Ebusco launches composite electric bus

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At a special event on Thursday 10 October electric bus manufacturer Ebusco launched its latest all-electric 12m bus, the Ebusco 3.0 model – which it says is the first electric bus of composite construction, meaning a reduced weight and better range. Ebusco claims a weight reduction of 33% over the previous model, and the ability to reach a maximum range of 500km, thanks to composite technology from the aerospace industry.

“This new bus heralds the definitive end of the diesel era. The Ebusco 2.2 already improved the so-called Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) massively compared to the diesel fuelled buses, but with the Ebusco 3.0 nothing stands in the way any more to speed up the tempo to make public transport more sustainable. We now are able to make the world in which we live even cleaner, safer and healthier,” said Peter Bijvelds, Ebusco’s CEO.

The new vehicle, which will be assembled at Ebusco’s plant at Deurne in the Netherlands, features a fully flat floor throughout the bus, allowing for maximum window size, panoramic windows in the roof thanks to underfloor-mounted batteries, and improved passenger flow due to an increased interior width of up to 90 cm between the wheel arches. At the launch, Peter highlighted the fact that the reduction in weight to 8,530kgs means that twin tyres are no longer required at the rear, which not only means a wheelchair user has access along the full length of the bus, but also further reduces weight as well as cutting the cost of tyre replacement.

For drivers, external mirrors are replaced by cameras, increasing safety and aerodynamics. The automatically adjustable driver’s seat, dashboard and camera mirror systems can remember each driver’s settings and automatically ‘fit’ the driver’s workplace around the driver. The low centre of gravity, as batteries are hidden in the floor, will provide stability.

Mindful that the purchase price is a barrier to electric bus ownership, Peter was keen to focus instead on the reduced Total Cost of Ownership, over the vehicle’s lifetime. The firm says that the neatly-styled full composite body will reduce maintenance costs considerably and extends the operational life span of the bus beyond 15 years. The expected purchase cost is not expected to be higher than the current Ebusco 2.2. “Making a composite bus is not the hardest part,” said Peter. “We cannot let the customer pay more, so the question is how to produce it without a higher price.” The first vehicle will be placed in service in Munich in 2020, with full production and delivery from 2021.

After the launch presentation, the assembled operators and interested parties were given the chance to ask questions. Peter told his audience that the bus will be future-proofed to be autonomous-capable, should it be required at a later date, and wherever possible Ebusco says that recycled, and recyclable, components will be used, with a reusability rate for the whole vehicle of 92% and recyclability rate of 98%.

Another question asked at the launch was that of safety concerning the under-floor batteries. Peter said that the risk is minimal, and in the event of a serious accident there may be some smoke but the battery packs will not catch fire.

Peter also reminded guests that no longer is it enough for a manufacturer to deliver a [diesel] bus, hand over the keys, and say thank you. Ebusco will deliver a complete system, including charging facilities, and expects an ongoing relationship with its customers over the life of the vehicle.