Quantron enters the e-bus fray

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Jonathan Welch attended the recent online launch of German manufacturer Quantron’s Cizaris 12m electric single-decker

or many years, the bus market was a relatively stable and predictable one. In the UK, if you were buying new vehicles, especially as a major group, the likelihood was that familiar names such as Alexander Dennis, Wrightbus or Volvo would be involved. In France, Irisbus (later Iveco) and Heuliez were common names alongside Van Hool in the Flemish arena, and of course in the German marketplace MAN or Mercedes were the badges most likely to be found arriving at a bus stop.

With the advent of new generations of alternative power sources, chiefly hydrogen fuel cells and battery-electric, there has been a rise in the number of suppliers eager to take a bite of the cherry and steal a march on existing, ‘traditional’ suppliers. Some of these new names have introduced derivatives of products already on offer elsewhere, such as Yutong and Higer, whilst others have taken things a step further and developed their own more bespoke offering, including Mellor’s new Sigma range, Dutch-based Ebusco and now Quantron.

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After a teaser last year, the first finished Quantron Cizaris 12-metre battery-electric bus was unveiled at an online launch event on Wednesday 16 February. At the same time, the company revised its brand and logo, as part of a move it said will lay the foundation for the growing zero-emission Quantron bus portfolio. Powered by CATL lithium iron phosphate batteries, and driven by a central synchronous motor, the new bus is said to offer a range of up to 370 kilometres (230 miles). Following the launch, the sales focus will initially be on Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Scandinavia and Southern Europe, with other areas to follow.

Who is Quantron?

Quantron was created in 2019 as a high-tech spin-off of established German engineering firm Haller & Co, with a vision to pave the way for e-mobility in inner-city and regional passenger and cargo transport. Haller, a family company from Gersthofen, was founded in 1882 and is currently managed by Andreas Haller, the fifth generation. With a network of workshops, it specialises in service, maintenance and repair of vans, trucks and buses. So while Quantron may be a new name in e-mobility, it hopes to bring reassurance to potential customers thanks to its 140 years of commercial vehicle experience. “We understand the industry, the customers, the vehicle requirements and market developments very well thanks to our long tradition”, said Andreas, who is the founder and CEO of Quantron as well as his role as Managing Partner of Haller & Co. In the few years since its inception, Quantron has developed conversions for diesel commercial vehicles large and small, and in the passenger transport sphere has established itself as a distributor of Karsan’s Atak and Jest e-bus ranges in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It also offers electrification of Cobus airport buses, as well as conversion of vehicles such as the Iveco Daily to produce its Q-Light range, which includes a minibus option. Larger vehicles such as its QHB 27-280 dustbin lorry, based on the Mercedes-Benz Econic, as well as general cargo trucks and other specialist vehicles, are also available.

The company says that as the importance of diesel engines continues to decline, the number of low or zero-emission commercial vehicles also needs to rise to meet future climate or CO2 goals and cope with with traffic bans and higher taxes to achieve the defined levels. Quantron believes its ‘innovative and workable e-mobility solutions’ can provide an answer to those problems.

Founded by Gottfried Haller in Augsburg, the wider Haller group has seen changes beyond what anyone could have imagined in its 140 years. The business initially shifted from a taxi company to a repair shop for vehicles of all kinds, but the company experienced a boom, especially after the Second World War, thanks to increasing motorisation and mechanisation. In 1954, Gottfried Haller acquired the distribution rights for truck manufacturer Magirus and thus became one of the first Magirus dealers in the region.

That early effort paid off, and with the fifth generation now running the family business as a modern service company, besides the Quantron spin-off it is a delaer and repair agents for Iveco commercial vehicles and Fiat vans in the Bavarian-Swabian region, including the current Iveco (formerly Irisbus) bus and coach line-up.













With an initial launch aimed at the Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Scandinavian and Southern European markets, the new Quantron Cizaris single-decker is initially available in 12-metre form as a battery-electric vehicle, with a hydrogen fuel cell version to follow. In due course, versions which conform to German VDV norms will be offered to operators in Germany, Austria and Switzerland will follow, and Quantron confirmed to CBW that a right-hand drive version will also be available.

Priced ‘below current market prices for comparable BEV buses,’ the Augsburg-based manufacturer said it hopes the new offering will stimulate the market for buses which are zero-emission and at the same time affordable. The all-electric Cizaris 12 EV is scheduled to be followed by the fuel cell version, the Cizaris 12 H, in 2023 that will use a largely identical power- and drivetrain. Two- and three-door models with a total of nine interior layouts are available.

The name of the new model derives from a combination of ‘Ci’ which Quantron says stands for ‘City’ followed by the ‘central and prominent’ Z which stands for ‘Zero emissions.’ The suffix ‘aris’ is derived from Greek and means ‘the noblest’ or ‘the best.’ In a nod to local tradition, Cisa was also the name of the name of the fertility goddess of Germanic people the Vindelics, who settled in Augsburg, which Quantron said provides a further link between the modern drive technology of the future and the origins of the Augsburg-based company.

