Equipmake and Beulas join forces with new electric ‘decker

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Norfolk-based commercial vehicle electrification specialist Equipmake is launching an electric double-decker bus in partnership with Spanish coachbuilder Beulas. To be called the Jewel E, the new bus has a claimed range of up to 250 miles, which the firm says is the longest of any electric double-decker in the world. Featuring a British-built electric powertrain designed and developed at Equipmake’s purpose-built facility in Norfolk, the body has been produced by Beulas in Girona, Spain.

Set to be manufactured in 2022 at an all-new facility in Norfolk, Equipmake said the Jewel E will not only bring new jobs to the area but play a key role in helping the UK Government achieve its target of introducing at least 4,000 more British-built zero emission buses into the UK market by 2024.

The bus uses Equipmake’s Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED), which is modular and scalable, capable of supporting different bus sizes. The ZED is already being used in single decker form on the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of an Equipmake partnership with South American manufacturer Agrale.

The Jewel E uses the company’s HTM 3500 motor fitted directly onto the propshaft negating the need for a separate gearbox. Producing maximum torque of 3,500Nm at 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. Equipmake believes the battery offers the largest capacity of any double-decker available worldwide.

The Jewel E promises ‘one of the most efficient thermal management systems on the market,’ to keep 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. Recharging will take place at the depot overnight via a CSS DC charging point.

Developed with the London market in mind, the Jewel E meets the TfL bus safety standard specifications and requirements for 2024, including enhanced safety features for the public, drivers and passengers. Despite earlier plans to have UK prototypes bodied by Agrale, which supplied the bodywork on the firm’s left hand drive test vehicle, Equipmake has worked with Spanish coachbuilder Beulas to fit the Jewel E double decker body. Testing is scheduled to begin in Q4 of 2021 with in-service trials expected to take place in early 2022 prior to production starting.

Ian Foley, Managing Director of 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, the 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.”

Dolors Beulas, Managing Director of Beulas said: “We are delighted to be working with Equipmake on this innovative project. Its Zero Emission Drivetrain is state-of-the-art, offering exceptional efficiency yet is cost-effective too.”

Equipmake provides EV technology to automotive OEMs and specialist supercar makers, producing high-performance electric motors, inverters and power electronic systems, and complete EV drivetrains, across multiple segments of the market. It has a purpose-built R&D facility next to the Snetterton motor racing circuit, providing the capability to design, test and manufacture everything from motors to fully electrified platforms.

The new Jewel E to London specification. EQUIPMAKE