HORIBA MIRA Urges Bus Owners and Operators to Consider Retrofitting Amid £50m e-Bus Pledge

Amid the government’s recent pledge to create Britain’s first ‘all-electric bus towns’, HORIBA MIRA is urging bus manufacturers, operators and owners to consider converting existing bus fleets with the latest electric powertrain technology as a vital tactic in helping the UK to achieve a cleaner public transport network.

Electric Bus

Last month, as part of a £220m package of funding to overhaul bus services, Chancellor Sajid Javid announced £50m to develop an ‘all-electric bus town’, which will see an entire town’s buses converted to wireless electric vehicles. Meanwhile, to cut pollution and operating costs, existing country buses are expected to be transitioned to hybrids, using electric power within built-up areas and diesel in more rural areas.

The announcement comes as the European Union (EU) puts greater pressure on its member states to reduce carbon emissions from public transport vehicles, recently releasing the Clean Vehicles Directive which states that at least a quarter of new buses purchased by public authorities in cities across Europe must be zero-emission by 2025, and at least a third by 2030.

Welcoming the government’s funding pledge, automotive engineering, verification and validation consultancy HORIBA MIRA has revealed that retrofitting existing bus fleets with cleaner electric powertrain technology should be an urgent priority in decarbonising Europe’s public buses.

Greg Harris, Global Electrification Services Leader at HORIBA MIRA, comments:

 “This funding offers a great opportunity to a number of local authorities, bus manufacturers and operators, currently involved in helping the UK transition to a cleaner public transport network.

“While the onus to-date has mainly been on bringing new electrical buses to market, not to be overlooked is the major role retrofitting existing buses to e-Buses can play in the UK’s all-electric bus towns’ pilot, and in meeting the EU’s clean vehicles directive.”

Recognising the need to help manufacturers, operators and owners make the transition to cleaner vehicles, HORIBA MIRA has collaborated with Germany-headquartered lithium-ion battery specialist BMZ and eAxle experts ZIEHL-ABEGG to offer a unique turnkey service for converting existing bus fleets to e-Buses.

The service which launched this month (October 2019), will see the trio develop and supply highly efficient, safe and reliable electric powertrain solutions, with the option of a complete retrofit offering of existing bus fleets through local partners where required.

Greg adds: 

“Converting existing bus fleets offers a cost-effective and innovative solution to deploying cleaner electric public buses across Europe and we’d urge all bus owners and operators to consider this as a viable alternative to buying new electric buses.

“Our expert engineering teams have supported the development and integration of low carbon powertrains for over 15 years and we recognise that for many, this is a new area that is fraught with complexity. Joining HORIBA MIRA’s automotive engineering and test capabilities, with two leading figures in the electric drive and battery industry enables us to offer a single, easy-to-use service that specialises in providing efficient electric powertrain solutions for existing buses.”