TTC eBus Contract Goes to New Flyer and Nova Bus

With the federal announcement of funding for the TTC’s eBus project, the bid award has been posted on the MERX website as of May 2, 2023.

The bid closed on April 18, 2022, but was not awarded until late January 2023, likely subject to receipt of funding.

The dollar value of the awards are $343.5 million to New Flyer and $220.2 million to Nova Bus. Vehicle quantities are not included in the MERX information, and I await a press release from the TTC with more details.

The total of $563.7 million is split roughly 60/40 between the two builders. This implies that neither of them scored in the highest possible echelon on product evaluation. This would have led to a much higher proportion going to one of two, or even to a single bidder, based on the scoring system in the RFP.

By implication, BYD, the only other bidder, fell even lower in the scoring. This is not surprising considering the quality and reliability problems the TTC has encountered with their vehicles.

I will update this article with additional information as I receive it.

11 thoughts on “TTC eBus Contract Goes to New Flyer and Nova Bus

  1. Would the TTC bother keeping the BYD buses they have or would they try to sell them?

    Steve: Considering that only three of them were still active in April, I doubt they have much resale value, and certainly would not be retained for service.


  2. New Flyer has come a long way since those first twenty three diesel buses in the 7500 series were shipped. Boy did they have problems. GMC sued (Flixible) for copyright infringement on design. The frame of the buses weren’t reinforced at first for double exit doors, causing the frame to sag even in transit to Toronto. And to top it off, some of the intake valves for diesel fuel shifted, a problem that happened in subsequent orders as well. Then there was the fact that the steering wheel could only go three and a half turns. Bus drivers told me they had to position the bus just right in order to make the awkward angle left turn from east Lawrence to north Weston Rd. Fun times.


  3. When does the old fleet [have] to be removed from the streets?

    Steve: Which “old fleet” are you referring to? Diesels? Diesel hybrids?


  4. It’s good that 2 Canadian companies got the contract for the electric buses. New Flyer XE-40 buses are far superior to the BYD ones.

    Only question is about long term service.


  5. There is a good article here about problems with electric buses in the US.

    There are many articles about the problems with BYD built ebuses with Albuquerque returning all of theirs. It seems BYD spent more time and money on promoting their product instead of designing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The article didn’t mention Proterra buses. Did Proterra fall out early from the competition with New Flyer and BYD? I think a problem with Proterra was its longer bus length.

    How did Nova get an eBus order without a trial in Toronto?

    Steve: Proterra did not bid. I think that they saw the writing on the wall.

    As for the trials, the TTC’s status report went to great lengths to say that this was only a “lessons learned” exercise. At the time I felt it read as if they were setting the stage for an award to BYD who would somehow magically produce better buses. I suspect Nova Bus got the order on the strength of existing work for the TTC and the existence of a battery bus in their product lineup. However the lower dollar value of their award indicates that they ranked second and somewhat below New Flyer.


  7. The bid was awarded like in Jan? Why there’s no announcement at that time, thought the board meeting had once again failed to get a decision then.

    Steve: The decision was delegated to the CEO because of the election, but until there was funding there was no point. Now mysteriously it is posted on MERX but there is still no press release from the TTC. Maybe they are waiting to make a splash at the Board meeting next week.


  8. So what’s the ownership status with the current eBuses? We’re they on lease or did TTC buy them for this study? And now that the trial is over – or I assume it’s over, what’s going to happen with them going forward. To me it would make sense to keep the Flyers until the new ones are delivered, that way you don’t have to retrain as many operators next year or whenever the new buses are delivered.

    TTC could get rid of the BYD and Proterra buses now, unless there’s more studying that need to take place. They could have gotten rid of them back in January when Flyer and Nova won the award.

    Steve: TTC owns the buses. They were bought with funding from more than one government and so disposing of them will probably be “complicated” if they get anything more than scrap value.


  9. Proterra might end up running out of cash and going bankrupt in the next year or two, so if the TTC contract was ladled up with all sorts of required financial guarantees, then Proterra might not have had the capacity to bid.

    I also think the contract was rigged to ensure New Flyer and Novabus would win. Ottawa and other cities are piggybacking off the TTC’s order, so it was important that the usual companies win. I think the bid requirements seemed to be filled with unusual Canadian-specific charging requirements and battery requirements that favour non-LFP battery chemistries and heavier old-style buses (the new trend is to build lighter buses that require smaller batteries instead of heavy buses with bigger battery capacities that need more exotic and costly battery technology).


  10. I have to admit I did find it strange that the TTC only published its plan to procure e-buses in April 2022, and then nothing was heard about it since, yet New Flyer was proclaiming in press releases on April 18, 2022 that it had already won the TTC business even though it seemed like it was still being studied by Council. For several months, I kept thinking that New Flyer must be referring to the older contract or something else. Well, at least that’s cleared up now. Still, a one year delay is sort of weird because battery prices have dropped a lot in that last year, but hopefully it all works out.

    Steve: If you actually read the April 2022 press release, you will see that it is a contract award for hybrid buses, not for battery buses. This was a separate tender.


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