Kleanbus to repower diesel Lothian Buses to electric

Kleanbus has announced a pilot project with Lothian Buses to repower and upcycle 18 of its open-top mid-life diesel vehicles to electric.

Lothian Buses, based in Edinburgh, Scotland is the largest municipal bus company in the United Kingdom. The partnership with Kleanbus marks a major step forward in the operator’s commitment to sustainability, following the recent publication of its ‘Driving towards Net Zero’ environmental strategy, which outlined Lothian’s objective of a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2035, with repowering playing a key role.

Lothian Buses’ existing fleet replacement programme has seen the removal of around 12,000 tonnes of CO2 from its carbon footprint in a ten-year period and the first phase of the new strategy, from now until end of 2025, is dedicated to fleet investment and infrastructure.

The decision to repower, as well as replace, is a viable option, enabling operators to upcycle their existing fleets, negating the purchase of new, highly expensive electric buses, while also avoiding needless scrappage. Repowering also extends the life of the buses, which can be in operation for many years to come, further repaying their embodied carbon.

Joe Tighe, Co-founder, and CEO of Kleanbus, said: “The need for zero-emission buses from operators is reaching critical levels. In identifying the huge potential of repowering its existing buses with our state-of-the-art electric powertrain, Lothian is setting a leading example with this groundbreaking initiative. Our technology is an ideal solution for quick, cost-effective, and optimum use of resources. Upcycling is the most environmentally friendly solution to transform a current diesel fleet as it avoids unnecessary scrappage. We are delighted to be supporting Lothian Buses’ work on converting the first bus to aid its industry-leading net zero strategy.”

Colin Barnes, Engineering Director, Lothian, added: “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Kleanbus on this initiative, marking an exciting next chapter in Lothian’s journey to reduce emissions and achieve our net zero goals. Repowering has a vital role to play in our Driving towards Net Zero strategy as we transition to an all-zero emission fleet. Lothian is committed to bolstering the efforts of the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council to enhance local air quality. Working with Kleanbus to upcycle current diesel buses to electric helps us to accelerate our transition to a more environmentally friendly transportation network at pace and accelerate our net zero plan.”

The Kleanbus repower programme begins with a full base vehicle evaluation and analysis of operator duty cycles, enabling a conceptual drivetrain to be modelled and validated through simulation. In parallel, the diesel engine and all associated systems are removed. The packaging space is fully CAD scanned and digitised to create a bespoke electric e-drivetrain in a box platform that perfectly fits the engine compartment. Once prototypes are created, they are subjected to a rigorous test and validation programme ahead of certification.

The Volvo B5TL buses that have been identified for the pilot will be repowered using Kleanbus’ advanced modular electric platform featuring an optimised battery size to perfectly suit its duty cycle without overburdening the vehicle with unnecessary weight, which would otherwise waste energy.

Kleanbus’ e-powertrain module (EPM) combines proven components from leading Tier 1 suppliers with Kleanbus’ own integration technology and proprietary software. The innovative solution can convert a bus, whether single or double-decker, from ICE to fully electric quickly and cost-effectively. Kleanbus’ innovative technology agnostic platform approach means it can take advantage of the very latest and best componentry, enabling it to leverage a wide variety of batteries and motors, creating purpose-built e-powertrains tailored exactly to a bus operator’s needs.

Once the e-drivetrain solution has been designed and tested, it takes less than two weeks to repower an individual bus, getting vehicles back in service in as little time as possible.

With its pending B Corp status, sustainability and responsibility is at the forefront of Kleanbus’ operations, underlining Kleanbus’ high-quality manufacturing standards, it has achieved the internationally recognised ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 automotive industry certifications for its world-class products and practices. The ISO 9001 certification represents the quality management standard set within Kleanbus’ operation with products meeting customer expectations, while ISO 14001 is awarded for Kleanbus’ environmental standards and its commitment to reducing its environmental impact. The battery chemistry it uses is LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate), which is widely considered the safest option for EV batteries.

Kleanbus also provides the complete solution to bus operators, with innovative financing and charging as part of the total package, making it easy to go zero emission. The potential for repowering is huge with lower operating costs for bus operators and accelerating the transition to a clean future. 

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