Optare Versa electric buses clock a million km, save 880 tons of emissions

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 03 Nov 2016

First York's fleet of 12 Optare electric buses racked up the impressive total in just 21 months, around nine months ahead of schedule.

Electric buses manufactured by Optare plc, a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland, have notched another green milestone.

The ground-breaking 12 First Bus Optare electric vehicles which operate on two of York city’s Park and Ride sites have collectively driven a million kilometres since their launch in June 2014. The one-million landmark has also seen huge savings in CO2 emissions, when compared to operating a diesel bus – an estimated 880 tonnes.  

The major milestone was reached in September, making First York the fastest bus company to reach the one-million kilometre mark, in comparison to other areas that also operate a similar number of electric vehicles. The fleet of 12 vehicles racked up the impressive total in just 21 months, some nine months ahead of schedule, which is a significant achievement for the business and city, as City of York Council continues its plans to make York a pollution-free city.


Speaking about the First Bus electric vehicle fleet, which is also fitted with free Wi-Fi, Marc Bichtemann, managing director at First York, said: “We are constantly striving to introduce cleaner vehicles, improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, so this milestone is a fantastic achievement.

“We operate 12 electric buses between the Poppleton Park & Ride, Monks Cross Park & Ride, and York City Centre, all of which deliver zero tailpipe emissions and support our local authority partners’ goal to reduce air pollution in the city.

“The electric vehicles are not only performing to a really high standard, but they are popular with our customers too, and we look forward to continuing to welcome even more customers onto our services.”


The electric vehicles were manufactured locally by Sherburn in Elmet-based Optare. Robert Drewery, commercial director at Optare said: ‘Optare is delighted that these award-winning electric buses, currently the most efficient in the UK, have proven to deliver such an impact on local air quality in a relatively short period of time. As the leaders in UK electric bus technology, we will continue to develop our electric vehicle technology and work with local authorities and operators, such as First York, to ensure more electric buses like these operate in our region and throughout the UK in the future.”

This milestone also follows the recent news that First Bus has been awarded ‘Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year 2016’ at the prestigious Low Carbon Champions Awards.

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