Argentina to get electric buses

Equipmake has announced that it has signed a partnership with Brazilian commercial vehicle manufacturer, Agrale, to engineer a powertrain for a new electric bus, which will go on sale in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2020.

Development of this new vehicle will take place at Equipmake’s base in Hethel, Norfolk, with Equipmake responsible for developing the whole powertrain, providing the electric motors, power control and battery integration systems.

The Equipmake EBus drivetrain will feature two APM200 motors at its heart. These motors will be mated to Semikron SKAI inverters, while battery technology will be provided by the latest generation lithium-ion cells.

The EBus drivetrain will feature several innovations, improving vehicle range and reducing capital cost. By optimising the heating and cooling of the vehicle and maximising overall energy efficiency, the bus will have enough range for one day’s running without the need for charging – equating to around 200 miles.

To charge the vehicle, the operator needs access to a standard three-phase supply, which will fully charge the vehicle in around five hours. However, the powertrain does also support fast charging – and has an onboard charger.

Equipmake has also arranged the batteries in modular packages. The bus is based on the Agrale MT17, a 12m single deck model capable of carrying 70 passengers. Overall weight of the new electric bus will be the same as the diesel version.

The £2.5m development project is being supported by funding from Innovate UK and will see the first prototype vehicles testing in the UK in autumn 2018, with in-service testing starting in 2019 ahead of a projected on-sale date in 2020.

Ian Foley, managing director of Equipmake said, ‘This is a very exciting announcement. We are very happy to be working with Agrale, one of South America’s leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles. We have always prided ourselves on our ability to offer the complete EV drivetrain solution and this project will allow us to show off all of our skills, of which proprietary technology such as the APM200 spoke motor is a very important part.’