First York puts Equipmake electric repower into service

Equipmake repower Optare Versa placed into service by First York

A mid-life Optare Versa in the First York fleet that has received a new battery-electric driveline from Equipmake has re-entered passenger-carrying service. All 12 of the operator’s Versas that form part of the repower project are expected to be back in use “in coming months,” the supplier says.

The buses were built as battery-electrics and registered in 2014 and 2015, but all had been out of service for many months. Equipmake says that its repowering work will give a range of 150 miles “in all UK weather conditions.”

Trial of the seed bus will last for four weeks. It will be used first on route 68 serving the University of York and then route 11. The evaluation will enable engineers from both the operator and the supplier to monitor performance and make any final adjustments. The 11 other Versas to be repowered will then follow.

Speaking about the trial, First Bus in North and West Yorkshire Operations Director Tom Bridge says: “It is great to see the bus back in service and we are confident that customers will enjoy the experience of an ultra-smooth, quiet ride and the benefit of zero-emission travel.

“The 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.”

Adds Equipmake CEO Ian Foley: “We are delighted to have completed the conversion of this Optare Versa for First York, which features our state-of-the-art repower system.

“Knowledge gained from the 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.”