York in first with bus converted to electric power

York city council has unveiled a tour bus converted to run on electric power after gaining funding support from the DfT.

One of York’s City Sightseeing buses has become the first double-decker bus in the world to get an electric makeover, following a successful bid for funding by City of York Council.

The City Sightseeing bus, operated by Transdev, starts operations this month and is believed to be the first double decker to be converted from diesel to pure electric with lithium ion batteries. It is expected to travel all day without needing to charge.

The converted bus will be used along with a fleet of new electric buses in the city.

Yorkwas awarded £75,433 in October 2013 to convert the 15-year old City Sightseeing bus to fully electric drive, after successfully bidding for the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Clean Bus Technology Fund. The bus will travel all day without needing to charge.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer said: “This is the first electric double decker bus conversion in the world. This sightseeing bus will not only showcase York’s many attractions, but also the huge benefits that low carbon vehicles can bring to our cities.”

The launch of the tour bus converted to run from electricity

Pictured at the launch of the converted bus: (l-r) Cllr James Alexander, Leader of City of York Council; Lady Jane Lady Jane Gibson, chairman of Visit York; and Marcus Jenkins, managing director of Magtec

The Baroness added: “The UK is leading the electric charge when it comes to plug-in transport. I am delighted to see York sharing our vision, fully supporting an industry which is also a driver for economic growth, while bringing important environmental benefits such as an improved air quality”.

The electric retrofitted bus will eliminate the emission of 33 tons of CO2 and more than 535kg of poisonous NOx per year and will also reduce operating costs of the vehicle by more than £20k per year, according to the City of York.

Cllr David Levene, the council’s cabinet member for transport said that York was “again leading the way in improving air quality and bus travel”.

He said: “We’re the first city in the world to launch the new electric double decker City Sightseeing bus as a result of being the first city in the UK to adopt a Low Emission Strategy.

“This will all feed into our draft Air Quality Action plan which is set to go out consultation soon, which will provide residents and tourists with a better use of transport and improved air quality, which is an important issue in York.”

Richard Jackson at bus operator Transdev, said the company was delighted to be the firstoperator in the UK to benefit from the electric makeover!”

The transformed bus, manufactured by Sheffield based Magtec, will join fifteen new electric buses which will provide passenger journeys on the streets of York from September, following a successfully bid to the DfT for £1,388k in 2013, made available through the Green Bus Fund from DfT.

Marcus Jenkins of Magtec, said: “Magtec’s ability to retrofit this type of bus with our electric drive train systems opens up a world of opportunity for similar local authorities and operators to upgrade their existing vehicle fleets. This is the first retrofit system for buses that provide the benefits of zero emission in operation that also makes commercial sense for the vehicle operator.”

This also forms part of City of York Council’s Low Emission Strategy (the first strategy to be adopted in the UK in 2012) which aims to enable the uptake of low emission vehicles and reduce emissions of air quality pollutants and greenhouse gases.


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