First Bus has awarded a contract to repower specialist Equipmake to convert 12 of its older Optare Versa electric buses based in York.
Conversion work with Equipmake’s Zero Emission Drivetrain is already underway on the first Versa, with the rest to be repowered over the coming months and the first delivery scheduled for November.
Norfolk-based Equipmake expects each converted bus, which will operate on the city’s park and ride scheme, to have a range of 150 miles in all UK weather conditions.
This range is more than sufficient for a complete a duty cycle, allowing the buses to be recharged faster, overnight and operate for longer during the day.
According to Equipmake, its repower programme has both environmental and cost benefits, with each conversion costing less than half the cost of a new electric bus.
As one of the UK’s largest bus operators, First Bus has pledged to operate a full zero emission fleet by 2035.
Garry Birmingham, Director for Decarbonisation at First Bus, said: “The retrofitting of our older electric buses is another great example of how we can maximise the lifespan of a bus, beyond 15 years, and in addition, significantly reduce the embodied carbon associated with manufacturing new vehicles.
“This is an extension of our Zero Emission Mission 2035 target, in support of our wider commitment to setting ambitious science-based targets to achieve Net Zero Emissions.
“These 12 repowered buses use a clever and cost-effective technology, which underlines our commitment to offer sustainable transport solutions.”