24 Feb 2016


Indian Ashok Leyland owned British bus manufacturer Optare is working on a project that will increase the range of its MetroCity and Solo electric vehicles to 200 miles, the company informed recently in a statement. Optare further said that the range extension will be done with no net gain and no intrusion into passenger space.

Phase two of the plan will be joint development between the two companies, much of this project is how to match high-performance motors and transmissions, including battery technology, and how they are packaged. A key part of extending the range of EVs is how on-bus heating is managed. That can make a huge difference to energy consumption, and part of the project is to engineer things correctly to use energy in the best way, which may extend to pre-heating the bus during its overnight charge and adding insulation. Keeping whole-life costs low is also a priority. Work to convert a demonstrator and the first of six in-service Solo EVs to double their range has already begun at the Sherburn-in-Elmet plant, with the last to be completed before June.

An electric MetroDecker double-decker is expected to debut towards the end of 2016. It will retain the diesel version's 18,000kg GVW and will not need to take advantage of the forthcoming relaxation of the maximum weight for two-axle PCVs to 19,500kg.

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