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TTC Gearing Up For Electric and Hybrid Electric Bus Fleet






Last week the TTC received its first ever Hybrid Electric bus. This bus represents just the first of 55 to be received by the end of 2018, with another 200 arriving by the end of 2019. The TTC estimates that this vehicle will be in revenue service within the next two weeks, after it undergoes testing and commissioning.

This order is part of the TTC’s Green Bus Technology Plan, which was initially outlined in late 2017. The timelines for the goals have been modified slightly since the original plan, with the TTC aiming to achieve a 50% zero emission fleet by 2028-2032, and 100% zero emission by 2038-2042 (originally proposed as 2040). These targets will help the City of Toronto achieve the 80% reduction (from 1990 levels) in Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2050 that it outlined in its Transform TO Climate Change and Clean Air Action Plan. In accordance with this, the last Clean Diesel buses that the TTC will ever purchase will be delivered by the end of 2018.

The first of the TTC's 255 new Hybrid Electric busesThe first of the TTC’s 255 new Hybrid Electric buses, image courtesy of the TTC

Hybrid electric buses use an electric motor that is charged by a combination of an on-board diesel engine and regenerative braking. The diesel engine provides direct power for the battery, negating the need for an external charging station, while the regenerative braking transfers the kinetic energy of the brakes coming in contact with the wheels into electrical energy, which can be fed back into the battery. The end result is an approximately 25% reduction in fuel consumption as compared with a standard clean diesel bus. This electric motor also powers all of the bus’ component systems, including the doors, HVAC, and power steering.

The TTC has also placed an order for 60 completely electric buses (eBuses), which are scheduled to arrive throughout 2019. The TTC had originally planned to purchase only 30 eBuses, but in June 2018 decided to up that number to 60. The background report for that meeting can be found here. The total cost of this purchase is $120 million, which includes both the buses themselves and the associated infrastructure.

Timeline for delivery of eBuses and installation of related infrastructureTimeline for delivery of eBuses and installation of related infrastructure, image courtesy of the TTC

Rather than buying these fully electric 60 buses from one supplier as they did with the Hybrid Electric buses, the TTC has chosen to purchase from three separate manufacturers, in order to test their reliability, durability, and operability on Toronto’s streets (and in our climate). The three manufacturers are:

  • BYD, a Chinese company with a plant in California
  • NewFlyer, based in Winnipeg
  • Proterra, based in the US

Earlier this year Urban Toronto provided a very thorough overview of these companies and the technologies they offer. If you would like more details on the buses themselves, it is worth a read. The remainder of this article will focus primarily on the physical infrastructure required to facilitate these buses.

Unlike Hybrid Electric buses, these eBuses do not produce their own power on-board, and like traditional consumer Electric Vehicles (EVs), require the use of designated charging stations. Unfortunately, unlike the consumer EV market which, with the exception of Tesla, has chosen two nearly-universal port types (J1772 for Level 2 charging and CHAdeMO for Level 3), the eBus industry is much more manufacturer-specific.

BYD uses a charging system whereby the DC (direct current) from the charging station is converted to AC (alternating current) on-board the bus. This is in contrast to most other charging stations and vehicles, including those from NewFlyer and Proterra, where the DC-AC conversion is done at the charging station itself. The end result is that charging station infrastructure is tied very closely with vehicle type.

This lack of interoperability has caused the TTC to divide the 60 eBuses between three garages across the city, with 20 each at Mount Dennis (Etobicoke/York), Arrow (North York), and Eglinton (Scarborough). The distribution and infrastructure requirements are shown in the graphic below.

Home bus locations of the 60 eBuses the TTC has purchasedHome bus locations of the 60 eBuses the TTC has purchased, image courtesy of the TTC

One issue with having 20 buses at each location is that it would exceed facility peak energy limits. To solve this issue, the TTC will install an Energy Storage System (ESS), basically a big battery, at each garage location. These ESSs will charge slowly during the day, as to not overload the electrical grid. Then at night, the eBus charging stations will be able to draw from both the ESS and the grid in order to complete the charging cycles for the buses.

