Go North East has today launched the region’s first fully-electric bus fleet in the North East.
The buses are capable of all-day service with a single overnight charge, supporting the company’s commitment to improve air quality.
This morning, the switch was flipped on the nine high-tech zero-emission Yutong E10 single deck buses, supplied and interior finished by Castleford based Pelican Bus & Coach, as part of a £3.7million joint-funded project from Go North East and the Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Fund, following a bid that was also supported by Nexus and Gateshead Council.
This fund helps support some of the additional costs of electric vehicles over diesel equivalents and the charging infrastructure.
|Martijn Gilbert, managing director at Go North East flipping the switch |
on the nine high-tech zero-emission buses
Based within a new electric bus micro depot, complete with Yutong charging units and Zenobe power management, at the company’s Gateshead Riverside site, these game-changing buses are powered by zero-emission clean sources such as solar, wind and hydro.
The extension of the depot site is capable of accommodating up to 30 electric buses, paving the way for future investment, whilst the buses are fitted with 422kWh water cooled batteries which are capable of a 370km (230miles) range on a single 3.4 hour charge, says the manufacturer.
These state-of-the-art, super environmentally friendly buses, branded ‘Voltra’ in a Best Impressions designed livery that is purposely designed to be very different to your average bus, will run between Gateshead, Saltwell Park and Newcastle on Go North East services 53 and 54.
As well as a striking new futuristic look, they boast a whole host of onboard features to deliver a bus of the future experience, including high quality interiors with luxury seating from Esteban using a bespoke Camira Fabrics moquette paired with sustainably produced materials from their Vita range.
Other features include free Wi-Fi, wireless and USB charging through Alfatronix seat back phone holders that allow passengers to comfortably watch videos from your seat, a Mobitec next-stop audio-visual announcement system from McKenna Brothers, and ‘tap-on tap-off’ contactless bankcard ticketing through Ticketer and Little Pay, which is a first for the North East and will form an initial two route trial of this new technology.
To complement the green messaging about the vehicles, they are also fitted with a world first pre-production use of Altro’s forthcoming ‘Metris’ range of digitally printed flooring to give a grass effect throughout the saloon.
Martijn Gilbert, managing director at Go North East, said: “This is the dawn of a new era for bus travel here in the North East as we launch what we believe are the very best local buses in the UK, and probably beyond, with a game-changing bus of the future experience for customers, not just with zero-emission buses but a range of pioneering technologies and customer features to revolutionise bus travel.
“This represents a major investment of £2million topped up by the Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Fund, to help boost the recovery of our region ready for unlocking and demonstrates our commitment to improving air quality for our communities.
“Sustainability is key and our Voltra buses run on electricity sourced with green credentials, but Voltra is far more than just an electric bus fleet as we’ve looked at every detail, working with Pelican Yutong and other suppliers, to maximise the use of technology and innovation to provide a new standard in bus travel including customer comfort, information and ticketing.
“We hope that by introducing these fully-electric buses, which are very different to your average bus, we can help flip the switch on people’s behaviour too and see more people across our region leave the car behind to help reduce congestion on our roads and improve air quality for us all. Clean, affordable and sustainable next generation travel has arrived.”
Richard Crump, managing director of Pelican Bus & Coach, said: “Both Pelican and Yutong were delighted to have been able to work with the team at GNE to help develop their unique and innovative concept for 21st century bus travel in the North East. We are very proud that Yutong electric buses have been chosen for such an important service”.
Ian Downie, Head of Yutong Bus UK added: “This project has taken 3 years of meticulous development, from the trial of the demonstrator to completion of the vehicles in the UK, and now the launch of the route. The exacting standards of Go North East honed the vehicles’ specification, and we are absolutely delighted with the finished product. The vehicles will make a real, lasting improvement to the air quality in the North East and also set a new standard in passengers experience.”
Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council and Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “The launch of Go North East’s fully-electric bus fleet shows that once again the North East is leading the way in providing innovative sustainable transport options for the public. I am particularly pleased that the region’s first electric buses will be launched in my hometown of Gateshead.
“The introduction of Voltra services will help to improve air quality in the region and supports our commitment to carbon reduction across the board. As outlined in the draft North East Transport Plan, we’re keen to lead the green transport revolution and we’d encourage people to make use of these wonderful new services in the future.”
Go North East website showing videos here