Equipmake welcomes changes to Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund

Leading electrification specialist Equipmake has welcomed recently announced changes to the Scottish Zero Emissions Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB), which are expected to include financial rewards for companies that re-power buses with electric drives.

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

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

Companies that offer repowering – where a bus’s petrol, diesel or hybrid powertrain is replaced with an all-electric powertrain – are now eligible to bid for financial support. With local authorities and public service bus operators also eligible, recently announced changes to ScotZEB indicate that incentives will be available to reduce the purchase price of a re-motorized bus, allowing fleets to go electric quickly and at lower cost. ScotZEB Phase 2 will be open for tenders in spring 2023.

Ian Foley

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

Equipmake’s repower technology program involves inspection of each bus to ensure suitability for its unique and upgradable modular electrical chassis. Once its suitability is verified, the process itself is fast, with up to five power renewals per week, ensuring that a working bus is kept off the road for the shortest possible time.

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

As well as bringing environmental benefits, Equipmake’s repower program makes sense from a cost perspective, with each conversion costing less than half the price of a new electric bus. And since most buses are expected to stay in service for 14 years or more, operators can still achieve significant efficiency gains by re-engining a bus halfway through its lifespan.

Ian Foley continued: “By repowering buses with electricity, the technology exists to very quickly bring cleaner air to cities and towns. The Scottish Government is to be commended for the changes to ScotZEB Phase 2 and we are now calling on the UK Government to set out an electric bus strategy which will see the price of buying a re-motorized electric bus incentivized in England and Wales.

“The opportunity is clear to all. Re-engining existing bus transmissions with large-scale electric technology can quickly and dramatically reduce pollution and provide the UK bus industry with a much-needed boost. The UK government must seize the initiative and make it happen. Helping conversions would be a perfect way to do that.

Joe Tighe

Joe Tighe

Joe Tighe, co-founder and CEO of Kleanbus said: “Kleanbus welcomes the inclusion of repowering technology companies in Phase 2 of ScotZEB. Replacing diesel buses with new electric buses is very expensive for private companies. Repowers offer a fast and efficient way to achieve zero emissions, making buses cleaner, quieter, more comfortable and more valuable for operators. Kleanbus’ advanced solution can accelerate this change through the company’s unique technology.

Kleanbus’ re-engineered electric buses already cost a fifth of the price of a new electric bus – but thanks to Kleanbus’ partnerships with innovative finance providers, operators can choose multiple ways to finance their vehicle, from upfront payment for the vehicle to the rental of the battery, to pay nothing upfront and to rent both the vehicle and the battery.

This way, operators can fund the cost of resupply through operating revenue, maximizing the business case. Kleanbus works closely with charging technology providers to ensure depots are upgraded with the right charging technology, enabling them to transform a diesel bus transport system into an optimized ecosystem of clean electric vehicles.

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