London’s open-top tour buses to be electrified by Equipmake

10 of the Tour buses will be converted from diesel to fully electric, with each conversion saving 90 tonnes of CO2 in comparison to a newly manufactured electric bus

You can now hop on one of the double-decker, open-top buses tour buses in London without worrying about polluting the environment, as Equipmake is set to electrify 10 buses in Big Bus Tours fleet.

With its cutting edge electric zero emission electric drivetrain technology, Equipmake will convert the buses from diesel to fully electric. And in an even better move for the environment, it’s been revealed that each of the ten conversions will save approximately 90 tonnes of embedded carbon dioxide or CO2, in comparison to a newly manufactured electric double deck bus.

The 10 vehicles scheduled for repowering are all Ankai double-deck sightseeing buses – and each will be converted to incorporate Equipmake’s cutting-edge Zero-Emission Drivetrain (ZED) technology. It will feature a 327kWh capacity battery, providing in excess of 120-mile daily range, enough to take hundreds of tourists around on a sightseeing journey of the capital.

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Ian Foley, CEO of Equipmake, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Big Bus Tours as it continues to make its fleet more sustainable. It’s fantastic to work with companies that share a forward-thinking mindset and recognise the immense advantages of repowering.

“By choosing to repower, Big Bus Tours will not only benefit from an excellent opportunity to achieve net-zero targets and play a key role in improving local air quality, but also make significant operating cost savings over the purchase of a new electric bus.”

London will have electric tour buses by early 2024

Gerry Price, Executive Vice President at Big Bus Tours, added: “Our partnership with Equipmake will significantly support us as we transition our fleet to zero emissions. The state-of-the-art technology it has developed and its shared commitment to sustainability makes this a hugely exciting opportunity for us.

“Through innovations like this, we will be playing our part in improving the capital’s air quality and giving the hundreds of thousands of tourists who use our sightseeing services every year an even more enjoyable experience.”

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The first bus is supposed to enter service as soon as the Q1 of 2024, hopefully just in time for the winter and showers to subside and give way to hopefully slightly more generous spring, perfect to enjoy a tour around London on an open-deck bus.

Each Equipmake repower is completely bespoke to the requirements of the specific vehicle with service routes simulated to ensure the optimum battery level is selected, and that required mileage is achievable.

The ZED, Eequimake’s latest electric drivetrain was recently unveiled at the Busworld 2023. The company, which has years of experience in designing and manufacturing electric powertrain, said that the ZED is completely modular and scalable. This means that the powertrains, along with the in-house motor, inverter and lithium-ion batteries can be used in the future to be fitted into single and double-decker buses as well.

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.

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.

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