Equipmake electric-converted Versa in York trial
First York is beginning a passenger-carrying in-service trial of one of its Optare Versas that has been converted by Equipmake.
The Versa, an early generation electric bus, is the first to be converted in a contract awarded to Norfolk-based Equipmake. The bus 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, extending the life of existing zero-emissions public transport for the people of York.
The trial is to last four-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.
“This retrofit technology is another important step in our transition to achieving a fully electric fleet in York” – Tom Bridge, Operations Director of First Bus in North & West Yorkshire
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.”
Equipmake repowers are tailored to specific requirements provided by the operator, with service routes simulated to help 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, according to Equipmake, allowing buses to be recharged faster, overnight and operate for longer during the day.
“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” – Ian Foley, CEO, Equipmake
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.”