Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing Launches First Two Clean-Energy Buses Toward Fleet Replacement
Public Charging Infrastructure Needed for Clean-Energy Transition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2019
Vancouver, B.C.—As a major step in transitioning to all zero-emission, electric vehicles, Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing, Vancouver’s largest sightseeing operator, has just received the first two electric buses it ordered from BYD, the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles.
The company intends to acquire and operate a fleet of over 80 zero-emission, electric buses, making it the largest private fleet of electric buses in Canada. By moving exclusively to electric buses, Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2,000 tonnes per year when the fleet is fully operational.
“We are committed to pioneering our sector into the clean economy to demonstrate this can and should be done to maintain and even improve the air quality and livability of our beautiful city and region,” said Robert Safrata, CEO of Changequity, which encompasses Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing and NOVEX Couriers, the greenest courier company in Canada. “These buses nicely complement the fleet of zero-emission, electric boats we use for our Coal Harbour e-Tours.”
These new zero-emission buses are ultimately planned to operate throughout Vancouver and southwestern British Columbia with daily tours and travel to Whistler, Victoria, the North Shore and around the city. This will require resolving the current lack of electric power stations for buses in key areas, including downtown Vancouver and along the Sea to Sky corridor.
“At this time, the lack of existing charging infrastructure and funding for new infrastructure creates a challenge for full fleet conversion,” Safrata said. “We are working with various levels of government, BC Hydro, industry partners and other entities to help find an efficient, cost-effective path to create infrastructure, which considers cost, location and space for buses, and the overall power grid.”
Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing’s new buses, built by BYD, include several safety features and modern comforts, including seatbelts, USB ports at each seat, air-conditioned windows to help ensure visibility in various weather conditions, leather seats with lots of leg room, and custom audio to help guests hear their guide.
BYD’s “New Energy” line of buses is silent running and has zero emissions, utilizing proprietary clean iron-phosphate battery technology. The C9 bus is 45 feet long and has a seating capacity of 49 passengers. It features a range of over 300 km on a single charge, with a full recharge within four hours. The new buses will be powered by clean, renewable energy from BC Hydro. Bullfrog Power will ensure that green electricity from a blend of wind and low-impact hydro power sourced from new Canadian renewable energy facilities is put into the grid to match the amount of conventional electricity the Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing fleet uses.
About Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing:
Vancouver-based Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing is the largest sightseeing operator in Vancouver with over 250 team members employed during peak operating season and a fleet of over 80 buses. The company has committed to convert its fleet of buses to zero-emission, electric vehicles, which will make it the largest private electric fleet of buses seating over 40 passengers in Canada. Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing offers local Hop-On, Hop-Off tour services in Vancouver, guided tours to Victoria, Whistler, and around Vancouver, as well as tours of Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, with Electric Harbour Tours. Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing has been sharing remarkable experiences with guests in Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler for over 30 years and have partnerships with many leading tourism attractions and affiliates.
Photo Credits: Daniel Nguyen