Electrification of the surface system


Did you know that, in Quebec, transportation accounts for 43% of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)?

The City of Montréal and the Quebec government have therefore decided to reduce transport GHG emissions by 30% and 25% respectively by 2020. And the STM can play an active role in achieving that goal. How?

  • By encouraging more people to use public transit
  • By moving toward electrification

Moving towards a fully electric transit system

The Quebec government's Electric vehicles 2011-2020 action plan aims for 95% of public transit passenger trips to be on electric-powered vehicles by 2030.

By 2025, all new buses will be electric-powered to achieve zero GHG emissions by 2040.

Montréal's métro system, which delivers 50% of all public transit passenger trips in Quebec, has been 100% electric since it opened in 1966.

The hybrid bus

The biodiesel-electric hybrid bus, with an electric motor powered by a diesel generator, is now standard for all public transit systems in Quebec. This first important step will lead to the gradual electrification of the entire surface system.

Texte important

For Montréal, average of 30% savings in fuel and an equivalent reduction in GHG

Much less noisy

A smoother ride

In anticipation of the arrival of some 200 hybrid buses between 2014 and 2016, a model of this low-floor bus is being tested on a few STM lines to assess its reliability and energy efficiency. It is easily recognizable by its outside markings highlighting the "green" benefits of its hybrid technology. In addition, the STM already has eight hybrid buses acquired in 2008 as part of a pilot project to test the performance of this type of bus.

An articulated hybrid bus was also tested last year in preparation for its purchase in the coming years.

Electric buses

  • Dynamic recharging
  • Fast-charging electric buses

After the hybrid bus, the STM plans to make 100% electric buses its standard within the next few years .

Texte important

Zero GHG emissions

Very quiet

Green (non-polluting) air conditioning

In the meantime, the first 12-metre bus, lent to us by the Chinese firm BYD, will be tested in Montréal in early 2014 to:

  • Assess its overall performance, particularly under winter conditions
  • Test its functioning

Dynamic recharging

The first line of electric buses using dynamic recharging technology, accessible to people with reduced mobility, could be operational in Montréal by 2017. These air conditioned vehicles will be propelled by 100% electric motors. Our objective: to create a network of some 100 vehicles on four of the most heavily travelled routes in the surface system.

Amazingly silent given its size, the 18-metre electric articulated bus can carry up to 150 passengers. It will be powered by overhead lines similar to those used by trolleybuses and thus enjoy almost unlimited autonomy. Several sections of the route will nevertheless be wireless and thus fully autonomous thanks to batteries that will recharge with no loss of time once the electric bus is connected.

Texte important

Did you know:

Trolleybuses have been used for decades. They are still being used in some cities, such as Vancouver.

In the 1950s, Montréal had an impressive trolleybus system.

The largest trolleybus system in the world is found in Moscow, where the weather is similar to ours.

Modern trolleybus systems are still being developed, especially in Europe.

Fast-charging electric buses

According to STM experts, the future of the electric bus includes powerful, fast-charging batteries that will allow them to run more independently. In 2016, the STM will test this new system- known as "flash charging" - which is now in the research and development stage. Implementing this project in Montréal will allow us to test this new technology under local conditions.


Texte important

The STM and Nova Bus, Volvo Group’s North American division, have entered into an agreement to carry out an electrification project for public transit: City Mobility. Thus, Montréal will become part of the City Mobility Program.

Quick-charging electric buses to undergo testing soon

The City Mobility project will see STM operate three pre-production, fully electric Nova Bus LFS buses for out-of-service testing by late 2015. In-service testing with passengers should begin in early 2016, allowing the STM to assess the new vehicle under actual operating conditions.

The autonomy of these buses will be increased thanks to a conductive quick-charge system, with a charging station at each end of a bus line. The station lowers itself to make direct contact with the bus for the purpose of recharging.

This project will serve to demonstrate the quick-charging system and assess the performance of the electric buses, in terms of reliability and energy-efficiency, in our weather conditions.



  • Compared to cars, which are parked 95% of the time, buses are in service more than 80% of the time. Given the heavy weight of buses, meeting the challenge of electrification will rely on industry's ability to develop highly efficient and reliable technologies. According to our experts, a wireless 100% electric bus that meets our needs and performance standards will not be available before 2025 at the earliest.
  • For the STM, everything is in place to meet our electrification objectives. We can count on the current government of Quebec, for which this project is a priority, on Hydro-Québec, which has agreed to finance the necessary electric infrastructure, and on Quebec industry, which is also on board.

Electrification - even more benefits

  • Development of Quebec companies
  • Reduced dependence on oil
  • Use of clean (unpolluting) energy produced in Quebec

The plan to electrify Montréal's bus system is a big step in the right direction.

Check back often to follow the progress of this vast project.

Top of page