New life for hybrids after refurb by Volvo for contract


Volvo has proved that there is a second life for hybrid buses, with the delivery of three B5LH diesel-electric hybrids to Hampshire-based Xelabus as a “part of a larger investment plan” for the independent.

Delivered new in October 2011 to the now-defunct Staffordshire-based BakerBus and part-funded from the Department for Transport (DfT) Green Bus Fund, the buses had been returned to Volvo off lease. alt=”” class=”figimg” src=”” style=”float:right” />

Retail Bus and Coach Sales Manager Sam Prothero tells routeone that they only needed a standard full valet and repaint into Xelabus’ scheme. Mechanically, they received Volvo’s standard aftermarket inspection. The driveline refurbishment included a new set of batteries, warrantied for five years.

Significantly, financing them for their new owners did not prove to be a problem, demonstrating that funders continue to be happy to back hybrid vehicles.

Volvo has provided mechanical training for Xelabus and its local dealership – MC Truck and Bus in Southampton – to ensure trouble-free operation.

Xelabus chose the vehicles as part of its contract bid for Itchen College, running routes between Hedge End and Eastleigh, to provide environmentally-friendly buses.

MD Gareth Blair says: “Our latest additions are a significant investment. They deliver great fuel economy and CO2 emission reductions of more than 30%.

“As a company we provide a valuable service to the surrounding area, so we prioritise our impact on the environment.

Mr Prothero adds: “It’s been great to work with Xelabus as it continues to invest in its local community. These orders are the first of their type in Hampshire, so it is an important milestone for the company.”

Xelabus has recently announced plans to upgrade its fleet to Euro 6 through Southampton City Council’s grant funding.