Equipmake electric bus heads to Buenos Aires for in-service trials

An electric bus developed by Equipmake in the UK is to undergo in-service trials in Buenos Aires. Developed as part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre-funded CELEB (Cost Effective Low Entry Bus) project – in which Equipmake has led multiple international partners over the last three years – the objective of the program has been to deliver a cost-effective bus designed for the South American market.

Working with Brazilian bus manufacturer Agrale and Argentinian coachbuilder Todo Bus, Equipmake has developed an electric version of the Agrale MT17.0LE single-deck bus, installing its own Zero Emission Drivetrain. 

The Agrale MT17.0LE project features a bespoke Equipmake ZED with a 318kWh lithium-ion battery, Equipmake’s own HTM 3500 electric motor – producing 3,500Nm torque at 1,000rpm and 400kW maximum power, integrated into the prop shaft without the need for a separate transmission – and a Semikron SKAI inverter. 

Over the last 12 months, Equipmake’s engineering team has put the new bus through an extensive durability programme in and around Norfolk, with thousands of test miles completed on proving grounds, city centres and motorways. Equipmake estimates the new electric Agrale MT17.0LE will have a range of up to 150 miles (240km). Charging will be carried out at a depot overnight via a CSS2 DC charging point.

The electric Agrale, capable of carrying 70 passengers, will be operated over the next 12 months by DOTA, the largest bus operator in Buenos Aires. Following the successful completion of the trial, the objective is for mass manufacture to begin in Buenos Aires with Agrale and Todo Bus, using licensed Equipmake ZED technology. 

Ian Foley, managing director, Equipmake, says: “On behalf of everyone at Equipmake I am delighted that, following the completion of final testing here in Norfolk, the Agrale MT17.0LE featuring our ZED system, now begins its journey to Buenos Aires for in-service trials. Through this innovative Advanced Propulsion Centre-funded project, we have worked closely with Agrale and Todo Bus along with other key partners, and the result is a state-of-the-art yet cost-effective bus. 

“We are now looking forward to the start of the trial and the potential for this new vehicle is huge. Buenos Aires has around 16,000 buses on its streets – roughly twice the size of London’s fleet. There’s no doubt that electric buses can play a significant role in helping Argentina’s capital hit its 2050 net zero objective.” 

Equipmake’s ZED system is also used in the Jewel E double-deck electric bus developed with Spanish bus builder Beulas which will begin in-service trials with London’s largest bus operator, Go-Ahead, in the coming months.