Kleanbus, the expert bus repower company, calls on UK Government to re-assess its latest zero emission bus scheme, which omits buses retrofitted with zero emission technology from green funding.
The Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) 2 scheme, which has now opened, makes up to £129m available to help local transport authorities introduce more zero-emission buses, with the first £25m prioritised for rural communities. However, while new electric buses are eligible, bids will not be accepted for vehicles repowered with technology to be zero emission buses, with no funding to reduce their purchase price.
The decision to not include repowered vehicles is particularly questioned as the cost-effective option can provide local authorities with a solution to optimise their funding and make it go further, as well as make zero-emission fleet targets more attainable.
Joe Tighe, Co-founder and CEO of Kleanbus, commented:
While we welcome new funding to accelerate the zero-emission transition, we are disappointed repowered buses are not included in the latest ZEBRA2 scheme. Repowering, where the ICE of an existing bus is replaced with a cutting-edge electric powertrain, is not only cost-effective, but fast, upcycling a perfectly good vehicle, ensuring it has many more years on fleet.
It also has none of the emissions associated with the manufacturing of a new bus, and makes the most sense from every viewpoint, from operator TCO to the speed at which we can make this transition, to the best use of the Earth’s precious resources. We urgently call on the UK Government to re-assess ZEBRA2 and make repowered buses eligible for funding to further reduce their purchase price. Doing so would be a win for us all, making a real and rapid difference to our air quality.
Kleanbus’ ePowertrain Module’ combines proven components from leading Tier 1 suppliers with Kleanbus’ own integration technology and proprietary software. The innovative solution can convert a bus, whether single or double-decker, from ICE to fully electric quickly and cost-effectively.
Once the e-drivetrain solution has been designed and tested, it takes less than two weeks to repower an individual bus, getting vehicles back in service in as little time as possible. Operating costs are also dramatically lower, at a third of those of a conventional diesel bus.
Kleanbus also provides the complete solution to bus operators, with innovative financing and charging as part of the total package, making it easy to go zero emission.
The first round of ZEBRA funding saw 1,300 zero emission buses introduced onto local bus routes as part of an initial target of 4,000.