First Bus upgrades 220 buses with Allison’s xFE transmission

Allison Transmission will supply 220 T2100 xFE transmissions to First Bus to retrofit all its ADL Enviro 200, Optare Solo and Optare Versa buses that are currently equipped with Allison’s T2100 transmission. The contract follows trials, which showed improved fuel consumption by 8.5 per cent when upgraded with xFE technology. Allison says that fuel savings are expected to pay back the investment in the new transmissions in less than 13 months.

First Bus conducted its xFE study across the UK throughout 2020 on nine ADL Enviro 200 buses and one Optare Solo. Most of these vehicles were 12 years old and were fitted with xFE at the point of their final routine transmission replacement.

“As part of our focus on becoming a leader in the transition to a low-carbon future for public transportation, First Bus has committed to ceasing the purchase of any new diesel buses after 2022,” says Peter Mambara, technical manager, FirstGroup. “However, we recognised xFE as a stepping-stone technology on the path to full electrification. We had seen stories of other fleets achieving 7-8 per cent fuel savings from xFE in urban driving conditions, but wanted to independently assess the savings on buses that also serve on rural routes. The 8.5 per cent improvement was convincing evidence that the upgrade will help reduce our fleet’s CO2 emissions and also makes good financial sense.”

First Bus will install the xFE upgrades over the next 18 months when last-life transmission replacements are due on 142 Enviro 200s, 60 Optare Solos, and 18 Optare Versas.