North America’s First Electric School Bus Unveiled In Palo Alto

The Canadian manufacturer of the eLion, the first Type C electric school bus made in North America, plans to locate a new manufacturing facility in California.

The eLion electric school bus, the first Type C electric school bus manufactured in North America, was recently unveiled in Palo Alto, CA. The eLion was introduced by David Heurtel, the Québec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, and Tyson Eckerle, ‎Deputy Director of Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Infrastructure at the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). The eLion uses a technology developed and funded in part by proceeds from the Québec cap-and-trade program which is linked with the California program.

electric school bus
Photo: Lion Bus

“I applaud the leadership of Lion bus, which has literally redefined school bus standards with its eLion and has quickly emerged as a North American leader in the field,” said Minsiter Heurtel “Transportation electrification is among the promising solutions for fighting climate change and modernizing Québec’s economy. This is why our government is proud to allocate income from the carbon market, through Québec’s Green Fund, to support innovative companies like Lion Bus that allow us to take yet another step toward a modern, sustainable and low-carbon economy for our own well-being and the well-being of our children.”

With help from GO-Biz, Lion Bus plans to locate a new manufacturing facility in California. The state will help Lion find a location for the new plant as the company ramps up production.

“GO-Biz is proud to partner with Lion Bus to help bring a new electric bus manufacturing facility to California and help meet Governor Brown’s goal of putting 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2025,” said deputy director Eckerle. “The eLion Type C electric school bus demonstrates that we can dramatically improve the health of our children by deploying zero emission vehicles where it matters most, at home and at our schools.”

A Green Partnership

The eLion provides an example of how the two regions’ leadership and collaboration on climate change is driving economic growth through clean tech investment and innovation. Since the launch of their cap-and-trade programs in 2013, Québec and California have provided more than $5.5 billion for initiatives and technologies financed through Québec’s Green Fund and California’s Greenhouse Gas Fund. Many of the investments target innovations in transportation, since this sector is the largest single contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in both California and Québec.

The eLion was developed by Québec-based Lion Bus and is emblematic of the region’s fast growing electric vehicle industry. Zero emission school buses are attracting strong interest from school districts because they make the planet cleaner and provide healthier air for children, whose developing lungs are especially vulnerable to vehicle emissions. Zero-emission buses also benefit from incentive purchase funding made possible by Québec and California’s cap-and-trade programs, which aims to help bring technologies like the eLion to communities most in need of pollution relief.

California and Québec have linked their respective cap-and-trade programs to create the only carbon market in the world that is designed, developed and operated by sub-national governments from different countries. With the province of Ontario expected to join in 2018, the market will soon represent a population of 62 million and a GDP of more than $3.7 trillion. 

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