Awarded a total of £11.14m in government funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), with Equipmake awarded £3.24m, the project’s objective is to support the development and demonstration of an electrified, lower carbon hybrid powertrain for the global off-highway market, enabling vehicle and machinery OEMs to accelerate their transition from fossil fuels.
Led by Perkins, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., with Equipmake providing e-powertrain technology and Loughborough University supporting through advanced engine analytics and emissions control, the project will see the design, development and demonstration of a ‘multi-fuel drop-in’ hybrid powertrain, which will be an alternative to existing diesel solutions in off-highway vehicles and will support the UK and global off-highway industries to deliver net zero objectives.
Capable of running on multiple lower-carbon intensity fuels such as bio-methanol, eFuels or zero-carbon fuels such as hydrogen, the heavy-duty hybrid system will feature a state-of-the-art bespoke-designed high torque density electric motor and inverter, alongside all associated power electronics, which will be completely designed and developed in-house by Equipmake.
The hybrid powertrain system can be configured to provide performance in the range of 45-250kW, depending upon application. Development has already begun and will take 42 months. The project is expected to support new and existing jobs at Equipmake and the related supply chain.
Ian Foley, Equipmake CEO, said: “Equipmake has always been at the forefront of innovation in electric motors and inverters, and we are delighted to work with Perkins on this innovative hybrid electric powertrain project. We would like to thank the APC for its foresight in granting support funding for this new project, which has the potential to enable multiple global off-highway vehicle OEMs to work towards meeting net zero objectives – while at the same time creating new jobs across the supply chain.
“This project also represents a key element of our strategic development at Equipmake, giving us access to a global off-highway market through this decarbonisation technology and, over time, a significant extension in our volume production capabilities. It also further underlines Equipmake’s position as a leading provider of state-of-the-art electrification systems to multiple industries.”
Over the last five years, Equipmake has become a globally recognised expert in the provision of sector-specific heavy-duty electric powertrains, becoming a leader in the repowering of buses and coaches from ICE to fully electric, utilising its vertically integrated motor and inverter technology. Based in Snetterton, Norfolk, the company provides the complete electric vehicle solution, offering everything from motors to fully electrified platforms, supporting primarily the automotive, commercial vehicle, marine and aerospace sectors.