Equipmake has partnered with the world’s largest sightseeing company, Big Bus Tours, in a fleet deal that will see 10 double-deck, open-top buses repowered with its cutting edge electric zero emission electric drivetrain technology.
As millions of tourists arrive into the capital every week, many hop on an iconic open-top tour bus to see the city’s famous and historic sites. Supporting Big Bus Tours’ commitment to sustainability, Equipmake is working with the operator to convert a significant proportion of its existing fleet from diesel to fully electric.
The 10 vehicles scheduled for repowering are all Ankai double-deck sightseeing buses – and each will be converted to incorporate Equipmake’s cutting-edge Zero-Emission Drivetrain (ZED) technology, which in this specification features a 327kWh capacity battery, providing in excess of 120 mile daily range. The first vehicle will enter service in Q1 2024.
Ian Foley, CEO of Equipmake, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Big Bus Tours as it continues to make its fleet more sustainable. It’s fantastic to work with companies that share a forward-thinking mindset and recognise the immense advantages of repowering. By choosing to repower, Big Bus Tours will not only benefit from an excellent opportunity to achieve net-zero targets and play a key role in improving local air quality, but also make significant operating cost savings over the purchase of a new electric bus.”
Gerry Price, Executive Vice President at Big Bus Tours, added: “Our partnership with Equipmake will significantly support us as we transition our fleet to zero emissions. The state-of-the-art technology it has developed and its shared commitment to sustainability makes this a hugely exciting opportunity for us. Through innovations like this, we will be playing our part in improving the capital’s air quality and giving the hundreds of thousands of tourists who use our sightseeing services every year an even more enjoyable experience.”
Each Equipmake repower is completely bespoke to the requirements of the specific vehicle with service routes simulated to ensure the optimum battery level is selected, and that required mileage is achievable.
The ZED, which is completely modular and scalable and can be applied to single as well as double-decker buses, features Equipmake’s in-house developed electric motor, inverter, and power electronics, combined with the latest in lithium-ion batteries. In addition, one of its most important features is Equipmake’s patented ultra-efficient thermal management system, which 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.
By choosing to repower existing buses using Equipmake’s revolutionary technology and methods, significant cost and environmental benefits are achievable. Repurposing an existing bus chassis and body can save 90 tonnes of embedded CO2, in comparison to producing brand new electric double deck buses. Each conversion costs less than half of a new electric bus, and with most buses in service for 14 years or more, operators can make significant savings by repowering a bus halfway through its operational life.