State-of-the-art electric double-decker bus launches

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Commercial vehicle electrification specialist, Equipmake, has launched a state-of-the-art electric bus, Jewel E, in partnership with Spanish coachbuilder Beulas. With up to 250 miles of range it claims to be the longest of any electric double-decker in the world.

Featuring a cutting-edge British-built electric powertrain designed and developed at Equipmake’s purpose-built facility in Norfolk, with the body produced by Beulas in Girona, Spain, Jewel E is an electric double-decker bus that aims to help to reduce local emissions in urban environments, improve air quality and reduce running costs for operators.

It also is designed to help meet ever-increasing demand: the global electric bus market is expected to accelerate from 300,000 vehicles per annum to one million by 2030. Set to be manufactured in 2022 at an all-new facility in Norfolk, Jewel E will not only bring new jobs to the area but play a key role in helping UK Government achieve its target of introducing at least 4,000 more British-built zero emission buses into the UK market by 2024, through its Bus Back Better national strategy.

Powering the bus is Equipmake’s propulsion technology – Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED) – which is modular and scaleable, capable of supporting different bus sizes. ZED is already being used in single decker form on the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of an Equipmake partnership with Agrale.

Packaged according to specific applications to optimize space for battery/kWh, ZED now underpins Jewel E – the next step in Equipmake’s strategic plan to grow its line-up of advanced electric powertrains and vehicles.

Integrated into the Jewel E chassis ZED is the company’s HTM 3500 motor, which combines high torque with low motor speeds, and is fitted directly onto the propshaft negating the need for a separate gearbox.

Producing maximum torque of 3,500Nm at just 1,000rpm and offering maximum power of 400kW, it is driven by a Semikron SKAI inverter with energy stored in a variety of customer-specified lithium-ion battery pack options of up to 543kWh, the largest battery of any single axle double decker electric bus in the world, giving a maximum range of up to 250 miles, enabling more than enough daily operating mileage.

Jewel E efficiency is made possible by its thermal management system, which keeps the motor, inverter and battery at optimum operating temperature, featuring a water-glycol cooling circuit augmented by the capture of thermal energy to heat the interior in cold conditions. When the battery is depleted it can be recharged at the depot overnight using a CSS DC charging point.

In London alone, buses on the capital city’s streets cover over 475 million kilometers a year, keeping people mobile and connected, forming an integral part of the transport network. Specifically developed for demanding daily usage cycles, Jewel E is the first EV bus to meet the latest Transport for London (TfL) bus safety standard specifications and requirements for 2024, including enhanced safety features to give the public, drivers and passengers piece of mind. It is suitable for operation in both London and the surrounding UK provinces.

Equipmake has worked with Spanish coachbuilder Beulas, which has manufactured the Jewel E double-decker body. Testing of Jewel E begins in Q4 2021 with in-service trials expected to take place in Q1 2022. Manufacture and sales of Jewel E will begin in 2022.

Ian Foley, Managing Director, Equipmake said: “Improving urban air quality is a global problem. At the same time, operators want vehicles that are cost-effective and highly efficient, while Governments and local bodies need bus manufacturers to bring advanced technology to market quickly. Equipmake has taken all of this into account and the result is our innovative new EV double-decker, Jewel E.

“Featuring our cutting-edge ZED powertrain, it has up to 250 miles electric range, yet is cost-effective too. Set to be built at an all-new manufacturing facility near to our home in Snetterton, Norfolk, it will bring new jobs to the local area and has the potential to play a crucial role in supporting the Government’s commitment to introduce 4,000 EV buses in the coming three years. What’s more it’s also the first EV bus to meet TfL’s tough 2024 regulations too. And with demand increasing globally for electric buses, we believe it provides the right solution both nationally and internationally.”

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