Ontario will spend $4.7 billion over the next two years to upgrade its aging air-conning equipment in its aging fleet of about 5.5 million vehicles, and to install new cooling equipment and a new radiator to address concerns that it was not working as intended.
The $3.4-billion project, part of a larger effort to improve the efficiency of Ontario’s air-condensing equipment, will be overseen by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities.
The upgrades will be financed with $1.1 billion in provincial funding and a further $1 billion from the federal government.
The province will also pay a total of $3 million to the Ontario Air Products Association for the right to use its technology, and the Ministry is expected to award another $500,000 to the association for the rights to the technology.
“We’re investing to ensure we can keep our air- condensing equipment operating in a safe and reliable manner for as long as we need to,” Minister of Infrastructure Todd Stone said.
“The upgrades will ensure we get the air- conditioning needed for Ontario’s aging fleet, as well as to make sure we are in compliance with the rules.”
The ministry is also investing $2 million to install a cooling system in the passenger side of vehicles to help maintain a cool temperature during high-heat conditions.
A $2.6-million cooling system is also being installed to help keep vehicles in optimal temperature ranges for driving in the summer.
The ministry said it expects to spend up to $1 million on upgrades to other components in the future, including refrigeration, air conditioning, electrical equipment and refrigeration systems.
The Ontario Air Product Association has said it is not expecting to have to buy new equipment because of the upgrade.
The cooling system upgrades are expected to be completed in 2021 and 2021-22, the ministry said.
The upgrade will also include the installation of cooling systems for vehicles equipped with refrigeration units, which are meant to keep refrigerated vehicles cool during hot conditions.
“In light of the ongoing cooling and cooling system issues, we anticipate the project to be deferred for the next several years,” Stone said in a statement.
“As the project is expected be completed within the next couple of years, we will provide updates as warranted.”
The upgrade was approved by the government last year, and it is expected that it will be completed by the end of 2019.