Image via GVHA

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) has unveiled North America’s first purpose built, fully electric double-decker bus.

The 45-foot-long EV550 has a capacity of 99 seats including 65 on the upper floor, plus standing room. Each seat comes with a USB charging port. The bus is fully accessible with low-floor design, kneeling capabilities, wheelchair lift and configuration with two spots for wheelchairs or mobility aids.

Image via GVHA
Image via GVHA

It runs on 450kWh of batteries with a range of up to 400 kilometres on a single charge.

As a pilot project to evaluate electric bus transportation for the cruise tourism industry, GVHA worked with CVS Cruise Victoria Ltd. (CVS Tours) and GreenPower Motor Company Inc. (GreenPower), to launch the bus in Victoria, serving the Ogden Point terminal through the 2017 season.

Both GVHA and CVS Tours entered into a lease agreement with GreenPower to pilot the bus for one year – it is currently going through road trials and will be evaluated throughout the next year.

“This new bus represents a commitment on the part of CVS and its partners to the environment, community and the future,” says Dave Roberts, acting general manager of CVS Tours. “We are hopeful that this pilot deployment project proves to be a success and will help to lead the industry. This technology has never been implemented in Victoria before and we are very keen to put it through a test year.”

The pilot program will evaluate the feasibility of electric bus transportation, with a focus on cost of operations, emissions reduction, noise reduction and charging station requirements.