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Tourists visiting world cities know the image all too well: an upper deck full of people on a smelly and noisy diesel bus.

Often to the great annoyance of the residents in the streets through which these buses pass. But that will soon change. While in many cities everything that emits is slowly being phased out of the city and taxis have to run entirely on green energy, things seem to be moving a bit slower at Big Bus Tours. As early as 2017, the company announced that it was testing electric buses, but only now does the actual transformation seem to be taking place. And about time too.

Big Bus Tours has finally taken the step towards sustainability by adding 40 electric sightseeing buses to its fleet. This happened just in time for the busy summer season, a strategic move to improve both the environment and the tourist experience. With a ticket price of 47 euros per person for a tour of the city with just ten stops, tourists can expect to not only enjoy the city, but to do so in an environmentally friendly way.

Made in China

In Paris and Vienna, Big Bus Tours is introducing 20 brand new electric buses from the Ankai brand. These purpose-built electric sightseeing buses are equipped with 315 kW battery packs that send energy to the road via a ZF hub motor shaft. Depending on the load on the electricity grid, these buses can be quickly charged within four to six hours. The choice of these models underlines the company's commitment to embracing sustainable technologies without compromising the driving experience.

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London is seeing a different approach with the retrofit of 20 existing diesel buses. This 2012 Ankai tri-axle diesels are completely converted to electric propulsion by the British company Equipmake. The conversion involves installing a 327 kW battery pack that provides power to a single motor working directly into the existing axles. These buses can be charged with both AC and DC and are mainly charged at night with 22 kW chargers, as they are only in use during the day.

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Photo: © Pitane Blue - Big Bus Paris

Pat Waterman, Executive Chairman of Big Bus Tours, expresses his excitement about this progress: “We are excited to welcome these new electric buses as part of our investment in sustainability. This EV expansion is an important step forward in reducing our environmental footprint and improving the touring experience for our customers.”

Deployment of these electric buses in three European cities will begin this summer, significantly increasing the company's total electric fleet. The initiative to both introduce new buses and convert existing buses demonstrates Big Bus Tours' multi-faceted approach in their pursuit of a greener future.

The new buses are not only a technological advancement but also a conscious choice by the company to contribute to reducing emissions in busy urban areas. This initiative comes at a time when many cities around the world are introducing strict emissions guidelines, forcing companies like Big Bus Tours to innovate to meet these new standards. By introducing electric buses, Big Bus Tours is responding to these changes and setting an example for other operators in the sector.

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The new electric buses will undoubtedly have a positive impact on air quality in Paris, Vienna and London. In addition, the quieter operation of electric buses offers a more pleasant experience for both passengers and residents of these cities. These quiet, zero-emission vehicles are a welcome addition to busy streets and highlight Big Bus Tours' forward-looking vision.

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