Although the two companies have offered the Karsan and Irisbus products for a number of years, Quantron said the Cizaris represents its entry into the sustainable and tender-driven city bus market, which it believes is becoming increasingly significant due to the European Clean Vehicles Directive. Although new to the market, the bus is based on a vehicle platform that Quantron says has proven itself hundreds of times over in Asia’s largest electric bus markets in recent years, and which is tailored to the needs of the local market at its plant in Augsburg-Gersthofen, where design features typical of the brand as well as the customer-specific features are added. In the medium term, Quantron said that it plans for the Cizaris to be given a new, completely independent design in the style of the new Quantron brand.

The brand is important, Quantron believes, and as such its new electric bus bears the company’s new lettering and the new logo prominently on the front, the rear and behind the A-pillar. The driver’s workplace is also emblazoned with a milled, high-quality version of the new Quantron logo, which the firm says stands for the combination of the three brand values: reliable, energetic and brave. These values are also embodied in the three-part day running light/indicators at the front, which are similar to those used on other Quantron models.

‘Modern and friendly’

Quantron says its new city bus is ‘a feast for the eyes’ and illustrates its brand values at first glance with its ‘purposefully placed colour components in Absolute Zero Blue.’ The front end design features a large single-piece windscreen with large radii curves on the sides, leaving space below for its new logo – though operators may prefer to have space for their own logos here. In a style which is quickly becoming the norm among e-buses, the extended roofline is rounded front and rear, helping to disguise the vehicle’s bulk.

Batteries are located on the roof, outside common crash areas, which also allows the bus to dispense with a conventional engine space at the rear and offer a 24 to 35 seats; the lower number will sound alarming to British operators, whereas in Europe larger standing space is often the norm. In total, there is room aboard for between 81 and 95 passengers depending on the battery package, which Quantron says is ‘significantly more’ than many of its competitors. The low-floor nature of the bus is emphasised by the contrasting black centre section, mirroring the deep glazing seen on some models, whilst the rear end with its large taillights, some of which are made of frosted glass or have a light-striped design, is also visually striking and European.

In typical European fashion, the bus will be available in a two- or three-door format, with 1,200mm pneumatic inward-opening doors fitted as standard, and electric exterior swing-sliding doors are available on request. The bus offers an interior headroom of 2,449mm, and the front area up to the second door is fully low-floor as well as being easy to clean thanks to cantilevered Kiel individual seats. The seat covers of the launch vehicle are manufactured using textile digital printing and feature the Quantron logo in a specially created design, though operators may prefer to specify their own corporate style. Priority seating is identified with different colours, and a total of four seat configurations are available for the two-door model, plus as many as five for the three-door model. Towards the rear, the seats are mounted on pedestals, whilst opposite the third door, seats are mounted transversely on the compact equipment box, though this can be replaced by a large luggage rack.

Internal temperature is taken care of via a Valeo heat pump and air conditioning unit with a cooling capacity of 33kW, with separate system for the driver.

Quantron was keen to point out the elaborately perforated aluminium ceiling with indirect side lighting and additional LED lights mounted transversely to it, the colour of which can be changed on request. Side wall-mounted USB-A plugs or optional USB-C plugs under the seats are available.












The interior of the first bus features cantilevered Kiel seating in the front half of the saloon, and bespoke Quantron seat coverings. QUANTRON











Driver’s workplace

The driver’s workplace is on a raised platform to bring the driver closer to passengers’ eye level, with options for seats from Isringhausen or Grammer. The steering wheel doesn’t feature any additional buttons, which Quantron said tend to be a distraction in city traffic, and can also be adjusted in two directions. A VDV-compliant version currently in planning for Germanic markets will feature a fully adjustable set-up. Quantron describes the cab area as ‘less is more’ with few buttons and a large monitor for the rear view camera. A three-stage retarder stalk is fitted to the right of the steering wheel which can be used to regenerate power when braking, and electrohydraulic steering is installed.

Important information and status messages are provided by a fully digital instrument cluster from Actia, and high-resolution camera mirror monitors are mounted directly to the A-pillars, where don’t intrude into the field of vision. Safety systems including ABS/ASR, EBS, and ECAS are standard, and Mobileye’s turning assistant can also be fitted on request. The rear equipment compartment, the battery modules and other high-voltage components are monitored by fire detectors and separate powder extinguisher cartridges.

With between 242 and 424kW hours of capacity, the roof-mounted CATL battery packs – a maximum of six at the front and six at the rear depending on customer preference – are fast-charged in two to five hours. The CCS charging plug can be installed on the nearside, offside or at the rear, and a range of between 220 to 370 kilometres is said to be achievable, which Quantron believes will be sufficient for most operators, and points towards the Cizaris 12 H fuel cell version for those requiring greater range for longer routes. The vehicle-mounted (rather than wheel hub-mounted) water-cooled central motor from Dana/TM4 has an output of 145/245kW.

Quantron will offer a warranty of two years for the entire vehicle, and eight years or 3,000 charge cycles (or 80% charge capacity, whichever comes first) for the batteries, via its network of 700 service partners in Europe. The VDV version, with changes to the cab and other on-board systems to suit the requirements of operators in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and meet the standards set by the VDV (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen, the association of German operating companies) is scheduled to follow in late 2022.

The three indicator lights are said to represent the brand’s three core values. QUANTRON