That story we brought you on MAN Truck and Bus putting into production a hydrogen version of its tried and tested D38 diesel powerplant got me thinking about how a move to cleaner propulsion might not need a full reinvention of the wheel.

This story then caught my attention because it’s kind of the same though just a bit different.

There are plenty of buses getting about on Australian roads that have plenty of life left in them, however, their operators might be keen to run an electric vehicle fleet instead of traditional diesel burners.

Not just for environmental benefits…have you seen the price of diesel lately? So, how about a conversion to electric propulsion using the same body and chassis?

Well, in the UK that is a process that seems to be gathering some serious momentum.

A business known as Equipmake has just delivered 12 repowered Optare Versa single-deck electric buses to operator First York.

The repowered buses feature Equipmake’s Zero-Emission Drivetrain (ZED) technology, which in this specification, includes a 274kWh capacity battery, giving a range of 150 miles (241km) in all UK weather conditions.

Its ZED, which is modular and scalable and can be applied to single as well as double-decker buses, features the firm’s in-house developed electric motor, inverter, and power electronics, combined with the latest lithium-ion batteries.

“This is fantastic news for passengers and the people of York, making a significant contribution to local air quality.” – Ian Foley, CEO, Equipmake

“For operators, repowering existing buses offers an excellent opportunity to achieve zero emission targets, while making significant cost savings in parallel.”

Stuart Eyre, Engineering Manager of First York, said: “Following a successful initial trial, it’s great to see this new fleet of 12 upgraded, all-electric buses operational across York.

“Equipmake’s repower technology is an 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.”

Seems like a great idea and one that might gather more momentum in Australia in the coming years.