The short: CUTZEB™ has launched as the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium’s (CUTRIC’s) first spin-off corporation. CUTZEB™ will lead Canada’s first national joint procurement program for public transit infrastructure focusing on a turn-key zero-emission transit solution for small- to mid-sized agencies across the country.
The long: The Government of Canada has established a goal of deploying 5,000 zero-emission buses (ZEBs) by 2026, yet significant financial and technical gaps remain in many transit agencies’ plans to procure and deploy these vehicles along with their supporting infrastructure.
CUTRIC’s CUTZEB™ provides a uniquely synergistic, comprehensive and cost-effective process for joint procurements. The CUTZEB™ Joint Procurement Initiative will expedite commercial-scale deployment of these technologies by facilitating bulk purchases of equipment and energy supply planning for multiple transit agencies across Canada. Coordinated procurement based on local operational requirements of participating transit agencies, and technical specifications standardized through CUTRIC’s ZEB implementation planning studies will enable significant program management and capital cost savings while enabling efficient management of technology risks.
CUTZEB will deliver the following to participating stakeholders and CUTRIC members by convening multiple transit agencies and equipment suppliers:
- Set a robust plan for long-term joint procurement efforts by leveraging the expertise of a Board of Directors constituted of some of Canada’s foremost transit electrification leaders.
- Coordinate collective bargaining of cost reductions and enhanced post-deployment manufacturer support by leveraging a non-profit mechanism to support procurements, especially for small and mid-sized transit agencies through a “winner-takes-all” supplier model.
- Set the foundation for efficient execution of future fleet-decarbonization projects by developing scalable and replicable templates for procurements.
- Set standardized specifications for battery electric bus (BEB) propulsion systems and charging infrastructure in Canada.
- Manage technology and operational risks by facilitating knowledge and experience-sharing among transit agencies through a Program Steering Committee and a Technical Affairs Sub-committee post-launch. This may include sharing of empirical performance data, issues logs and risk registers outlining measures to treat deployment challenges.
- Enable longer term supply-chain planning for manufacturers and energy suppliers by expanding demand volumes in procurement contracts.
The future: CUTZEB™ plans to complete multiple rounds of joint procurements to support the Government of Canada’s zero-emission bus target and to assist transit agencies and municipalities across the country reach their zero-emission transit fleet goals. Newly interested transit agencies will be onboarded for subsequent rounds of procurement through seamless entry ramps for participation. CUTZEB will assess procurement readiness of onboarding agencies and provide ZEB Implementation Planning guidance with additional support from CUTRIC. Extension of the program to fuel cell electric buses and local clean hydrogen fuelling solutions will also be considered in the future.