Collaborative R&D Competitions

CELEB2: Equipmake electric drivetrains powering growth

By taking part in an APC-funded collaborative research and development project, Norfolk-based Equipmake has developed a world-leading electric drivetrain.

In the process it has built a £400 million pipeline and grown from 15 to 75 employees, and since floated on the Aquis Stock Exchange (AQSE).

Equipmake built the motors for the Ariel Hipercar and has applied the technology to its electric bus platform.

The company recently unveiled the repowered New Routemaster, developed at its base in Snetterton, Norfolk. The iconic red bus features a 400kWh battery enabling an expected in-service range of 150 miles – more than enough for a day’s running, replacing the previous hybrid combustion engine.

The development of the all-electric New Routemaster has come about thanks to a programme part-funded by the APC: The CELEB2 project.

It has a total project value £7.4 million, with £3.7 million funded through the APC and match-funded by industry investment.

Equipmake CEO Ian Foley said:

“The money that we received from the Advanced Propulsion Centre we could match with Japanese early-stage investment. That enabled us to get a product, which enabled us to win contracts from a major UK bus operator. On the back of that, we now have a pipeline of £400 million worth of potential orders, which enabled us to go to the stock market and float the business. When we started with our APC funding we had 15 people and we were a very small company, at the end of the APC funding we are a listed company with more than 75 people”.

The company’s journey is a perfect example of the UK funding ecosystem. The first CELEB (Cost Effective Electric Bus) project was originally a feasibility study in 2016, maturing to a prototype Innovate UK funded project from 2017 to 2019 and culminating in the APC collaborative R&D project from 2019 which has delivered products ready to take to market.

Watch this video case study to find out more about the progress of the company since the awarding of the APC grant.

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Equipmake CEO Ian Foley and Head of Sales & Marketing Jasmine Bishop speak to transport and energy journalist David James about the company’s recent success and how it has benefited from APC funding.