Research Partnerships and Innovation

Research Partnerships & Innovation

RRC Polytech leading conversion of diesel school buses to EV technology

August 29, 2023

RRC Polytech’s Vehicle Technology and Energy Centre (VTEC) are creating a new way to fuel school buses in Winnipeg.

Partnering with Seven Oaks School DivisionNoble Northern and the Canadian Shield Foundation, RRC Polytech is leading the Electric School Bus Conversion project, which aims to convert diesel school buses into electric vehicles.

The benefits of converting just one bus in Seven Oaks fleet includes saving up to $11,000 in fuel costs, and reducing 20.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions per school year (approximately 39 weeks).

This initiative will also demonstrate the advantages of switching to this technology, such as lower maintenance costs, and elimination of air and noise pollution. Additionally, the project will offer experiential learning opportunities for the students and staff who will work on the conversion process.

“RRC Polytech has been leading the way in EV technology for a number of years and we’re proud to work with our partners to expand the technology to different types of vehicles,” says Jojo Delos Reyes, Research Program Manager at RRC Polytech. “Reducing emissions and sourcing renewable energies for fuel is one of the ways we are hoping to make a positive impact on our environment and create a sustainable future.”

K-12 students who attend school in the Seven Oaks School Division will have the opportunity to learn about climate solutions when they take the bus to and from school, or on field trips.

“Seven Oaks is thrilled to partner with RRC Polytech, and thankful that the Honourable Ed Schreyer (founder of the Canadian Shield Foundation) initiated this project. We teach our students about the need for climate action. We need to walk the walk,” says Brian O’Leary, Superintendent for Seven Oaks School Division.

VTEC and RRC Polytech’s Transportation program department will work together to include student participation on the project and will provide the technical expertise and support for the conversion process. The College will also test and evaluate the performance of the electric buses in its MotiveLab™ facility.

Funding for the project was announced last month through the Manitoba Government’s Conservation and Climate Fund. The Province awarded RRC Polytech $150,000 for this project, and a total of $1.5 million for other projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions and creating green jobs.

RRC Polytech is no stranger to converting electric vehicles. In 2016, VTEC Partnered with Winnipeg Transit, New Flyer Industries and Manitoba Hydro to create an all-electric, zero emission public transit bus and in 2020 launched an Electric Bus Technology course, which focus on battery safety, electrical fundamentals. RRC Polytech also partnered with Frontiers North Adventures in 2021 to create the first EV Tundra Buggy to be used in Churchill, Manitoba.

More information about the project will become available as work begins

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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