New electric chassis for double-decker buses unveiled

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Electric double-decker buses have the potential to be one of the most effective forms of zero emission transportation, however until now creating a cost-effective powertrain platform for them has been a challenge.

Revealed at this year’s Busworld Europe, the world’s largest bus and coach show, was a new integrated chassis from UK electrification company Equipmake that simplifies the process for coachbuilders to create electric buses.

The new low floor version of Equipmake’s EBus electric chassis is designed for double-decker buses is designed and developed in Norfolk, UK, and has been in development and testing for the past 12 months

The EBus uses two of Equipmake’s APM200 spoke motors, which have been developed from F1 technology, and each produce 220kW and 450Nm of torque. They are mated to a two-speed gearbox, while proven Semikron SKAI inverters and the latest generation lithium-ion battery cells complete the fully integrated platform.

Energy efficiency is key to making an all-electric bus a viable option for operators, and a large part of providing enough range for a day’s service is through thermal management. The EBus drivetrain employs innovations in the heating and cooling of the vehicle to maximize efficiency that Equipmake claims will have enough range for a day’s use so it won’t have to be as reliant on infrastructure. When it does come to charging, the EBus can use a standard three-phase power supply to charge in five hours, or it does support fast charging.

“Electric buses are one of the most effective ways to reduce urban pollution, but until now they have been prohibitively expensive. Equipmake’s EBus platform changes that. It is a cost-effective, highly efficient and completely-integrated chassis that allows any coachbuilder to become an electric bus manufacturer – regardless of how much EV knowledge they have,” said Ian Foley, managing director of Equipmake.

“There is a significant demand for clean, affordable electric buses – the global market is around 300,000 vehicles per annum – and that is only growing. Manufacture of Equipmake’s EBus powertrains will scale dramatically over the next few years, so much so that we will be moving to a new bespoke facility next month. We expect to build 700 single decker EBus drivetrains for Agrale in the first year of production but we are already seeing major demand from markets all over the world, making our new factory crucial to fulfilling requirements for both single and double decker applications.”

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