Norfolk-based Equipmake has opened a new factory in Snetterton, where it will design and manufacture its fully integrated electric-bus powertrain for an increasingly international customer base.
Previously based in Hethel, the business has grown rapidly over the last two years, as bus companies around the world move quickly towards electric vehicles (EVs).
purpose-built facility on the Snetterton Business Park was officially opened by Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, in December.
Equipmake’s innovative electric-bus chassis allows any bus or coach builder to become a full electric-bus manufacturer almost overnight.
The company has already forged partnerships with companies in Brazil, Argentina and India, and its UK staff total has grown from 15 people to 52 in a little over two years.
It has also developed an ultra-compact lightweight high-performance ‘spoke’ electric motor, the APM200, which is used by Equipmake’s EBus chassis and will also power the upcoming Ariel Hipercar.
Equipmake has completed the final testing phase of its single-decker EBus platform in the UK, and in-service trials are now due to begin.
Brazilian commercial-vehicle manufacturer Agrale will launch its electric bus in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 2021.
Thanks to efficient management of its heating and cooling system, the bus — a 12m single-deck model capable of carrying 70 passengers – will have enough electric range for one day’s running without recharging. A standard three-phase supply will fully charge the vehicle overnight in around 5hr.
Equipmake managing director Ian Foley (www.equipmake.co.uk
) said: “Our EBus chassis is efficient and cost-effective; within eight to 10 years, it will be cheaper to run than a conventional diesel.
"Manufacture of the powertrain will be scaled up dramatically over the next few years, and our target is 700 EBus chassis for South America alone in the first year of production.
"That is why our new bespoke facility here in Snetterton is so important; it is crucial to fulfilling requirements from international customers for both single- and double-decker applications.”