Electrical load profile without ESSs, which exceeds capacityElectrical load profile without ESSs, which exceeds capacity, image courtesy of the TTC

Electrical load profile with ESSs, which falls below capacityElectrical load profile with ESSs, which falls below capacity, image courtesy of the TTC

Even with these ESSs installed, the maximum charging limit at each garage is 20 vehicles. As a longer-term solution for once the eBus fleet expands, the TTC will work with Toronto Hydro to add substations at garage sites in order to increase electrical capacity, which is anticipated to negate this issue. This is part of a larger effort on the part of the TTC and Toronto Hydro to future-proof the TTC garages in order to handle the demands of an increasingly zero emission fleet. The total cost of the upgrades required to accommodate 300 zero emission vehicles is estimated to be $18 million, which includes the required substations and backup generators.

The under-construction McNicoll Garage is also being designed to be able to handle eBuses, and is being built with similar specs to what the existing garages are being retrofitted to.

Microgrid diagram showing the energy supply and uses for the TTC garagesMicrogrid diagram showing the energy supply and uses for the TTC garages, image courtesy of the TTC

Urban Toronto will keep you updated on the TTC’s Hybrid Electric and eBus programs. If you would like to share your thoughts on these programs, you can do so by visiting our forum thread, or by leaving a comment below.


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Real Estate

Couple from Toronto buys dream home in Mushaboom





MUSHABOOM – A couple who lived and raised a family in downtown Toronto developed a five-year plan in 2015 to purchase their dream home.

In September they moved into the home – located on Malagash Island in Mushaboom on Nova Scotia’s stunning Eastern Shore – that met and exceeded their best dreams for their retirement.

The Camerons, Bruce and Tanya, decided in 2019 they would explore the Maritimes to see what real estate was available to become their potential retirement home. In the spring of 2020, during a global pandemic, the real estate boom hit their city, and they were hearing the same for Nova Scotia. Our province was their first-choice for attaining their desire for an entirely different lifestyle – away from the busyness of the city.

“We had $300,000 to $350,000 as a home value in mind to buy. Our semi-detached located off Danforth in Toronto was priced at $850,000. We wanted to come out ahead, so we would be secure in retirement,” Tanya said.

Their century-old home had prime location near the subway and GO Transit Line for a great 13-minute commute downtown.

“We enjoyed our community,” explains Bruce “… we had great neighbours, young children around and street parties – lots of social activity.”

Bruce says, “Our agent suggested a starting quote of $899,000. We did not do any renovations and only some staging. Fifty couples went through and we received four significant offers. Six days later we sold – with zero conditions – and a price of over a million dollars. We just requested a closing of September 2020 to get the kids off to school – which we got.”

The couple got more than they had anticipated.

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Real Estate

Rabobank Announces Leadership Changes in U.S., Canadian Offices





NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Rabobank, the leading global food and agribusiness bank, has appointed two of its top executives, Tamira Treffers-Herrera and Robert Sinescu, to become Co-Heads of North American Client Coverage, positioning the Bank for future growth in the region.

Treffers-Herrera has also assumed the role of Vice Chairperson and Head of the Atlanta office, where she additionally oversees Rabobank Mexico, which is led by Eduardo Palacios. Sinescu is the Head of the Chicago office, and also oversees Rabobank Canada, led by Marc Drouin, who was recently appointed as Canada’s General Manager.

Treffers-Herrera and Sinescu report to David Bassett, Head of Wholesale Banking North America, the Bank’s corporate and investment banking business for the region based in New York.

“Both Tamira and Robert have a demonstrated history of strong leadership, operational excellence and passion for our clients,” Bassett said. “Their broad experience and deep sector expertise will be invaluable in delivering dynamic results for clients while accelerating our growth trajectory in North America.”

