Ensignbus and Vantage Power team up to offer retrofit hybrids

Ensignbus and Vantage Power have agree a strategic partnership, in which Vantage Power’s B320 diesel-electric hybrid powertrain will be retrofitted and tested in double-decker buses. .

The retrofit hybrid system can be fitted in all four of the most popular double-deck models. If successful, the system will enable bus operators to make best use of their existing fleet without having to buy expensive new buses.

A unique element of the B320 system is an exhaust gas energy recovery system – a significant fuel saving approach never used before in hybrid-electric bus powertrains.

The partnership between Ensign and London-based engineering firm Vantage has evolved over the past year. It includes the provision of extensive engineering support in addition to testing the B320-powered vehicles in Ensign’s own fleet. This will allow these vehicles to be operated in a real-world environment, while providing an opportunity for potential customers to see the product in service.

Ensignbus Engineering Director Brian Longley says: “We are committed to the introduction of cost-effective hybrids into the used bus market. The partnership with Vantage will enable us to bring the enhanced comfort, lower emissions and improved cost of ownership to bus operators across the UK through our used bus sales channel.”

Ensign is ideally placed to deploy hybrid technology in this market. With 40 years’ experience working with bus operators across the UK, now selling close to 1,000 buses per year through its dealership operation, it also has its own fleet of around 100 buses deployed on local services around Thurrock, on rail replacement and on private hire, including vehicles from its large vintage bus collection.

Vantage Power’s founders have a long history in the development of electric and hybrid systems. Prior to forming Vantage Power, they founded the Racing Green project, which built the world’s longest range electric car.