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Electrical sector | Prévost’s turn to receive millions from Quebec

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The coach manufacturer Prevost is added to the list of players funded by the Quebec state to take the electric shift. This subsidiary of the Volvo Group will receive nearly 23 million in grants and subsidized loans on Thursday to finance its ambitions estimated at tens of millions, was able to confirm The Press.

The details will be revealed at a press conference at the Prevost facilities located in Sainte-Claire, in Chaudière-Appalaches, in the presence of Premier François Legault, Minister of Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Benoit Charette, as well as the MNA for Bellechasse, Stéphanie Lachance. Company representatives will also be present.

“Volvo Group intends to carry out a project aimed at the design and manufacture of a new electric coach platform and an electric conversion kit for coaches”, indicate the decrees adopted by Quebec to give the green light to the financial support.

For several years, the Swedish multinational, which also owns the city bus manufacturer Nova Bus, was registered in the Registry of Lobbyists in order to seek financial assistance from the Quebec government for its electrification projects.

The assistance offered to Prevost has two components: a subsidized loan of approximately $15.2 million which will not have to be repaid in full if certain conditions – generally in terms of creating or maintaining jobs – are respected . This is accompanied by a subsidy of 7.5 million.

It was not possible to get an idea of ​​the total cost of the project. Prevost, the Legault government and the factory union did not want to offer more details before the official announcement.


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, THE PRESS

Prevost does not yet offer an electric version of its coaches.

One more product

After trucks, school buses, city buses, snowmobiles and personal watercraft, among others, motor coaches are the most recent version of Quebec’s electrification sector. Quebec has mourned the assembly of electric cars, but believes that the province can carve out a place for commercial vehicles.

Most of the projects benefit from a financial boost from the government. Companies such as Lion Electric (trucks and buses), Nova Bus (city buses) and Taiga (snowmobiles and personal watercraft) have obtained help from levels of government.

Unlike other manufacturers such as Proterra (United States), Van Hool (Belgium) and BYD (China), Prevost does not yet offer an electric coach. Since these vehicles generally cover longer distances than city buses, for example, the issue of battery life is critical for certain models.

“It’s more difficult, but I think there is potential to electrify these vehicles,” says Daniel Breton, President and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada and former Minister of the Environment in the PQ government of Pauline Marois.

There are starting to be electric coaches. Battery density increases. It’s coming. What was difficult 10 years ago is much easier now.

Daniel Breton, President and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada

The proof: equipped with nickel-manganese-cobalt batteries, a coach from the manufacturer Proterra was able to cover average journeys of around 450 kilometers between recharges. For its part, Van Hool has been delivering electrically powered coaches since the end of 2020.


PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Nova Bus electric models are already circulating in the cities of Montreal, Brampton and Vancouver.

Nova Bus also electrifies

In the urban bus niche, Nova Bus, which is part of the Volvo Group, received a $15 million grant from the Trudeau government last June to accelerate the electrification of its products. The company present in Saint-Eustache and Saint-François-du-Lac had also benefited from a subsidy of 7 million from Quebec in 2018.

Nova Bus electric models are already circulating in the cities of Montreal, Brampton and Vancouver. The first deliveries of its LFSE+ model are scheduled for this year.

For Prevost, the projects planned in Sainte-Claire are good news for the employees of the plant, who have not been spared since the start of the pandemic. The drop in demand caused by the confinements has brought down the ax.

There were around 700 employees on the production side before the health crisis. The workforce has shrunk to about 550 people, according to the Unifor union, which represents local employees. An increase in production expected by the fall should allow the return of workers who had been laid off.

Learn more

  • 2004
    Prevost and its Nova Bus division have belonged to Volvo for almost two decades.

    source: prevost

    1924
    In two years, the company founded by Eugène Prévost will celebrate its 100and candle.

    source: prevost



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