Marking the first overseas on-road trial of an Equipmake-developed electric bus, the single decker is set to start in-service running in Argentina’s capital in the third quarter of this year.
Snetterton-based Equipmake led a consortium in the development of the vehicle, which was part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre-funded CELEB (Cost Effective Low Entry Bus) project to deliver a cost-effective bus for the South American market.
Working with Brazilian bus manufacturer Agrale and Argentinian coachbuilder Todo Bus, Equipmake has developed an electric version of the Agrale MT17.0LE single decker that includes the company’s Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED). This
modular and scalable battery drivetrain is the same technology used in Jewel E, the company’s London-specification double decker bus.
The Agrale MT17.0LE project features a bespoke Equipmake ZED with a 318kWh lithium-ion battery, Equipmake’s HTM 3500 electric motor – producing 3,500Nm torque at 1,000rpm and 400kW maximum power, integrated into the prop shaft without the need for a separate transmission – and a Semikron SKAI inverter.
Over the last 12 months, Equipmake’s engineering team has put the new bus through an extensive durability programme in and around Norfolk, with thousands of test miles completed on proving grounds, city centres and on motorways.
Equipmake estimates the new electric Agrale MT17.0LE will have a range of up to 150 miles (240km). When the battery is depleted it can be recharged overnight with a CSS2 DC charging point.
The Equipmake ZED-powered Agrale MT17.0LE, a 12m single deck model capable of carrying 70 passengers, will be operated over the next 12 months by DOTA S.A., the largest bus operator in Buenos Aires. Following the completion of the trial, the objective is for mass manufacture to begin in Buenos Aires with Agrale and Todo Bus using licenced Equipmake ZED technology.
In a statement, Ian Foley, managing director of Equipmake, said: “On behalf of everyone at Equipmake I am delighted that, following the completion of final testing here in Norfolk, the Agrale MT17.0LE featuring our ZED system, now begins its journey to Buenos Aires for in-service trials. Through this innovative Advanced Propulsion Centre-funded project, we have worked closely with Agrale and Todo Bus along with other key partners, and the result is a state-of-the-art yet cost-effective bus.
“We are now looking forward to the start of the trial and the potential for this new vehicle is huge. Buenos Aires has around 16,000 buses on its streets – roughly twice the size of London’s fleet. There’s no doubt that electric buses can play a significant role in helping Argentina’s capital hit its 2050 net zero objective.”