Each office will have an even greater focus on key Food & Agribusiness sectors and clients: The Chicago office will drive growth in sectors including Dairy, Farm Inputs and Grains & Oilseeds, which are also key areas of focus for the Canada office. The Atlanta office will focus heavily on sectors such as Animal Protein, Beverages, Sugar, and Supply Chains, which are important sectors in Mexico as well.

“Rabobank is fully committed to our clients throughout North America, and we believe our new sector-focused coverage will improve our ability to provide knowledge-based, value-added solutions that benefit our clients,” Bassett said.

Treffers-Herrera was most recently based in London as CEO of Rabobank’s European Region from 2016-2020, where she took the organization through Brexit. Prior to that, she worked in the Atlanta office from 2002-2016. During her tenure in Atlanta, Treffers-Herrera served as Global Sector Head – Consumer Food & Beverages, and prior to that she was a senior banker for a portfolio of large beverage and consumer foods clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Arts from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and has studied at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School.

Sinescu has been with Rabobank for over 21 years and was previously General Manager of Rabobank Canada, where he oversaw all operations, business development, commercial strategy and relationships with regulators. In addition, he continues to serve as CEO of Rabo Securities Canada Inc. Prior to Canada, he was a senior banker, Head of Corporate Banking, European Sector Head for Sugar, and a member of the Management Team for Rabobank France. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Bucharest School of Business, a Master of Business Administration & Management and a Master of Science in Banking and Corporate Finance from Sorbonne University in Paris, and has studied at Brown University.

Drouin has worked with Rabobank’s Canadian team for more than nine years and most recently served as a senior banker, Head of Rabobank Canada’s AgVendor Program and a member of Rabobank Canada’s Management Team. He brings extensive wholesale banking experience within the Dairy, G&O, CPG and Supply Chain sectors. Drouin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration in International Finance, Marketing and Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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Real Estate

Greybrook Realty Partners & Marlin Spring Brand Jointly Owned Asset Manager – Greyspring Apartments





TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring are pleased to announce the new branding of their jointly owned investment and asset management firm, Greyspring Apartments. With a portfolio of more than 2,000 units and CAD$375 million in assets under management, Greyspring Apartments is focused on the acquisition and repositioning of multi-family assets throughout Canada.

The new name and branding is an important step in Greyspring’s evolution as an independent operating business. Formed in 2018 by long standing-partners Marlin Spring and Greybrook Realty Partners, Greyspring Apartments was established with the goal of building a leading asset management firm with a robust portfolio of residential rental real estate assets in primary and secondary markets across Canada.

Greyspring’s talented team of real estate, asset management and finance professionals is overseen and guided by the Management Board, whose members include Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring; Elliot Kazarnovksy, CFO, Marlin Spring; Sasha Cucuz, CEO, Greybrook Securities Inc.; Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Chris Salapoutis, President & COO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Ashi Mathur, President, Marlin Spring; and Karl Brady. In addition to his role on the Management Board, Karl Brady leads Greyspring Apartments as its President. 

“We are pleased to announce the official name and branding of a business we formed with our partners at Marlin Spring a few years ago,” said Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners. “Greyspring has been diligently focused on the execution of strategic value-add programs across its portfolio that are improving the quality of housing for tenants and overall asset values. For Greybrook investors, expanding from our core business in real estate development to the value-add space through Greyspring, has allowed us to provide our clients with investment opportunities that diversify their real estate investment portfolios.”

“Marlin Spring and Greybrook have partnered on many residential real estate projects in recent years,” said Benjamin Bakst, CEO and Cofounder, Marlin Spring. “To a great extent, Greyspring illustrates our approach to partnerships. We believe in, and strive for, responsible growth through deepening our relationships with our trusted partners. With Greyspring, we’ve formalized our focus on providing better and more affordable living experiences for Canadians. This vision aligns with our mission to deliver exceptional real estate value to all our stakeholders with an uncompromising adherence to our core values.”

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