Electric Yutongs launch at Go North East

Go North East has launched the region’s first electric bus fleet in the North East, which are capable of all-day service with a single overnight charge. The fleet of nine Yutong E10 single-deckers were purchased as part of a £3.7m 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.

The buses were supplied and had their interior finished by Castleford-based Pelican Bus & Coach.

Based at the company’s depot in Gateshead, the buses are powered by zero-emission clean sources such as solar, wind and hydro, and are housed in a new electric bus micro-depot capable of accommodating 30 electric buses. It features Yutong charging units and Zenobe power management.

The buses are branded as ‘Voltra’ and will run between Gateshead, Saltwell Park and Newcastle on the Go-Ahead-owned operator’s services 53 and 54.

Onboard features include free wifi, wireless and USB charging through Alfatronix seat back phone holders that allow users 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.

They feature luxury seating from Esteban using a bespoke Camira Fabrics moquette paired with sustainably produced materials from their Vita range.

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.

“We are very proud that Yutong electric buses have been chosen for such an important service” – Richard Crump, Pelican Bus & Coach

Richard Crump, managing director of Pelican Bus & Coach, said: “Both Pelican and Yutong where 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 three 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.”

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 an electric bus fleet as we’ve looked at every detail and maximised the use of technology to provide a new standard in bus travel including customer comfort, information and ticketing.

“We hope that by introducing these fully-electric buses, 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.”

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