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resim 590

(Saint-Eustache) The contract won by Nova Bus to deliver up to 1,230 electric city buses to Quebec transport companies is not only a guarantee of stability for its Saint-Eustache plant. It’s also a unique calling card for the automaker, which hopes to continue racking up orders for its fully electric-powered LSFe model.

“It is sure that we are even more credible, launches the vice-president of sales and marketing of the company Mylène Tassy, ​​in an interview, Monday, after the official announcement of the agreement. It’s not 10, 15 or 20 buses, but 1229. That’s huge! Imagine what that will do for the other opportunities we covet in Canada and the United States. »

In the Saint-Eustache plant, in the northern suburbs of Montreal, the information revealed by La Presse on April 15 has been confirmed: a contract worth approximately 2.2 billion to deliver LFSe to nine transport companies – including Montreal, Laval, Longueuil and Quebec — as well as to Exo, which operates bus services in the metropolitan area. The order is financed to the tune of 1.1 billion by Quebec while 780 million come from Ottawa. Transport companies together lengthen nearly 235 million. The firm portion of the contract is for 339 LFSe and comes with 890 options.

Deliveries should begin around 2025 and be spread over two years.

At Nova Bus, which delivered its first electric models last year, the order, described as “historic” by the company, is timely. It helps to maintain more than 700 jobs in Saint-Eustache in addition to accelerating the shift to electricity inside the plant. Fuel-powered models will continue to be built, but electric versions will soon take up much more space on the assembly line.

“It’s a paradigm shift for us as well,” says Ms. Tassy. It’s a culmination of what we’ve been doing for years. »

The process to acquire this fleet of electric buses was set in motion about a year ago by the Legault government. Quebec requires a minimum of 25% Canadian content and final assembly of vehicles in Canada, in accordance with international trade agreements.

With factories in the northern suburbs of Montreal as well as in Saint-François-du-Lac, in the Centre-du-Québec region, Nova Bus already has a manufacturing footprint in the province. For Ms. Tassy, ​​it was not the element that made the builder stand out. In his opinion, it is the familiarity of certain transport companies — such as the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), the Réseau de transport de Longueuil and the Réseau de transport de la Capitale — with the LFS platform that has weighed in particular on the balance.

“It’s a platform they know,” says the manager. For operators of hybrid models, there are already subsystems in the buses that are known and exploited. »

For this contract, the STM had been designated as responsible for this group purchase. Nearly half of the electric city buses will also be delivered to the latter. Nova Bus claims that its electric buses contain more than 25% Canadian content, but does not go so far as to specify the threshold citing competitive reasons.

The acceleration of the LFSe production rate should not lead to major reorganizations on the assembly line in Saint-Eustache. Two stations have been adapted to meet the requirements of everything related to batteries, explains the manufacturer. The assembly sequence should essentially remain the same.

Given that the first deliveries are not for tomorrow, the billionaire order should not translate into hiring at Nova Bus. However, the portrait could change in a few years if other contracts are added and the production rate must accelerate, underlines the company.

Established: 1993

Subsidiary of Volvo Group since 1997

Headquarters: Saint-Eustache

Number of plants: 3 (Saint-Eustache, Saint-François-du-Lac, Plattsburgh (United States)

Workforce: Over 1,500 employees