Equipmake welcomes changes to Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund

Monday, August 22, 2022 - 06:51
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Leading electrification specialist, Equipmake, has welcomed newly announced changes to the Scottish Zero Emissions Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB), which are set to include financial awards for companies who repower buses with electric drivetrains.

A Scottish Government scheme, ScotZEB is designed to accelerate the transition to zero emission buses in Scotland and following on from first phase funding, which saw

£62 million awarded to nine bus operators and local authorities for 276 buses and associated charging infrastructure, now enters its second phase with more companies and technology suppliers becoming eligible.

Companies who offer repowering – where the petrol, diesel or hybrid powertrain of a bus is replaced with a fully electric drivetrain – are now eligible to bid for financial support. With local authorities and public service bus operators eligible too, the newly announced ScotZEB changes indicate incentives will be available to reduce the purchase price of a repowered bus, enabling fleets to go electric quickly and cost-effectively. ScotZEB Phase 2 will open for bids in spring 2023.

Ian Foley

Ian Foley

Ian Foley, CEO of Equipmake, said:“Repowering is an important and cost-effective transitionary technology that can bridge the gap between diesel and a new electric bus fleet. We welcome newly announced changes to ScotZEB Phase 2, which can play a vital role in making a repowered electric bus even more cost-effective for an operator and accelerating Scotland’s transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.”

Equipmake’s repower technology programme involves an inspection of each bus to ensure its adaptability to its unique, scalable modular electric chassis. Once its suitability is verified, the process itself is quick, with up to five repowers a week being completed, ensuring a working bus is kept off the road for as short a time as possible.

Each repower is tailored to specific operator requirements, with service routes simulated to ensure the correct battery power level is selected for optimum performance and efficiency, and guaranteed driving ranges of 150 to 250 miles achievable. This is more than sufficient for a complete duty cycle, allowing buses to be recharged overnight.

As well as bringing environmental benefits, Equipmake’s repower programme makes sense from a cost perspective, with each conversion coming in at less than half the price of a new electric bus. And with most buses expected to remain in service for 14 years or beyond, operators can still make significant efficiencies by repowering a bus halfway through its working life.

Ian Foley continued: “By repowering buses with electric power, the technology exists to bring cleaner air to towns and cities very rapidly indeed. The Scottish Government is to be praised for the changes to ScotZEB Phase 2 and we now call on the UK Government to outline an electric bus strategy that will see the purchase price of a repowered electric bus incentivised in England & Wales.

“The opportunity is clear for all to see. Repowering the drivetrains of existing buses with electric technology at scale can rapidly and dramatically reduce pollution and provide the UK bus industry with a much-needed shot in the arm. The UK Government must seize the initiative and make it happen. Contributing to conversions would be an ideal way of doing so.”

Joe Tighe

Joe Tighe

Joe Tighe, Co-Founder and CEO of Kleanbus said: “Kleanbus welcomes the inclusion of repower technology companies in ScotZEB Phase 2. Replacing diesel buses with new electric buses is very expensive for private companies. Repowers offer a fast and efficient way towards zero-emissions, making buses cleaner, quieter, more comfortable, and more valuable assets for operators. Kleanbus’ advanced solution can accelerate that changeover thanks to the company’s unique technology.”

Electric repowered buses from Kleanbus already cost one fifth of a new electric bus – but thanks to Kleanbus’ partnerships with innovative finance providers, operators can choose several ways in which to finance their vehicle, ranging from paying for the vehicle upfront and leasing the battery, to paying nothing upfront and leasing both the vehicle and the battery.

In this way, operators can fund the cost of the repower through operating revenue, maximising the business case. Kleanbus works closely with charging technology providers to ensure depots are upgraded with appropriate charging technology, enabling them to transform a diesel bus transportation system into an optimised clean electric vehicle ecosystem.

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