First Bus has given repower specialist Equipmake a contract to convert 12 of its Optare Versa older electric buses in York over to its Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED).
Equipmake, based in Norfolk, expects each converted bus, which will operate on the city’s park and ride scheme, to have a range of 150 miles.
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.
Work is already underway on the first Versa conversion, with the rest to be repowered over the next few months, and delivery of the first vehicle is due for November this year.
Equipmake believes its repower programme has both environmental and cost benefits, with each conversion costing less than half the cost of a new electric bus.
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.”