Island Company using all-electric buses on tours

For the Islander

The unique looking buses that have been turning heads around town lately are Catalina Island Company’s newest tour vehicles. Manufactured in Lancaster, California, by BYD, they are the world’s first long-range 23-foot battery-electric motor coaches, and the first ever used in Southern California.

Constructed from non-toxic, 100 percent recyclable material, the batteries that power these coaches are the longest lasting and safest on the road, according to BYD. The Island Company chose these eco-friendly coaches to complement its fleet of bio-fuel Hummers, which run on recycled vegetable oil and are used on the East End Adventure, Cape Canyon Expedition and other popular tours.

“It’s always been our focus to protect the island’s natural resources for the good of all residents and guests,” said Catalina Island Company CEO Randall Herrel. “Like our biofuel Hummers, these new zero-emission all-electric vehicles will help improve Catalina’s air quality over time, while eliminating the environmental impact associated with diesel and gas-based vehicles.”

These two new “green” coaches, which are being used on the Skyline Drive and Inland Expedition tours, are replacing Catalina Island Company’s aging diesel-powered buses. Delivery of a third coach is expected soon.

With huge windows, headrest-mounted video screens, integrated sound system and smooth quiet ride, the new motor coaches can carry up to 18 passengers in air-conditioned comfort on unique sightseeing experiences. “The windows are massive,” said Andrew Welham, vice president of Catalina Island Company Activities. “Guests will feel like they are part of the scenery that surrounds them. It’s a completely immersive experience.”