After complete upgrade of the vehicle’s electric power system, the first Optare Versa is back on service around the city of York. It belong to an early generation electric bus: a batch of 12 vehicles is to be converted in a contract awarded by operator First Bus to Equipmake.

The bus now features a pioneering electric drivetrain and is expected to have a range of 150 miles in all UK weather conditions, thanks to a larger battery and Equipmake’s patented HVAC system.

Optare Versa e-buses retrofitted in York

The Optare Versa trial will last for 4 weeks, operating on the 68 service to the University of York this week and the Burnholme-Bishopthorpe 11 service from 20 March. This will enable engineering teams at First York and Equipmake to evaluate its performance and make any final adjustments. A total of 12 converted vehicles will be delivered over the coming months.

optare versa retrofit york

Equipmake has developed dedicated skills on repowering of buses, most recently completing an all-electric repower of the New Routemaster (showcased at Euro Bus Expo 2022), as well as partnering with First Bus to upgrade its fleet.

Tom Bridge, Operations Director of First Bus in North & West Yorkshire, said: “It’s great to see the bus back in service and we’re confident customers will enjoy the experience of an ultra-smooth, quiet ride and the benefit of zero-emission travel. This retrofit technology is another important step in our transition to achieving a fully electric fleet in York, continuing to help improve air quality in the city and supporting the goal of First Bus nationally to have a zero-emission fleet by 2035.”

Ian Foley, CEO, Equipmake, said:“We are delighted to have completed the conversion of this Optare Versa for First York, which features our state-of-the-art electric repower system. Knowledge gained from in-service trials will be used to inform the implementation of our pioneering technology in 12 of the buses in the fleet, fantastic news for passengers and the people of York, making a significant contribution to improving local air quality.”


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