The first fully electric double-decker bus has been launched in Oxford. It is the first of five such open-top City Sightseeing Oxford buses that will be operated by the Oxford Bus Company.

The vehicles are being retrofitted to electric power through the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.

In total £2.2m was secured. The money is also being used to retrofit local buses to Euro VI emissions standards. So far, Oxford Bus Company has completed 65 of its 71 vehicle upgrades under the programme.

It follows plans to reduce NOx levels across the city. A Low Emission Zone for buses was introduced in the city centre in 2014 and in January the final draft proposals for the UK’s first city centre Zero Emission Zone were announced.

City Sightseeing Oxford and Oxford Bus Company Managing Director Phil Southall says: “We’re proud to deliver the first electric double-decker bus in the city. We have always been committed to being at the forefront of the industry on environmental technology innovation and over half of our buses are powered by hybrid technology.

“Over time, our whole fleet of City Sightseeing Oxford buses will be either ultra-low or zero emission, and our entire fleet of vehicles will be upgraded to ultra-low emission standard.”