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London’s New Routemaster bus goes all-electric with ‘repowered’ retrofit

Norfolk based Equipmake reveals a conversion kit for the New Routemaster that makes diesel-hybrid bus fully-electric

When the original AEC Routemaster was replaced with the New Routemaster as London’s red double-decker bus, it was framed as a new, greener era for ground-level transport around the city. But now, a Norfolk based electric engineering firm wants to take things one step further for the iconic red bus. 

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Equipmake has come up with this: the ‘repowered’ New Routemaster. As you’ve probably already guessed it has been retrofitted with an all-electric powertrain, replacing the diesel-hybrid setup the bus has used since it was introduced into service.

Back in 2012, diesel was firmly part of the eco-friendly transportation zeitgeist but a lot has changed in ten years. The notion of a fully-electric bus for London would have been deemed far too ambitious and expensive in 2012, but Equipmake hopes that the repowered New Routemaster could convince bus operators to switch to a fleet retrofitted with electric power in the short term. The scheme is being presented as a quicker and more cost-effective option than buying brand new electric buses. 

The bus undergoes its retrofit at Equipmake headquarters in Snetterton, using a modular battery and drivetrain system. The company says that this zero-emissions drivetrain can be used in a variety of existing diesel and hybrid bus models. 

In the case of the New Routemaster, the diesel-hybrid drivetrain and its 18kWh battery are replaced by a 400kWh battery and a 546bhp electric motor system capable of delivering 3,500Nm of torque. It’s supported by CCS DC charging, though indications as to how long it takes to top up the battery have not been given. 

A typical operating range has been revealed though. Equipmake says that the electric New Routemaster can deliver an in-service range of 150 miles - more than enough for a day out on the capital’s streets, it claims. In other buses, it says its technology can deliver up to 250 miles of running. 

Equipline says that a working prototype has entered a six-month period of pre-service assessment with operator Metroline, and that other bus operators across the UK are interested in evaluating busses using the technology. Transport for London has not been confirmed as one of the interested parties, though the firm says that the data from pre-service trials with other operators could be ‘valuable’ to the capital’s transport department. 

Now check out the latest on planned council-issued speeding fines...

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