FirstGroup orders ‘green’ buses for UK roads

Transport business FirstGroup has put in an order for hundreds of ‘greener’ buses to use around the UK. It is spending £70 million on 425 new vehicles including six electric […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Transport business FirstGroup has put in an order for hundreds of ‘greener’ buses to use around the UK.

It is spending £70 million on 425 new vehicles including six electric buses and 274 hybrid models to join its routes in cities like Manchester (pictured).

These diesel hybrids – called ‘StreetLite Micro Hybrid’ buses – are some the most fuel efficient buses on the market, the firm said.

It has been working with Ballymena-based Wrightbus on the technology which recovers braking energy. This doesn’t go to drive the car forwards but powers other car functions such as pneumatics, hydraulics and electrical items. This takes away demand on the engine and leads to a cut of fuel consumption of around 10%.

Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First UK Bus said: “This is the biggest order on record for services entirely outside London. We operate in 40 of the UK’s largest towns and cities and our investment will help support the communities we serve.”

He claimed the new diesel hybrids will reach “unsurpassed levels of fuel efficiency, which, until recently few within in the bus industry would have believed possible”.

Leeds company Optare will manufacture 21 buses including the six electric vehicles, Falkirk-based ADL will build 97 vehicles including 60 double-deckers and Volvo Group UK will build six coaches.