KITCHENER -- Grand River Transit could soon be ditching its diesel buses for electric or hybrid models.

Council members for the Region of Waterloo will have the final say on the proposal, but on Tuesday morning it received approval from the committee of the whole.

The pilot project would mean Grand River Transit would no longer buy diesel-powered buses and instead purchase 11 electric and up to 59 hybrid vehicles between 2022 and 2023.

The goal of transitioning the fleet is to reduce greenhouse emissions. A report, presented at Tuesday’s meeting, shows that diesel buses pollute ten times more than electric vehicles.

It also says that while battery-operated buses are more expensive, in the long run, the region will save money.

“Over the whole period, including the charging systems, adjustments needed for software and evaluations, and increased costs due to the hybrid technology and electric vehicles, you're looking at $23 million dollars over the current ten-year capital process we have,” says Peter Zinck, the Director of Transit Services for the Region of Waterloo.

The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium, or CUTRIC, is also on board.

“We can see that consistently across the board, diesel is more expensive to operate than electric buses,” says Josipe Pentrunic, the President and CEO of CUTRIC. “The electric buses that we modelled out here, although they are by two different manufacturers, they are very close to each other in terms of their cost per month.”

If the pilot project is approved by regional council, it will continue for a total of four years.