The first of the 12 buses is expected to be back in operation on the roads of York in November, said the company. Equipmake expects each converted bus to have a range of 150 miles in all UK weather conditions because of a larger battery and a patented HVAC system that can extend the life of existing zero-emissions public transport. Both single-deckers, such as the Versa, and double-deckers, can be repurposed to incorporate Equipmake’s drivetrain.
Equipmake repowers are tailored to specific requirements provided by the operator, with service routes simulated to ensure the optimum battery power level is selected to secure driving ranges of 150 to 250 miles. This range is more than sufficient for a complete duty cycle, allowing buses to be recharged faster, overnight and operate for longer during the day.
“This technology can facilitate a significant reduction in air pollution across the country,” said Ian Foley, CEO, Equipmake.
Equipmake said each conversion costs less than half the cost of a new electric bus. Work is already underway on the first Versa conversion at Equipmake’s headquarters in Snetterton, Norfolk, and following the successful trial, 11 more buses will be repowered, it said.
“These 12 repowered buses use a clever and cost-effective technology, which underlines our commitment to offer sustainable transport solutions,” said Garry Birmingham, Director for Decarbonisation at First Bus, which has pledged to operate a full zero emission fleet by 2035.
The retrofitting of First Bus’s older electric buses is an example of how to maximise the lifespan of a bus, beyond 15 years, and reduce the embodied carbon associated with manufacturing new vehicles, the Director said.