Following completion of final UK testing, the electric bus Agrale MT17.0LE, whose powertrain has been developed by Equipmake, leaves Norfolk today on its journey to Buenos Aires where it will begin in-service trials.

The Equipmake ZED-powered Agrale MT17.0LE is a 12m single deck model capable of carrying 70 passengers. It will be operated over the next 12 months by DOTA S.A., the largest bus operator in Buenos Aires. The objective is for mass manufacture to begin in Buenos Aires with Agrale and Todo Bus, using licenced Equipmake ZED technology.

equipmake agrale buenos aires

Agrale MT17.0LE electric bus with Equipmake technology

Marking the first overseas on-road trial of an Equipmake-developed electric bus, the zero-emission single decker is set to start in-service running in Argentina’s capital in Q3 of this year.

Developed as part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre-funded CELEB (Cost Effective Low Entry Bus) project – in which Equipmake has led multiple international partners over the last three years – the objective of the program has been to deliver a cost-effective bus designed for the South American market, as Equipmake says.

Working with Brazilian bus manufacturer Agrale and Argentinian coachbuilder Todo Bus, Equipmake says it has developed, from the ground-up, an electric version of the Agrale MT17.0LE single decker, installing its own Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED). This battery-electric drivetrain, developed at Equipmake’s HQ in Snetterton, is the same technology also used in Equipmake’s new London-specification bus, the double decker Jewel E.

Equipmake ZED powertrain for Argentina

The Agrale MT17.0LE project features 318kWh lithium-ion battery, Equipmake’s own HTM 3500 electric motor – producing 3,500 Nm torque at 1,000rpm and 400kW maximum power, seamlessly integrated into the prop shaft without the need for a separate transmission – and a Semikron SKAI inverter.

Equipmake estimates the new electric Agrale MT17.0LE will have a range of up to 150 miles (240km) – more than enough for a day’s use in Buenos Aires. It can be recharged at the depot overnight via a CSS2 DC charging point.

As mentioned above, Equipmake’s ZED system also underpins Jewel E, a new double-decker electric bus developed with Spanish bus builder Beulas. Its modular battery pack has options of up to 548kWh, with a maximum of 300 miles on a single charge. It will begin in-service trials with London’s largest bus operator, Go-Ahead, in the coming months.

Ian Foley, Managing Director of Equipmake, said: “On behalf of everyone at Equipmake I am delighted that, following the completion of final testing here in Norfolk, the Agrale MT17.0LE featuring our ZED system, now begins its journey to Buenos Aires for in-service trials. Through this innovative Advanced Propulsion Centre-funded project, we have worked closely with Agrale and Todo Bus along with other key partners, and the result is a state-of-the-art yet cost-effective bus.

“We are now looking forward to the start of the trial and the potential for this new vehicle is huge. Buenos Aires has around 16,000 buses on its streets – roughly twice the size of London’s fleet. There’s no doubt that electric buses can play a significant role in helping Argentina’s capital hit its 2050 net zero objective.”

equipmake agrale buenos aires

Equipmake provides also repower options’s repower programme allow 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, the company says.

Ian Foley, Managing Director of Equipmake, added: “In parallel with the creation of new electric buses, repowering is an important and cost-effective transitionary technology that can bridge the gap between diesel and a new electric bus fleet. There is clear appetite for the technology, with strong demand from operators, leading to the expansion of our facilities in Norfolk. We believe interest will only increase and, next to the associated financial benefits, repowered vehicles can very quickly bring cleaner air to any town or city.”


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