Former F1 team supplier Equipmake driving development in electric bus technology
- Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017
Electric supercar technology could soon be powering your commute, thanks to research by a Norfolk manufacturer.
Equipmake, whose former clients include the Williams F1 team, is developing batteries to power a fully electric bus – and hopes to bring down the vehicles' prohibitive running costs in the process.
Following promising research into the feasibility of creating a cost-effective electric bus, the Hethel-based company applied for and was awarded a £1.8m grant from the government's office for low emissions vehicles (OLEV) to take the project forward.
Its work focuses on increasing the energy efficiency of electric buses' heating, cooling and ventilation systems, which can use as much as 50% of the total battery power.
Managing director Ian Foley said: 'With all the news about air quality problems there is a big political will and desire for all-electric buses.
You may also want to watch:
'We recognise there is a huge global demand for them but currently they are up to twice the price of a conventional bus.
'If the main thing holding back their adoption is the price, we hope a cost-effective alternative to a diesel bus will go down well.'
- 1 Two city businesses on the move as mystery new tenant hovers
- 2 Vision for multi-million pound new Norwich venue revealed
- 3 Norfolk cliffs fall man arrested on suspicion of murder released on bail
- 4 Norfolk-based Rick Wakeman 'stunned and proud' after being made a CBE
- 5 'People didn't know I existed' - Shopkeeper thrilled with new store
- 6 Scams in Norfolk this week: Hermes texts and electricity boxes
- 7 Be lord of the manor: Site of forgotten mansion for sale for £2.3m
- 8 Ask the Expert: How much income will my £350,000 pension generate?
- 9 Woman sexually assaulted in Norwich
- 10 Volunteer hit with £100 parking fee while collecting food for needy
The £1.2m-turnover company initially designed the technology, launched at the Millbrook Low Carbon Vehicle show, for a supercar maker before exploring its broader applications.
The bus batteries comprise dozens of smaller batteries, produced by the Nissan plant in Sunderland, combined into a larger pack.
Mr Foley, who has previously worked on hybrid bus technology, said: 'The biggest issue with electric buses is the heating and cooling of them.
'We put a lot of effort into seeing how you reduce those requirements which means you can put a much smaller battery in.
'We think that we have got here is novel and that will be our edge.'
Equipmake, which employs 16 people at its workshop, is planning to market the technology globally to the world's 'relatively small' number of bus makers.
The initial road trials for the electric buses will be in South America, with buses supplied by an Argentinian company.
'In a lot of respects the electric bus is simpler than a conventional one. Hopefully at the end we will have a product that is applicable to any bus manufacturer,' Mr Foley said.