Original Tour launches first electric sightseeing bus

The Original Tour has unveiled the first full-electric hop-on hop-off open-top bus for London in a move welcomed by London’s deputy mayor for environment and energy Shirley Rodrigues.

The 12m Unvi double-deck is operating on The Original Tour’s Yellow route, which includes sightseeing attractions including St Paul’s, The Shard, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Gherkin.

Deputy mayor for environment and energy Shirley Rodrigues, says: “To help tackle the air pollution health crisis in London we have taken bold action to ‘green’ the bus fleet and cut toxic vehicle emissions, and it is fantastic that we now have the UK’s first fully electric sightseeing bus on the capital’s streets.

“With six months to go until the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London, electric vehicles are growing in popularity, and people are more aware than ever of the harmful pollution older buses and vehicles can emit. I want to congratulate The Original Tour on the first of many brilliant green sightseeing buses.”

A subsidiary of RATP Dev, The Original Tour was founded in 1951 during The Festival of Britain and claims to be the only London bus tour to be awarded Trip Advisor’s Travellers Choice Award.

Ronan Bois, sightseeing business unit director at RATP Dev, adds: “Every day people rely on us to discover the best of the most iconic cities around the world and we’re investing in innovation for a new generation of sightseers. We’re proud to be the first sightseeing network to introduce a 100 per cent electric bus in London, showing our commitment to our customers, the city and the community.”

The electric bus, developed by UNVI, Ziehl Abegg, BMZ and SAF, has a range of 150km – the equivalent of six circuits of The Original Tour’s Yellow route. It will carry up to 75 passengers at a time, seven days a week, and on an average day will make 125 stops on a single charge. It will be charged overnight at the operator’s Wandsworth depot; it takes 4.5 hours to fully charge the battery, after which the bus can run for up to 11.5 hours.

“We’ve always been daringly original, creating memories that last a lifetime for people from all over the world,” says Jane Lewis, managing director, The Original Tour. “Today they are increasingly eco-conscious and we’re responding to exactly that. The Original Tour has been bringing the capital’s iconic sights to life for longer than anyone else but today we can point to a landmark of our own. This new 100 per cent electric hop-on hop-off open-top sightseeing bus represents the future not only for our brand but for sightseeing here in London.”

The Original Tour aims to gradually convert its buses to zero-emission, with three more electric buses planned in 2019.