Universal Studios Hollywood has officially debuted the first four electric trams in its fleet of 21 Studio Tour trams.
“I am extremely proud of this innovative undertaking and our commitment to creating a zero-emissions Studio Tour fleet in collaboration with our parent company and local partners,” said Scott Strobl, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Universal Studios Hollywood. “This is just one of many steps we are taking to transform our business in line with Comcast NBCUniversal’s carbon-neutral goal, all while pioneering first-class attractions for our guests.”
Weather and feature anchor of NBC’s TODAY and Co-host, 3rd Hour of TODAY, Al Roker is featured in a video introduction aboard the trams as part of the guest experience.
The world-famous Studio Tour is a hallmark Universal Studios Hollywood attraction that, for over 55 years, has taken millions of guests from around the world through authentic movie and television production studios, featuring iconic sets made famous in blockbuster movies such as “Back to the Future” and dynamic rides such as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged” and “King Kong 360 3-D.”
The conversion to electric trams was spearheaded in 2017 by visionaries within the Universal Studios Hollywood technical services department and represents some of the first-ever and largest battery-powered, off-road, high-torque, and low-speed mass people movers in the U.S.
Universal began testing the new electric trams back in 2019.
Full conversion of the 21 trams from diesel-hydraulic engines to electric will help reduce carbon emissions as well as improve the guest experience by reducing noise associated with the diesel-hydraulic engine.
Installation of inductive charging technology from WAVE (Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification) by Ideanomics was a critical factor in the conversion designed to meet the trams’ rigorous daily demands of navigating the Studio’s varying topography. Trams will routinely charge during the normal operation at the start and end of the attraction route. Coupled with a regenerative braking feature, the trams will continue to build up charge when they travel downhill, providing added energy efficiency.
The elaborate clean air conversion design process evolved from a collaboration between Universal Studios Hollywood and L.A.-based Complete Coach Works to reimagine the trams from diesel-hydraulic engines to electric.
The project continues to be made possible by a grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District — the local regulatory agency that works to reduce air pollution in the region — which provides funding to replace older equipment with cleaner ones that are cost-effective while reducing air pollution. It was also supported by a significant investment from Comcast NBCUniversal and Southern California Edison through its Charge Ready Transport Program.