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First York puts 12-strong upgraded electric bus fleet into service

Posted on 10 Apr 2024. Read 599 times.
First York puts 12-strong upgraded electric bus fleet into serviceEquipmake, the UK-based engineering specialist pioneering the development and production of electrification products across the automotive, aerospace, bus, coach, and marine industries is working in partnership with First York and has delivered a fleet of 12 upgraded electric buses with all vehicles now in full operation in the city.

The Optare Versa singe-deck models have been converted by Equipmake, incorporating the company’s cutting-edge Zero-Emission Drivetrain (ZED) technology, which in this specification, features a 274kWh capacity battery, providing a range of 150 miles in all UK weather conditions.

The delivery follows on from a successful trial of an initial converted prototype vehicle, which allowed engineering teams at First York and Equipmake to evaluate its performance and make any final adjustments. The completed 12 buses are now in full, reliable service across the city playing a key role in improving York’s urban air quality.

Stuart Eyre, engineering manager at First York, said: “Following a successful initial trial, it is great to see this new fleet of 12 upgraded, all-electric buses operational across York. Equipmake’s repower technology is an important step in our transition to achieving a fully electric fleet in York, continuing to help improve air quality in the city and supporting the goal of First Bus nationally to have a zero-emission fleet by 2035.”

Excellent opportunity

Equipmake’s CEO Ian Foley said: “We are delighted this 12-strong fleet of repowered Optare Versas is now operating in the city for First York, all featuring our ‘state of the art’ electric drivetrain. This is fantastic news for passengers and the people of York, making a significant contribution to local air quality. For operators, repowering existing buses offers an excellent opportunity to achieve zero-emission targets, while making significant cost savings at the same time.”

Equipmake repowers are tailored to specific requirements provided by the operator, with service routes simulated to ensure the optimum battery power level is selected to secure driving ranges of 150 to 250 miles. This range is more than sufficient for a complete duty cycle, allowing buses to be recharged faster, overnight and operate for longer during the day.

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 provides 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. 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.