Equipmake repowers New Routemaster

Electrification specialist Equipmake has shown a zero-emission version of the New Routemaster double-decker bus.

Unveiled on Equipmake’s stand at Euro Bus Expo, the clean, green New Routemaster has had its hybrid drivetrain completely replaced with Equipmake’s Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED), which uses 95% British-built component content.

Pre-service trials have started in London, operated by Metroline. The electric version of the New Routemaster will continue to be assessed over the next six months. The programme will deliver valuable test data as Transport for London (TfL) continues to evaluate a range of clean technologies.

Charging infrastructure at Metroline’s Holloway depot, alongside battery data analytics for the bus, is being provided by Zenobē, the EV fleet and battery storage specialist.

The repowered New Routemaster, developed by Equipmake at its base in Snetterton, Norfolk, features a 400kWh battery enabling an expected in-service range of 150 miles – more than enough for a day’s running. The development of the all-electric New Routemaster has come about thanks to a programme funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Over the coming months, Equipmake will be trialling additional repowered buses with other bus operators across the UK.

Ian Foley, CEO of Equipmake, said: “Repowering is a vital, cost-effective transitionary technology that can bridge the gap between diesel and a new electric bus fleet.”

One of the ZED’s most important features is Equipmake’s patented ultra-efficient thermal management system. This maintains all three of the ZED’s key components – 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.

Under the skin, the New Routemaster also features Equipmake’s HTM 3500 electric motor. Integrated into the prop shaft without the need for a separate transmission, the motor produces 3,500Nm torque at a motor speed of 1,000rpm.

Each Equipmake conversion is said to come in at less than half the price of a new electric bus. And with most buses expected to remain in service for 14 years or beyond, operators can still make significant efficiencies by repowering a bus halfway through its working life.

Ian Foley continued: “We know there is a clear appetite for repowering technology, with strong demand from operators, which is leading to the expansion of our facilities in Norfolk. Changes to grants for bus operators mean repowering is encouraged, and the DfT’s consultation on proposals to end the sale of new non-zero emission buses means demand for our technology will only increase.”

Earlier this year, Equipmake was awarded a contract by First Bus to fully convert 12 Optare Versa buses from existing EV Generation One systems to Equipmake’s ZED. Conversion work has been carried out on the first Versa bus at Equipmake’s Snetterton headquarters, with the first of the 12 buses expected to be back in operation on York’s roads in November.

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