Here’s how this company turns diesel buses into electric buses

Kleanbus, which just completed its first prototype vehicle, strips diesel engines out of five- to 10-year-old buses and replaces them with electric powertrains.

From diesel to electric buses

UK-based Kleanbus’s “e-drivetrain in a box” can convert both single or double-decker buses from diesel to fully electric, and the company says its process is quick and cost-effective.

Once a model type e-drivetrain has been designed and tested, Kleanbus says it takes less than two weeks to repower an individual bus.

Costwise, the company claims that up to five legacy buses can be converted for the same cost as purchasing one new electric bus.

Its first prototype is in an Optare Solo (pictured above), which is a single-decker bus made in the UK. Testing of the newly electric Optare Solo will now kick off, and bus fleet operators will start pilot trials this month.

Kleanbus’ e-powertrains are built to specification. First, Kleanbus staff undertake a full base vehicle evaluation at its 9,000-square-foot facility in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. They analyze operator duty cycles and model a conceptual drivetrain using simulation.

At the same time, they remove the bus’ diesel engine and all associated systems.

Vehicle chassis and body modifications are kept to a minimum since each retrofit is engineered to fit the former diesel engine space, but the company can do internal and/or external refurbishment if the client wants it.

Kleanbus then creates a bespoke electric drivetrain platform, and the bus’s dashboard is also refitted with new technology.

Once prototypes are created, they’re tested ahead of certification. The company has achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 automotive industry certifications.

Joe Tighe, cofounder and CEO of Kleanbus, adds:

Kleanbus… 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.

Electrek’s Take

This is a fairly young company with a solid idea, and said idea doesn’t have to be completely unique to be solid.

As of December it had more than £500,000 of existing angel investment, and it also raised nearly £414,000 on Crowdcube – far surpassing its target of £250,000.

Retrofitting existing buses rather than scrapping them just makes sense to cut down on landfill waste. It’s also more cost effective. The quicker and more cheaply we can get diesel buses off the road, the better.

My only question is, how will the buses get serviced or repaired if each company has a bespoke system. Will Kleanbus do it?

I’ll definitely be watching this company with great interest.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.