunity for RRC students in the Electrical Engineering Technology program to put their applied learning into practice, taking batteries provided by New Flyer Industries, and repurposing them for use in the EV Tundra Buggy.

A major component of the conversion to electric is providing training, specifically on safety procedures. Building upon past electric vehicle projects, VTEC provided training materials on safe handling and operation of the repurposed batteries.

VTEC’s role in EV Tundra Buggy project highlights the College’s commitment to supporting local industry integrate new technologies through its dynamic research facilities.

“The EV Tundra Buggy is a quintessential made-in-Manitoba story. The project has links to conservation, tourism, and environmental stewardship, highlighting the ability of industry partnerships to create positive impact in Manitoba, for Manitobans, through reducing environmental impacts and benefitting our local economy,” said Dr. Simon Potter, Director, Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College.

The EV Tundra buggy is estimated to reduce Frontiers North’s greenhouse gas emissions by 8.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide during this autumn polar bear touring season. With the goal of converting their Tundra Buggy fleet to electric by 2030, Frontiers North is paving the way to further promote sustainable tourism, while continuing to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for guests.

The EV Tundra Buggy was recently unveiled by Frontiers North and RRC at the College’s Vehicle Technology & Research Centre. Click here to watch the event recording.