Industry Today

Asked whether Nova Bus has to educate its customers on designing an efficient electric system, Tassy chuckles. “They actually know as much or more than we do in certain cases, we have to work together, partner with our cus- tomers,” she says. “We listen to the customer and collaborate with them to design a transport system that works for their needs. Customers trust Nova Bus because of our extensive expe- rience working with transit systems to provide innovative solutions that use the latest clean technologies and improve their operational efficiency.” Manufacturing Challenges Nova Bus employs some 1500 in three manu- facturing locations: Saint-Eustache and Saint- François-du-Lac in Quebec and Plattsburgh, New York. There are additional challenges to manufac- turing buses beyond adapting production for electric transportation systems. “Like a lot of manufacturers, COVID prompted a re-ex- amination of our manufacturing and supply chain processes,” Tassy notes. “We’ve made it a priority to identify suppliers that are closer to us with the raw materials we require and the best technologies so we can more cost-effec- tively meet demand. We are always looking to improve our products and processes to reduce pollution and waste in every aspect of our business.” An additional issue is recruiting and retaining skilled labor. “The situation in Canada is sim- ilar to that in the United States,” Tassy notes. “Manufacturing might still be viewed as repet- itive sometimes boring work, when in fact it is just the opposite. We make high technology buses that requires the same coding skills as any other kind of high-tech product or systems.” In response, Nova Bus is discussing with schools and colleges at job fairs to “get the word out” that manufacturing is a rewarding career path. “Electric vehicles are the future, there’s no question about that. What could be a more exciting place to work than one that is helping to shape the future of transportation?” That future, she adds, includes autonomous driving vehicles. “The technology exists today,” she says. “But what we have to make sure of is that the deployment of that technology is com- pletely safe for everyone. That’s going to take some time, but it is going to happen.” Before autonomous electric busses become an everyday reality, the next evolution on the horizon is extended battery range and fur- ther implementation of charging hubs. “Better batteries mean longer range, which means charging intervals are longer. Confidence that a vehicle can reliably get you where you want to go wherever you want to go is driving great- er acceptance of electric vehicles,” Tassy says. Wherever and however electric vehicles evolve, Nova Bus will continue to pull ahead. Pictured: Nova LFS buses being manufactured at the Plattsburgh, New York 140,00 square-foot plant. BACKGROUND Nova Bus is a Volvo Group company providing sustainable transit solutions, encompassing environmentally-friendly buses, high-capacity vehicles and integrated intelligent transportation solutions. INDUSTRY TODAY 11 10 INDUSTRY TODAY PROFILE | NOVA BUS NOVA BUS | PROFILE