First Bus is partnering with Equipmake to repower 12 of the operator’s first-generation electric buses in York. Therefore, 12 First York electric Optare Versa buses are going to be repowered with Equipmake electric drivetrain (ZED) at the company’s base in Snetterton, Norfolk.

Equipmake expects each converted bus to have a range of 150 miles in all UK weather conditions, thanks to a larger battery and a patented HVAC system, extending the life of existing zero-emissions public transport for the people of York.

The first of the 12 buses is expected to be back in operation on the roads of York in November.

As one of the UK’s largest bus operators, First Bus has pledged to operate a full zero emission fleet by 2035.

Equipmake repowering First Bus vehicles

Equipmake repowers are tailored to specific requirements provided by the operator, with service routes simulated to ensure the optimum battery power level is selected to secure driving ranges of 150 to 250 miles. This range is more than sufficient for a complete duty cycle, allowing buses to be recharged faster, overnight and operate for longer during the day, Equipmake says.

Each conversion costs, less than half the cost of a new electric bus, it is specified.

Work is already underway on the first Versa conversion, and following the successful trial, 11 more buses will be repowered over the coming months, with delivery of the first vehicle scheduled for November this year.

equipmake first bus

Equipmake with First Bus to maximize lifespan of buses

Ian Foley, CEO, Equipmake, said: “Repowered buses represent a fantastic opportunity for operators to help accelerate the much-needed transition to sustainable mobility. Together with our new electric bus, the Jewel E, this technology can facilitate a significant reduction in air pollution across the country. We are delighted that First Bus has chosen to implement our pioneering technology in 12 of the buses in its York Park & Ride fleet. This is great news for passengers and for the people of York, who can look forward to cleaner air in their city. This agreement reflects the strong demand we are seeing for our products, which has, in turn, driven plans to expand our facility, creating 180 jobs, bringing the total number of staff employed at Equipmake to 255.”

Garry Birmingham, Director for Decarbonisation at First Bus, said:“First Bus has repeatedly demonstrated its ambition to provide zero-emission transport in the local communities that we operate in. 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.

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