First Bus places one of the UK’s largest ever electric bus orders

Posted: 31 August 2022 | | No comments yet

Once the new zero-emission buses are deployed, First Bus will have over 500 electric vehicle buses in operation, driving forward its journey to net zero and supporting hundreds of green jobs across the UK.

UK government funding to bring zero-emission buses to Northern England's roads

Credit: First Bus

First Bus has announced that it has placed one of the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) bus orders, following successful bids with local authorities as part of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) funding scheme.

The £81 million order, totalling 193 buses, is the largest EV bus purchase outside of London and will see new zero-emission buses being rolled out across England from March 2023. First Bus will invest £43 million in the new vehicles and will be supported to complete the electric fleet project with a £38 million grant from the DfT.

First Bus has worked closely with five local authority partners to secure the funding, which helps to bridge the gap between the cost of a Euro VI diesel bus and the EV equivalent as well as the relevant infrastructure costs necessary to charge the vehicles.

The order will be split between five cities – Leicester, York, Leeds, Norwich and Portsmouth – with each regional project to be completed over the course of the next two years. This means that First Bus will have over 500 EV buses in operation in what is a huge leap forward towards its pledge of an entirely zero-emission fleet by 2035.

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The new EV buses will be fully built in Northern Ireland at the Wrightbus facility in Ballymena in a significant boost for the UK economy and the manufacturing sector.

First Bus UK Managing Director Janette Bell said: “We are fully aligned with the government’s ambitions for a net zero carbon transport system, including zero-emission bus fleets. We will continue to work closely with central and local government across the UK to support the delivery of our shared decarbonisation ambitions and commitments.”

Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “It’s fantastic to see First Bus place the largest ever order of electric buses outside London, thanks to investment from our £270 million scheme. This marks a key stepping-stone towards our National Bus Strategy commitment of funding 4,000 zero emissions buses, as we decarbonise and level up transport across the country. Not only does it drive forward our journey to net zero, but will also support hundreds of green, high-skilled jobs in the UK.”