How to begin your decarbonization journey

CUTRIC follows 10 basic steps to help organizations reach their decarbonization and climate action plan goals.

1. Strategic Focus

This initial step helps the transit agency to understand the zero-emission bus landscape, identify their goals, and set their future expectations.

  • Vision setting helps recognizing the community needs to improve air quality and enhance public transit system operations 
  • Preliminary analysis can help transit agencies strategically focus on the technologies (BEB, FCEB, NGB powered by RNG) that are more suited to their needs and operational requirement 
  • A well developed understanding of the technology involved and the advantages and disadvantages that each option presents is critical during the planning stage 

2. Feasibility Analysis

  • Predictive performance modelling helps simulate the performance of various technologies on the transit agency system considering revenue and non-revenue operations 
  • A robust feasibility analysis enables the agency to assess its fleet’s suitability and readiness to electrify, the rate of success that various technologies and vehicle configurations will have for their fleet
  • Modelling the entire transit system enables the transit agency to develop a more comprehensive knowledge of the required equipment and infrastructure along with the possibility of system growth
  • Full-fleet or partial, transit modelling studies can be organized into different datasets; vehicle-oriented dataset, route-oriented datasets

3. Cost Analysis

In the light of bus technology selected through feasibility analysis, a comprehensive and detailed cost analysis is performed and includes both capital and operational costs over the lifetime of the ZEBs. This includes the following: 

  • The costs of the vehicles with facility modification and with charging/refuelling infrastructure and their installations
  • The energy/fuel cost, maintenance costs, refurbishment/replacement costs, and staff training costs 
  • The total cost of ownership, ROI, ROA for the combination of vehicles and charging/refuelling infrastructure would be a key parameter to help justify the large capital investments
  • Real-estate considerations  
Different operational configurations are assessed in the calculations of operational cost savings of ZEBs:
  • Different vehicle sizes, notably 40ft and 60ft
  • Weather impact with split of electricity/fuel bills for summer and winter
  • Depot charging for BEBs considering smart-charging programs
  • Comparison of ZEBs with both conventional and diesel-electric hybrid vehicles
  • Different scenarios for on-route charging (e.g., 5 minutes per round trip and 3 minutes per single trip or others)
  • Impact of the installation of diesel heaters on electric vehicles

4. Benefit Analysis

This analysis will help the transit agency understand the merits profile in terms of economic, environmental, and social aspects while adopting a ZEB technology
  • Impact on the emissions, as the carbon intensity factors for electricity generation varies largely among provinces
  • Complying with governmental policy changes and mandates that could bring social and political support to further expand the project
  • Indirect environmental benefits include air quality improvements and noise reductions benefitting the community in public health savings  

5. Risk Analysis

This analysis includes risk and contingency planning at various levels of ZEB implementation planning which aims to minimize potential risks. The following should be considered:

  • Expected vehicle performance 
  • Fuel redundancy considerations as fuel availability is a concern among transit agencies
  • Contingency plans for different aspects such as growth projection 
  • Financial risk analysis that considers the return on investment 
  • Technological evolution 

6. Needs Analysis

  • Evaluation of existing assets and gaps conducted at various levels including the electrical system and transit facility, transit schedules, and zero-emission bus implementation
  • Evaluation of operational needs and constraints
  • Enhancement of electrification confidence by ameliorating fears associated with the novel and major overhaul associated with the deployment of ZEBs
  • Assessment of governmental mandates and community demand

    The needs analysis enables CUTRIC to advice transit agencies on the following: 

  • Number of vehicle and spare ratios to replace conventional fleets
  • Number of required charging/refueling stations for full fleet electrification
  • Schedule adjustments necessary to accommodate charging/refuelling
  • Potential upgrades in the electrical grid infrastructure and associated cost
  • Potential increase in labor to accommodate fleet electrification
  • Civil and electrical engineering work necessary to retrofit garages

7. Procurement

  • Identify the existing individual or joint procurement opportunities along with potential funding and financing options for the zero-emission bus rollout plan
  • Support transit agencies to collect valuable knowledge and experiential lessons from the ZEB deployment
  • Support transit agencies to consider planning to perform data analysis of the empirical data emerging from it to assess the realistic operation of the ZEBs 

8. Empirical Data Analysis

  • Collect actual zero-emission bus operational data and compare the feasibility analysis outcomes with real field data
  • Collect lessons learned and document the relative differences observed in the performances the implemented ZEBs 
  • Extrapolate model outcomes and to adjust the predictions, obtaining more accurate indicators for the remainder of the service 
The empirical analysis enables CUTRIC to report on important KPIs such as:  
  • Vehicle energy/fuel efficiency
  • Correlate performance with weather conditions
  • Vehicle charging times
  • Charging power levels
  • Regenerative breaking
  • Breakdown of charging in terms of in-depot and on-route
  • Ridership analysis
  • Driver behavior analysis
  • Energy efficiency of charging equipment
  • Operational challenges, downtime and mean distance between failures

9. Finishing point

  • Planning for technological advancements in the fleet as the industry is transforming at a fast pace
  • Copy, paste and repeat

Consultation Sessions:

CUTRIC specializes in collecting and analysing data gathered during consultation sessions dedicated to gaining industry and stakeholder insights into low-carbon smart mobility. Focus group consultation contracts that CUTRIC has completed recently include Transport Canada-funded rail innovation consultation sessions for generating Top 10 Rail Innovation Projects across Canada; a Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Electric Fleet Best Practices consultation session focusing on transit electrification opportunities, challenges and solutions; and Toronto Region Board of Trade SWOT & PESTEL consultation sessions focusing on strategic opportunities and challenges associated with autonomous and connected vehicles in Toronto.

CUTRIC welcomes new consultation contracts. 

Please contact our Project Manager with your requests:
Parvathy Pillai: Project Manager: ZEB Simulation & Commercialization ([email protected])