First-ever zero emission bus fleet for West Yorkshire begins in Leeds

In an important step for public transport in the city and region, West Yorkshire’s first-ever zero emission bus fleet starts on the streets of Leeds today.

Key points:

  • Partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Council
  • £7.3m investment in fleet and depot charging infrastructure
  • Fleet estimated to save 400 tonnes of carbon emissions every year
  • Innovative battery storage at bus depot will support local grid 

The nine Yutong E10 electric vehicles (EV) represent a multi-million pound investment by First Bus in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Council and mark a breakthrough in public transport for the region.

They begin operating on the Service 5 Halton Moor Circular which includes the Leeds CityBus route through the city centre and will run every 10 minutes Monday-Saturday.

Total investment in the buses and charging infrastructure is £7.3m and includes £1.7m funding from the Department of Transport’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (ULEB) which First West Yorkshire secured in 2019 with the support of the combined authority.

Paul Matthews said: “Today marks a significant moment in our strategy to switch to a fully zero emission fleet across the region in the years ahead. We have worked closely with our city and regional authority partners and leaders in their fields in Pelican and Zenobe Energy to combine vehicle, battery and charging technology that heralds a new era in sustainable transport.

“These all-electric buses will enable us to capitalise on the bus priority measures that have just been introduced in the city centre, helping to create cleaner air, reduce congestion and give customers reliable journey times in superior comfort.”

Cllr Groves flanked by (from left) Richard Crump, MD Pelican Bus & Coach, Mark Oxtoby of Zenobe, Cllr Carlill and Paul Matthews

Each Yutong E10 can carry 70 passengers (currently restricted due to social distancing) and has a range of 200 miles from one overnight charge, which means they can operate on the network all day without recharging. Smart battery technology on-board also enables the bus to store energy generated when applying the brakes.

It is estimated each bus will save 45 tonnes of carbon emissions a year compared to a Euro 6 diesel-engine bus, the best-performing available, according to Euro 6 LEB Compliant information from LowCVP and Millbrook, making a total annual saving of over 400 tonnes of CO2 by the 9-strong fleet.

The vehicles, which herald a new-look Leeds City Electric branding, also feature audio visual next a stop technology, USB charging points, Wi-Fi connectivity, LED lighting and are fully air-conditioned.

To compensate for the low noise level when moving, the Yutong E10 has a special acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS) fitted which sounds to help waiting passengers with hearing or visual impairment as the bus approaches a stop and also has the BusEYE early warning device to improve road safety with other vehicles and pedestrians.

The Yutong E10 EVs are supplied by Pelican Bus & Coach, a family-owned engineering company based in Castleford which has a 100-year history in transport and is the exclusive distributor in the UK for the buses, which are made in China.

Innovative electricity charging infrastructure for the fleet has been installed at First’s Hunslet Park depot in the city by Zenobe Energy. A battery energy storage system (BESS) comprising two giant Tesla batteries – 498kWh and 390kW – will support the power requirements including fleet charging and grid services. The BESS is powered by the grid but returns electricity to support the grid when charging the buses.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “It is great to see these fully electric and zero emission buses being rolled out in Leeds which will give passengers a better travelling experience while benefitting the environment.

“Investment in new vehicles by operators combined with the improvements we are making to the road network to make bus travel more reliable, punctual and attractive, will help cut congestion, improve air quality and contribute to our efforts to tackle the climate emergency.”

“Each Yutong E10 can carry 70 passengers and has a range of 200 miles from one overnight charge, which means they can operate on the network all day without recharging”

Cllr Peter Carlill, Leeds City Council, Lead Member for Active Travel and Sustainable Transport, said: “I am delighted to see the first zero emission electric buses begin to be rolled out in Leeds. Over the next year I look forward to seeing more of these operating from our new 1,200 space Stourton solar-powered Park and Ride site. It will make more and more people’s journeys greener and enhance our efforts to keep the air cleaner in Leeds.

“Re-building people’s confidence in using more environmentally friendly public transport is an important step toward achieving our carbon reduction targets and reducing polluting greenhouse gas emissions in Leeds.”

Yutong E10 specification

Length 10.9m, Width 2.55m, Height 3.34m

Powered by 422kWh batteries

Fully charged in under 4 hours

Total passenger capacity: 70 (including standing)

For the full technical specification visit 

First West Yorkshire

  • First West Yorkshire is following Government advice; implementing enhanced cleaning regimes  across our vehicles, encouraging good hand hygiene with our employees and displaying public information posters on our buses.
  • Stepping up our cleaning regimes includes using a long-lasting sanitiser and regular disinfection of all grab rails and poles, entrance door handles, window ledges and other touchpoints. 

First West Yorkshire is the largest bus operator in the region. More than 880 buses transport around 350,000 people every day, across West Yorkshire. The company operates from depots in; Hunslet, Bramley, Bradford, Halifax, Todmorden and Huddersfield, and employs more than 2,000 staff.

First Bus

First Bus is one of the UK’s largest bus operators. Making journeys easier for our customers, we were the first national bus operator to accept contactless card payments across all of our services and our First Bus App is voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators.

Our most recent investments are in new, state-of-the-art buses across our key networks. We work proactively with our local authority partners, making a positive impact on air quality, tackling congestion and improving customer experience.

We are focused on First Bus becoming a leader in the transition to a low-carbon future and are committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035; we have pledged not to purchase any new diesel buses after December 2022.

We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland. First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

We work in partnership with local councils, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and businesses to ensure that everyone in our region benefits from a strong, successful economy and a modern, accessible transport network.

By championing the region’s interests nationally and internationally, we secure the investment to deliver better transport and housing, help businesses to grow and create jobs. WYCA also operates the Metro-branded network of bus stations, travel centres and public transport information for West Yorkshire.

Leeds City Council

Leeds City Council is the driving force behind Connecting Leeds, a £270m long-term transport strategy that aims to improve all aspects of transport and travel in the city and connect people to the wider Leeds City Region.

It includes a partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and support of bus operators First Leeds, Arriva Yorkshire and Transdev with the Confederation of Passenger Transport representing smaller bus companies. 

Pelican Coach & Bus

Pelican Bus & Coach is the sole UK and Ireland importer and distributor for Yutong buses and coaches and is wholly owned by Pelican Engineering Co. Ltd which was established in 1919 and has traded continuously since that date.

In 2018 a bespoke Yutong showroom and vehicle workshop facility was opened next to our Castleford head office. There are over 160 people employed in the UK by Pelican.

Zenobe Energy

Zenobe Energy enables its customers to overcome the challenges of climate change.

It is one of the largest independent owners and operators of battery storage with c. 160MW of contracted storage assets, around 20% market share of the EV bus sector, its own proprietary software and a large portfolio of projects in the pipeline. Zenobe provides intelligent flexible power solutions to commercial EV fleet operators, utilities and industrial and commercial businesses.

The company’s battery storage services help clients manage power more effectively so they can lower costs, improve resilience and reduce their environmental impact.

For more information, please visit 

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