Equipmake doubles fleet repower agreement

Equipmake has doubled its fleet repowering agreement with Big Bus Tours to include a fleet of 20 vehicles.

It follows an initial contract with Big Bus Tours to repower 10 double-deck, open-top buses with Equipmake’s electric zero emission electric drivetrain technology.

Big Bus Tours provides open-top tour buses for London tourists.

All 20 vehicles are Ankai double-deck sightseeing buses – and each will be converted to incorporate Equipmake’s Zero-Emission Drivetrain (ZED) technology, which in this specification features a 327kWh capacity battery, providing a 120-mile daily range. The entire repowered fleet will be delivered by January 2025, with three buses delivered by May 2024, and two per month thereafter. The first is set to enter service in Q1 2024.

Each Equipmake repower is bespoke to the requirements of the specific vehicle with service routes simulated to ensure the optimum battery level is selected, and that required mileage is achievable.

The ZED, which is modular and scalable and can be applied to single as well as double-decker buses, features Equipmake’s in-house developed electric motor, inverter, and power electronics, combined with lithium-ion batteries. In addition, one of its most important features is Equipmake’s patented ultra-efficient thermal management system, which is said to maintain the battery pack, motor, and inverter at an optimum operating temperature, maximising vehicle range.

Featuring an advanced water-glycol cooling circuit, the system has the added benefit of providing interior heating during cold conditions with captured thermal energy. When the battery is depleted at the end of a complete duty cycle, it can be recharged at the depot overnight via a CSS DC charging point.

By choosing to repower existing buses using Equipmake’s technology and methods, cost and environmental benefits are achievable.

According to Equipmake, repurposing an existing bus chassis and body can save 90 tonnes of embedded CO2, in comparison to producing brand new electric double deck buses. Each conversion costs less than half of a new electric bus, and with most buses in service for 14 years or more, operators can make significant savings by repowering a bus halfway through its operational life.

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