Nearly three years of development and numerous test kilometers in the UK have come to an end for the electric Agrale bus, prepared by the British specialists at Equipmake. The prototype leaves the Norfolk facility northeast of London and begins its journey to Buenos Aires, where it hopes to begin other tests in real operating conditions from the third quarter of 2022, on the streets of the Argentine capital.
Developed as part of the CELEB project (low cost-effective entry bus), it has been financed by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, a British non-profit organization that provides resources for the development of power technology projects that are carbon neutral, such as the one Equipmake has led alongside multiple international partners for the last three years. The program has focused on offering a profitable bus designed for cities in South America.
Working with Brazilian bus manufacturer Agrale and Argentine coachbuilder Todo Bus, Equipmake developed from scratch an electric version of the Agrale MT17.0LE single-decker, which was originally conceived for natural gas. British experts, including engineers and designers who have been associated with Formula 1, have created their own Zero Emissions Powertrain (ZED). It is equipped with a state-of-the-art modular and scalable battery, developed at Equipmake's headquarters in Snetterton, the same technology that is also used in the new electric double-decker bus that rolls on the streets of London, the Jewel E.
The Agrale MT17.0LE bus features an Equipmake kinematic unit with a 318 kWh lithium-ion battery, Equipmake's own HTM 3500 electric motor, produces a torque of 3500 Nm at 1000 rpm and a maximum power of 400 kW, perfectly integrated on the rear axle without the need for a separate device including Semikron transmission and inverter.
Over the last 12 months, Equipmake's engineering team has put the new bus through an extensive durability program in and around Norfolk, with thousands of test miles completed on proving grounds, city centers (including Norwich) and motorways. .
Based on this solid test program, Equipmake estimates that the new electric Agrale MT17.0LE will have a range of up to 240 km, which will allow it to handle a full day of use on the streets of Buenos Aires. When the battery runs out at the end of a full work cycle, it can be recharged at the operator's yards, using CCS2 type connectors.
"We are now looking forward to the start of the test, and the potential of this new vehicle is enormous. Buenos Aires has around 16,000 buses on its streets, roughly twice the size of London's fleet. There is no doubt that electric buses can play an important role in helping Argentina's capital to reach its goal of zero net emissions by 2050." Said Ian Foley, CEO of Equipmake.
The Agrale MT17.0LE is a 12 m long single body (standard), capable of transporting 70 passengers, and will be operated for the next 12 months by DOTA S.A., the largest bus operator in Buenos Aires. After the successful completion of the test, the goal is to start mass manufacturing in Buenos Aires with Agrale and Todo Bus, using technology licensed by Equipmake.