Many debates are taking place about the potential impact of the deadline for incoming non-zero-emission bus orders on the resale market of used diesel buses.
Even if new sales are limited to zero-emission buses, some think the value of diesel could grow if the closing date for recent sales is fixed too early (ZEBs). As there is already an oversupply of diesel buses on the market, some anticipate that prices will decline due to local legislation and competing conditions requiring zero-emission buses.
The repowering of electric buses could serve as a ‘taste’ of zero-emission transportation. Operators have expressed a desire to roll out ZEBs at a slower rate as current organizational and cultural practices continue to develop with the advancement of technology. ZEBs are taking longer to implement than new diesel because of supply issues in the market and the large lead times for updating and installing network connections.
Because of this, as well as finance shortages resulting from decreased passenger traffic following COVID-19 and the custom of purchasing vehicles altogether, operators are exercising caution. The conversion or repowering of diesel buses to zero-emission cars may be one method that can assist operators in overcoming some of these challenges.
The operator can get a ZEB at a reduced starting cost by swapping out the diesel engine for a zero-emission drivetrain, enhancing the bus’s resale value and cutting down on maintenance and fuel expenses. Another benefit of repowering is that it enables smaller businesses to understand zero-emission operations without making a complete commitment. Employees can adopt ZEB technology and procedures without changing the entire depot or route.
In the UK, there are just a few repowering projects in existence. Since the beginning, the most important experiences have revolved around finding the right vehicle (i.e., one that isn’t too old) and possibly investing in refurbishing critical pieces, including a new drive axle.
The demand for ZE retrofits in the middle years is increasing. This year, there are three ZEB repower manufacturers with products ready to go into production. As an element of the Teesside Hydrogen Transport Hub, Ricardo will be putting its hydrogen fuel cell-electric repowering technology to the test in the upcoming days.