Equipmake, the UK developer and manufacturer of electrification products for the provision of electric vehicle drivetrains, has agreed on a partnership with Westway coach company to boost the electification of its fleet.

Equipmake aims to expand to the coach sector, collaborating with London-based Westway Coaches, which operates several coaches and is the only operator to run fully electric coaches.

The agreement aims to further accelerate the electrification of Westway Coaches’ fleet by converting a proportion of its existing diesel coaches to electric power with its drivetrain technology.

The conversion of the first vehicle, a Van Hool T917, has begun at its headquarters in Snetterton, Norfolk, and prototype testing is set to begin in Q3.  

Featuring a 545 kWh battery pack, alongside an electric motor, inverter and HVAC system, Equipmake’s Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED) is expected to give the repowered Van Hool T917 a range of up to 220 miles.

Ian Foley, CEO, Equipmake, said: “Repowering is an important and cost-effective technology that bridges the gap between diesel and a new electric coach fleet. It upcycles a perfectly good vehicle in the most cost-effective way, making sense for any size of the fleet, and solves the conundrum faced by operators who may only be part-way through the lifecycle of a vehicle, enabling them to transition without resorting to the financial burden of a new electric coach.”

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David West, Managing Director at Westway Coaches, said: “Operating a state-of-the-art fleet that is both sustainable and socially responsible is core to Westway Coaches. We are very happy to be partnering with Equipmake, a leader in the electrification space. Its innovative technology will play a vital role in supporting our goal of running a zero-emission fleet, operating coaches powered solely by electricity. On behalf of all at Westway, I am looking forward to seeing our first repowered coach begin in-service prototype testing in Q3 and building on that with further repowered vehicles very quickly.”

Equipmake’s ZED can be applied to any coach from single to double-decker, with routes simulated to ensure the optimum battery power level is selected to secure driving ranges of 180 to 220 miles.

Repowering comes in at less than half the price of a new electric coach. With most coaches in service for 25 years or more, operators can make significant savings by repowering a vehicle halfway through its usable life.

As infrastructure improves, electric coaches will be able to take advantage of opportunity charging too. With vehicles often making a 30-minute stop in a motorway services, Equipmake sees 100kW fast-charging adding significant range in a short time, supplementing on-depot overnight charging where adding further to the business case, an electric coach could present a Vehicle 2 Grid (V2G) opportunity too.

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