Picture: LA PRESSE
Martin Larose joined the Volvo Group as a senior consultant before accepting a new role of Vice President, Program Management in April 2015. He was nominated as Vice President General Manager of Nova Bus in August 2017 and became President of Nova Bus in October 2021.
We had the great opportunity to chat with Martin ahead of MOVE America to talk about what we are expecting to hear from him in Texas, what he thinks the next big industry developments will be and much more!
Q: Tell us a bit about Novabus
A: Novabus is a public transit bus builder, our market is Canada and the United States, so we provide buses for all kinds of sizes of cities across North America, small, medium and large. Our public transit bus serves many thousands and millions of citizens on a daily basis. Our key customers across North America would be New York City, for example, Motreal here in Canada which is our home base, Vancouver out West and San Fransisco even on the west coast. So, we have a broad base of customers and we have been serving them now for more than 20 years. For the past 10 years we’ve been under the ownership of Volvo group.
Q: We are seeing fleets of Novabuses being bought everywhere. How important is it to electrify fleets across the country?
A: Well, we think it’s, it’s obviously quite important. Number one and foremost for the environment. So obviously our fully electric buses do not have any kind of direct pollution. We don’t have an internal combustion engine on most of these buses because they are fully electric, including the heating and ventilating in many cases. So obviously the environmental footprint is much less. Maintaining an electric bus with an electric motor and batteries is much simpler than maintaining a big diesel engine with all its moving parts. So, the maintenance costs go drastically down, which is all in all very positive over the whole life cycle of the product. So, we’re very proud to be in this market. And this is something that we’re pushing more and more for cities to be equipped with.
Q: How impactful is the uptake of electric fleets in and North America?
A: Here in north America, I would say that there is really good support from different levels of the government. Now the governments on both the Canadian and the U.S. side have unblocked large amounts of money to push the cities, and even force the cities, I would say, to make the move and make the switch to electric buses. And this is very positive. So, there’s large sums of money that are being invested in all cities, backed by the government again, to push and go and make the switch, which is actually to be honest, going faster than we had thought.
Q: What are the next steps for mobility in the next 12-18 months?
A: I would say in the next 12 to 18 months right now, in terms of electrifying fleets, it’s all about execution with a lot of this available money, that I mentioned earlier, a lot of the available financing and funds from the different levels of government… It’s interesting to see that in North America, we have gone now from the phase of small tests with very small fleets, to buying larger amounts of buses in order to be really now able to replace existing diesel or hybrid or natural gas buses by the full electric buses. So, in the next 12 to 18 months, its really about getting things done, accepting buses in larger amounts and getting the whole charging infrastructure.
Q: Are you excited for MOVE America? What are we going to hear from you there?
A: I’m excited to see all the different players that are going to be present, to interact with different business leaders, exchange notes and see how things are going basically around the world. I think it’s a super opportunity to be able to do that. To also do some networking, compare notes, find out about new technologies. It’s all about meeting great people, and especially now at the, what we hope is the end of this pandemic, be able to interact with people face to face, shake hands, which is quite different than doing the teleworking aspect that we’ve been doing for so many years, too many years now. So, really looking to the networking, the human interaction and getting some great information and sharing some of our knowledge as well.
Martin will be appearing on a panel discussing how can we accelerate the transition to zero emission fleets at MOVE America this September, along side some of the most innovative names within the industry.
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