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Ensign Bus Company and Vantage Power deliver clean hybrid buses

Ensign Bus Company, the UK’s largest used bus dealer, and Vantage Power, the London-based engineering company, are pleased to announce a strategic partnership in which Vantage Power’s retrofitable diesel-electric hybrid powertrain technology will be tested and driven on double-decker buses throughout the UK.

The partnership will commercialise retrofit hybrid systems that combine ease of commissioning, low up front cost and immediate operational savings.  This enables bus operators to make best use of their existing fleet without having to buy expensive new buses, and makes hybrid technology affordable for the 25,000+ double-decker buses currently on UK roads.

Vantage Power has developed the B320 system to be retrofitted into the UK’s four most popular double-decker bus models, allowing operators to hybridise their existing fleet, reducing upfront and through-life costs by up to 55% and 40% respectively.  A unique element of this system is an exhaust gas energy recovery system – a significant fuel saving approach never used before in hybrid-electric bus powertrains.

Ensign is ideally placed to deploy hybrid technology in this market. With 40 years’ experience working with bus operators across the UK, now selling close to 1,000 buses per year through its dealership operation, it has its own fleet of around 100 buses deployed on local services in the Thurrock area of Essex, rail replacement services for major rail operating companies, and private hire activities including the provision of historic buses from its large vintage bus collection. In 2012 Ensign was voted Top Independent Bus Operator of the Year.

Ensign has prioritised new technologies that reduce the environmental impact of its bus operations.  This includes diesel to Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) conversions, early adoption of catalytic converters and Continuously Regenerating Trap (CRT) systems.  Ensign works with engine manufacturers to retrofit modern diesel engines to older buses, bringing them into compliance with more recent European and US emission standards.  Last November Ensign announced a £1.8m investment in new purpose built series and parallel hybrid buses for its fleet.

The partnership between Ensign and Vantage has evolved over the past year.  It includes the provision of extensive engineering support in addition to testing the B320-powered vehicles in Ensign’s own fleet, which operate on routes that provide a variety of differing operating conditions.  This will allow these vehicles to be operated in a real-world environment, garnering data from passengers, drivers and maintenance crews alike whilst also providing an opportunity for potential customers to see the product “in service”.

Brian Longley, Engineering Director of Ensign commented “we are committed to the introduction of cost-effective hybrids into the used bus market. The partnership with Vantage will enable us to bring the enhanced comfort, lower emissions and improved cost of ownership to bus operators across the UK through our used bus sales channel”.

Contacts:
Alexander Schey @ Vantage Power, t: +44 7733 223143, e:alex@vantage-power.com, w: www.vantage-power.com
Brian Longley @ Ensign Bus Company, t: + 44 1708 865656, e:brian.longley@ensignbus.com, w: www.ensignbus.com

About Vantage Power www.vantage-power.com
Vantage Power is an exciting start-up that is developing a unique cost-cutting and environmentally friendly technology that will herald a step change in the bus industry.

In the UK, public service buses use about 925 million litres of diesel per year. Rising fuel prices are squeezing bus operators, and high levels of emitted nitrogen oxides and particulate matter have far-reaching health implications. There have been a number of ‘green’ solutions trialled throughout the country; however the technology has been seen as either too premature or too expensive.

Vantage Power is developing a solution based on tried and tested technology and real engineering ingenuity that will reduce bus fuel consumption by 40%, reduce fuel bills by 50%, and enable old buses to be retrofitted to ensure that our country’s legacy fleet is as clean as our future fleet.

Vantage Power’s founders have a long history in the development of electric and hybrid systems. Prior to forming Vantage Power, they founded the Racing Green project which built the world’s longest range electric car. More information can be found at www.racinggreenendurance.com

About Ensign Bus Company www.ensignbus.com
Ensign Bus Company is the UK’s biggest used bus dealer now in its 40th year.

It is also the largest provider of local bus services in the Thurrock area of Essex carrying nearly four million passengers per annum. It was recently voted Top Independent Operator of the Year at the annual UK Bus Awards.

Other work it provides includes emergency and pre-planned rail replacement service across the South East of England, as well as a thriving private hire business that utilises not only modern vehicles but also classic and vintage buses from its own extensive collection. Ensign is a diverse bus operator and dealer, with experience in many facets of the industry and with the largest stock of used double-deck buses in the world, with anywhere from 100-500 buses available at any time.

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