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Council leader James Alexander gets ready to cut the ribbon of the trailblazing bus
It doesn’t rumble or roar. It doesn’t cough out diesel fumes. It doesn’t shake passengers until their teeth rattle.

But yes, this is a York tourist bus.

Facts and figures

15 years – the age of the converted bus
£75,433 – the cost of converting the bus to electric
£20,000 – the reduction in yearly operating costs
33 tons – the amount of CO2 emissions eliminated by using the electric bus
535 kg – the amount of nitrous oxide emissions eliminated
2.1 tons – the weight of the diesel engine removed
1.9 tons – the weight of the battery packs and electric motors added
8 hours – how long it takes to charge the battery
90 miles – how far a fully charged bus can go (practical range: 76 miles)

Smooth, quiet, green and clean, the world’s first fully electric double decker bus made its debut outside York Minster on Wednesday (September 3).

One of the first passengers was city council leader Cllr James Alexander, who took the short journey from West Offices to Duncombe Place.

“It’s very quiet, it’s very clean,” he said of the experience. “I have no doubt that the many tourists will be glad they will be able to hear the tour guide more clearly and have a better experience in York.”

The City Sightseeing bus, operated by Transdev, is the first double decker to be converted from diesel to pure electric.

It uses lithium ion batteries, similar to those in mobile phones. But quite a few more, and a fair bit more powerful…

The bus is charged for eight hours overnight and then has a practical range of 76 miles a day – exceeding the 65 miles undertaken each day by a City Sightseeing bus.

From electric dreams to reality

City of York Council successfully bid for funding from the Department of Transport to undertake the conversion.

Sheffield based Magtec retro-fitted the bus with electric drive train systems.

The sightseeing double decker bus is only the latest electric bus to hit York’s streets. A fleet already operate from the Poppleton park and ride site which opened this summer.

Electric buses will also soon run from the Monks Cross P&R site.

What they said

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The battery powered engine

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

Baroness Kramer, transport minister

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.

Cllr David Levene, transport, City of York Council

Thousands of tourists and residents travel on our popular City Sightseeing buses every year so it’s fantastic news that through this funding we’ll be able to offer an even better travelling experience, whilst at the same time helping to improve air quality in York by converting to an electric bus.

Richard Jackson at Transdev

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.

Marcus Jenkins of Magtec

This is good news for York and we’re confident this will prove popular with many of the city’s seven million visitors

Jane Lady Gibson, chairman of Visit York

3 comments on “World’s first electric double decker bus launched in York

  1. Not the Worid’s first all-electric double decker by a long shot. The first four wheel drive demonstrator, driven by four hub motors, took to the Streets of Chicago in 1900 and a fleet of 20 buses, developed from the prototype, ran in Philadelphia from 1907. The operating company went into receivership the following year but for reasons unrelated to their design or build

  2. Someone in York is thinking The advance sin battery design are truly amazing. The batteries are charges d at 1% per minute,and are charged when the bus stops over a magnet embedded in the road.No wires no nothing They will be charged at off peak electricity charges,,and even recharged by the solar cells.

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