Winnipeg, MB – Today Frontiers North Adventures (Frontiers North) and Red River College (RRC) unveiled a new zero-emission vehicle technology initiative. The Electric Vehicle Tundra Buggy® (EV Tundra Buggy) is a collaborative, proof-of-concept project that oversaw the conversion of a Tundra Buggy in Frontier North’s touring fleet from diesel-powered to battery electric.
The EV Tundra Buggy was made possible through the province’s new Conservation and Climate Fund, and the Vehicle Technology Centre (VTCI) – a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing sector – and in-kind support and technical services from RRC’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC).
“We remain committed to making Manitoba the cleanest, greenest, most climate-resilient province in the country and projects like this can help make that happen.”
The project’s goal of reducing environmental impact and protecting Manitoba’s Sub-Arctic landscape will help to create a culture of sustainable tourism in one of the province’s top year-round destinations, Churchill, Manitoba.
“Our company’s purpose is all about stewardship, and positively contributing to our communities and environments,” said John Gunter, President and CEO of Frontiers North.
“By starting the conversion of our fleet with this first EV Tundra Buggy, Frontiers North is taking meaningful steps towards reducing our GHG emissions and creating new clean tech jobs. We are also excited to provide our touring guests a silent EV Tundra Buggy experience amongst wild polar bears and beneath the northern lights. For their support of this project we thank Manitoba, Vehicle Technology Centre Inc. and Red River College.”
The EV Tundra Buggy project builds upon research, testing, and demonstration VTEC has undertaken for the shift of transit buses to electric. The battery used in the buggy is repurposed (re-used) from an e-bus. By tapping into VTEC’s in-house technical expertise and using a repurposed e-bus battery, Frontiers North was able to confirm their vision of shifting from diesel to electric was feasible.
“The EV Tundra Buggy project is a quintessential made-in-Manitoba story – it has links to conservation, tourism, and environmental stewardship, highlighting the ability of industry partnerships to create positive impact in Manitoba, for Manitobans, through reducing environmental impact and benefitting our local economy,” said Fred Meier, President and CEO, Red River College.
“The opportunity to assist Frontiers North and project partners with testing and validating the Tundra Buggy conversion to battery electric, meant leveraging the expertise of our VTEC researchers, engineers and technicians. While working on an applied research project, it’s as much as an opportunity for us to help provide knowledge and training to our industry partners, as it’s an opportunity for our researchers and students to learn and grow our in-house capabilities to further support innovation in Manitoba.”
Frontiers North, one of Canada’s top three sustainable tourism operators, plans to move forward with their vision of shifting their Tundra Buggy fleet to electric vehicles, furthering their commitment to sustainability within the province.
In addition to the primary goal of reducing environmental impact, another key objective of the conversion to electric, is to reduce sound pollution. While polar bears are easily habituated to the presence and sounds of the diesel-powered buggies, they generate sound that can carry far distances over the otherwise quiet tundra.
Moreover, the EV Tundra Buggy project aligns with Red River College’s commitment to supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, as a member of the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2).
Frontiers North Adventures hosts guests primarily in Churchill, Manitoba to dine beneath the northern lights, sing alongside beluga whales and lock eyes with wild polar bears. A certified B Corporation® and leader in sustainable travel since 1987, they are stewards of the resources made available to them and passionately share their values with their guests. They are the official Conservation Journey® and Tundra Buggy® people. Learn more at frontiersnorth.com
Red River College’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Center (VTEC) drives innovation through supporting Manitoba’s heavy vehicle industry sector, helping the province grow as a major transportation hub. Home to two facilities unique to Western Canada: MotiveLab™ and the Vehicle Technology & Research Centre (VTRC), VTEC provides applied research, technical, and training services. VTEC is a leader in sustainable vehicle technologies, focusing on the electrification of vehicles and alternative fuel sources. Learn more at rrc.ca/vtec