Electric School Bus Operational Assessment: A Calgary Demonstration Case Study

Pollution Probe, in partnership with the Mobility Futures Lab, RFS Energy and Southland Transportation Ltd., is pleased to present the results of a unique pilot program demonstrating the use of an electric school bus (ESB) in Calgary, Alberta. The results of the pilot present a first-of-its-kind public release of real-world operational data of using an ESB model through multiple seasons, including some of the coldest weather in Canada.

From September 2022 to June 2023, a single Blue Bird ESB was deployed in collaboration with local fleet operator Southland Transportation, conducting 81 runs across three routes in Calgary, Alberta. The demonstration measured energy intensity, vehicle range, and the impact of temperature on ESB use in Canada’s harsh winters. Total cost of ownership (TCO) was also calculated.

Splitting the case study outputs into a business case report, a technical report and a research report, Pollution Probe’s findings from the ESB demonstration provide a picture of the technical and economic considerations of ESB deployment in Calgary. The report also notes that qualitative considerations play a crucial role in shaping the success and acceptance of the transition to ESB use. These include stakeholder engagement, community support and education, organizational change management, buy-in, and employee training.

This project was made possible thanks to funding and support from Alberta Ecotrust Foundation’s Climate Innovation Fund Grant Program and the Scotiabank Net Zero Research Fund. The full report is available in below: