Vancouver Goes Electric: An Energetic Step Toward a Sustainable Future

Photo: Destination Vancouver / Albert Normandin

Vancouver, surrounded by mountains and water, is a city where nature influences our way of life, and we embrace it wholeheartedly. Vancouver is a recognized leader in green building and sustainable planning and was rated second in the US and Canada in the Green City Index. Part of what makes our city green is our commitment to make sustainability a priority for our residents and visitors by offering electric modes of transportation to explore the city.

Photo: Destination Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic

In recent buzz around town, Traxx Coachlines, in partnership with Motor Coach Industries of Winnipeg, made history on August 30, 2021, as they successfully drove a new fully electric, zero-emission, MCI J4500 Charge from Kamloops to Delta. This was the longest route with the highest climb, driven and recorded by an electric motor coach in Canada and was done within a single charge. Data from the trip have been submitted to the Guinness World Record team for verification, a record they expect to set as no other zero-emission luxury coach has attempted this. However, the company is still in its early stages of onboarding additional electric-battery vehicles and does not have a timeline for the rollout of a complete fleet due to a lack of charging stations for buses in strategic areas in and around Vancouver.

Photo: Jay Munoz of Caption Photography Media

Photo: Jay Munoz of Caption Photography Media

Infrastructure limitations within and between cities are currently one of the challenges for companies hoping to go fully electric with their motor fleet. And while British Columbia has committed (and is on track) to completing its public electric vehicle charging network by 2040, the demand is quickly catching up as the community and businesses are eager to go electric. As with any changes made in this capacity, it will require time and strategic planning involving all levels of government in a step toward a more eco-conscious future.

In the meantime, Vancouver has a wide range of eco-friendly initiatives such as designated bike lanes and reliable transit systems, to name a few. The city prides itself on being a leader in the electric transportation space, providing locals and visitors with a variety of electric alternatives (already in place and initiatives in the pipeline) for those who wish to explore the city in style and with good conscience.

Electrifying Ways to Explore the City

Gray Line West Coast Sightseeing Tours had set out to acquire over 80 zero-emission, electric buses in 2017 and had planned to replace its entire fleet within 5 years. Currently, they hold one of the largest fleets of electric-battery buses in Canada and they also provide the largest selection of sightseeing tours around town! You’ll be sure to find a tour that matches your exploration style.

Photo: Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing

Exploring Vancouver by bike is amazing – with generous bike paths and relaxing biking culture, it’s no wonder you always see a sea of cyclists year-round. If you want to join in on the fun, rent an e-bike from Cycle City and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the city guaranteeing a full day of easy adventure, no matter the incline or distance. Or, if food is your main motivator, Vancouver E-Bike Adventures offers wine and cheese or a picnic lunch to accompany each of their 3 unique e-bike tours of the city. If rental flexibility is the main priority, consider renting your e-bike from EzeeRiders as they are the only shop in town to offer pro-rated prices down to the minute after an hour of riding. And for those who plan on exploring North Vancouver and West Vancouver, San Francisco-based Lime, an electric bike-share program, just rolled out its program on the North Shore this summer, perfect for giving a boost up the hilly North Shore terrain.

Cycle City Shop electric bikes / Photo:

If you’re curious to explore Vancouver from another perspective, perhaps one high above the ground, keep your eyes peeled for the rollout of Harbour Air’s ePlanes. Harbour Air’s Seaplanes are going electric to build the world’s first all-electric commercial airline taking its fleet of 40+ seaplanes from carbon-neutral to carbon zero! Harbour’s ePlane initiative is currently undergoing thorough testing and upgrades to ensure the best experience and ultimate safety for future riders.

Harbour Air ePlane / Photo: Harbour Air

As well, TransLink announced earlier this year that the company will be expanding its electric bus fleet by bringing on 15 more battery-electric buses, increasing the fleet total from 4 to 19. TransLink hopes to replace all retiring conventional diesel buses with battery-electric buses and transition into a fleet operating entirely on renewable energy by 2050.

In addition, and if you haven’t already heard, Vancouver is set to host the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race next year. The festival will be featuring a unique 3-day festival during the July long weekend (June 30th to July 2nd, 2022) in the iconic False Creek Area of downtown.

The future for electric transportation is bright in Vancouver as we take another step forward to building a more sustainable and livable future for generations to come.


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