Equipmake debuts battery-electric repower on Volvo B5LH

Volvo B5LH with Equipmake battery electric repower package

Equipmake has debuted the first bus to receive its battery-electric repower package in the form of a Volvo B5LH double-decker. It was shown at the ALBUM conference in Blackpool on 26-27 April.

The former Preston Bus vehicle dates from 2013 and was built as a diesel-electric parallel hybrid. It now has the same electric driveline fitted by Equipmake to its Jewel E battery-electric double-decker. That includes the HTM-3500 single motor that delivers a maximum of 400kW. Battery capacity is 382kW/h and DC charging is via a CCS2 connection. 

The Snetterton manufacturer says it is working on repowers for other models. It has underlined a belief first expressed by Managing Director Ian Foley in February 2021 that retrofitting existing diesel-fuelled vehicles to achieve zero emissions will play an “important and cost effective” part of the bus industry’s decarbonisation. 

Equipmake adds that its repower programme involves an inspection of each bus type to ensure its adaptability to the scalable zero-emission driveline. When in full swing, up to five such conversions per week will be completed by the OEM, with a focus on ensuring that those vehicles are out of service for as short a period as possible. 

Each repower is tailored to the operator’s requirements. Equipmake adds that guaranteed ranges of between 150-250 miles are achievable. The work costs less than half the price of a new battery-electric bus, it continues, which makes viable the repower of a diesel or diesel-electric hybrid bus “halfway through its working life.”

Equipmake battery electric repower on a Volvo B5LH
Equipmake will use a ‘plug in’ battery-electric repower package to convert diesel buses to zero-emission; more vehicle models will follow

Adds Mr Foley: “Repowering is an important and cost-effective transitionary technology that can bridge the gap between diesel and a new electric bus fleet.

“We are delighted to showcase our new double-decker repower system, unveiled for the first time at the ALBUM conference on a Volvo B5LH. 

“We know that there is a clear appetite for the technology, with strong demand from operators, which is leading to the expansion of our facilities in Norfolk. Alongside recent changes to BSOG [in England], we believe that interest will only increase and, next to the associated financial benefits of a repowered bus, such vehicles can very quickly bring cleaner air to every town and city in the UK.”