Equipmake expands repower offering to coach sector with Westway deal

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The first coach to be repowered is a Van Hool T917. EQUIPMAKE

Building on its work on buses, the Norfolk-based electrification specialist Equipmake is now offering repower options to both coach and bus operators

Electrification and conversion specialist Equipmake has agreed a partnership with a London coach company to accelerate the repowering of its fleet. Having already established its technology through a number of bus fleet repower agreements, the Norfolk company is now expanding its electrification offering to the coach sector, collaborating with Westway Coaches.

Westway already operates electric coaches, and the new agreement will see Equipmake further accelerate the electrification of its fleet by converting a proportion of the firm’s existing diesel coaches to electric power with its specially-developed drivetrain technology.

The conversion of the first vehicle, a Van Hool T917, has begun at Equipmake’s headquarters in Snetterton, and in-service prototype testing is set to begin in the third quarter of the year, with the objective that further Westway vehicles will be repowered in the following months. Featuring a 545kWh battery pack, alongside an electric motor, inverter and efficiency-maximising HVAC system, all developed in-house, Equipmake’s Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED) is expected to give the repowered Van Hool T917 a range of up to 220 miles.

Equipmake CEO Ian Foley commented:“We are delighted to expand our repower offering to the coach market with the agreement of our first coach partnership with Westway Coaches. Westway is already a sustainability innovator in the sector and Equipmake will be accelerating its transition to zero emissions, with the first vehicle already converted and more set to be upgraded in the coming months.

“Repowering is an important and cost-effective technology that bridges the gap between diesel and a new electric coach fleet. It upcycles a perfectly good vehicle in the most cost-effective way, making sense for any size of fleet, and solves the conundrum faced by operators who may only be part-way through the lifecycle of a vehicle, enabling them to transition without resorting to the financial burden of a new electric coach.”

Westway Managing Director David West added: “Operating a state-of-the-art fleet that is both sustainable and socially responsible is core to Westway Coaches. We are very happy to be partnering with Equipmake, a leader in the electrification space. Its innovative technology will play a vital role in supporting our goal of running a zero-emission fleet, operating coaches powered solely by electricity. On behalf of all at Westway, I am looking forward to seeing our first repowered coach begin in-service prototype testing in Q3 and building on that with further repowered vehicles very quickly.”

Equipmake says its ZED is scalable and modular and can be applied to any coach, single- or double-deck, with bespoke systems tailored to specific customer requirements, and routes simulated during the design phase to ensure the optimum battery power level is selected to ensure driving ranges of 180 to 220 miles.

After the first vehicle has been developed, the firm says it can complete further retrofits in as little as a few days, which it says compares well against lead times of a year or more for the delivery of a new electric coach, and offers a more cost-effective option, coming in at less than half the price of a new electric coach.

For coaches, whose journeys often involve making stops in a motorway services, Equipmake sees 100kW fast-charging as a way of adding significant range in a short time, supplementing on-depot overnight charging.

Equipmake’s modern site at Snetterton. EQUIPMAKE