KITCHENER -- A big shift is coming to Grand River Transit after Waterloo Region council voted to convert the bus fleet to electric in a matter of years.

Starting next year, the region will no longer buy any buses powered only by diesel and will slowly transition to a fully electric fleet.

The purchase will be in 2022, when the region plans to buy six electric buses.

Starting in 2024, the region hopes to be done with diesel and buying only electric.

In the meantime, the region will buy midsize, lower emissions buses, instead of conventional diesel powered buses.

In approving the plan on Wednesday, council added an amendment to speed up the project if the technology and funding will allow it.

"If technology changes and there are different kind of charging facilities or technology that could be implemented earlier, or the government came along with a different program supporting electric vehicles we would want to take advantage of that," says regional councilor Tom Galloway.

The new fleet of electric buses will be housed in the new transit facility currently under construction at Northfield Drive.

That is anticipated to be finished in 2022, just in time for the first of the electric fleet.