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

As a pilot project to evaluate electric bus transportation for the cruise tourism industry, GVHA has 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.

“We’re excited to unveil this fully electric double-decker bus and get it into service,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “We’re committed to testing and evaluating new technologies and new ideas in ground transportation, and this will be an excellent pilot, helping us to plan into the future.

Both GVHA and CVS Tours entered into a lease agreement with GreenPower to pilot the fully electric EV550 double-decker bus for one year. The bus 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,” said 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.

The 45-foot-long bus is the first purpose-built, fully electric double decker bus in North America. It has 99 seats including 65 on the upper floor, plus standing room. There are USB charging ports at each seat. The bus is also fully accessible with low-floor design, kneeling capabilities, wheelchair lift and configuration with two spots for wheelchairs or mobility aids.

The 450kWh of batteries with a range of up to 400 kilometers on a single charge depending on the requirements and operating criteria.