The £81m order, placed with UK manufacturer Wrightbus and totalling 193 buses, is the largest EV bus purchase outside of London and will see new zero emission buses being rolled out across England from March 2023.

The bus operator will invest £43m in the new vehicles and will be supported to complete the electric fleet project with a £38m grant from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) funding scheme.

In order to secure the funding, First Bus worked closely to with Leicester City Council, City of York Council, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Norfolk County Council, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council.

First Bus UK, managing director, Janette Bell, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to place our largest ever zero emission vehicle order and to do so with a UK manufacturer. Wrightbus have a really exciting product that we feel will enhance the customer experience at the same time as benefitting the environment.

‘As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the Government’s ambitions for a net-zero carbon transport system, including zero-emission bus fleets. We will continue to work closely with central and local government across the UK to support the delivery of our shared decarbonisation ambitions and commitments.’

Transport minister Baroness Vere commented: ‘It’s fantastic to see First Bus place the largest ever order of electric buses outside London, thanks to investment from our £270m scheme.

‘This marks a key stepping-stone towards our National Bus Strategy commitment of funding 4,000 zero-emissions buses, as we decarbonise and level up transport across the country.

‘Not only does it drive forward our journey to Net Zero, but will also support hundreds of green, high-skilled jobs in the UK.’