OPTARE SOLO GETS A NEW LOOK AND ELECTRIC POWER
Optare has reworked the Solo, it features a completely new external look and a new interior. This first significant external restyling since the model first entered service in 1998 gives the distinctive Solo an appearance fully in line with a new family look which will be standard on all Optare bus products in future. This means that Solo – by far Optare’s most popular model with 3,500 in service – now sits comfortably alongside the rest of the company’s new bus family.
Solos are 8.8 metre full-width models. They feature updated interior panelling that includes LED lighting incorporated in the roof coves. LED external lighting is also a feature and there is a new design of driver’s electronic instrument display from Actia. Mobitec LED destination equipment is installed. One option for the Solos is diesel power by Mercedes-Benz, installing the 904LA engine at 115 kw. This is matched to the Allison 2100 Series five-speed automatic transmission and a KLAM retarder is fitted. With its restyled front end the second Solo may look the same, but there is a significant difference: it is fully electric! This is not a hybrid but a fully electric vehicle, meaning it is completely zero emission. Optare has worked with Enova Systems of California to produce an innovative and entirely clean option for Solo. Enova Systems is a leading supplier of efficient, environmentally-friendly digital power components and systems products. The Enova EDU 120 system comprises an electric drive unit and gear train, a central electronics unit, and related power management components. There’s a fast charging capability and a full testing and diagnostics facility. The system features a lithium ion Valence battery pack which powers an Enova 120Kw Panther traction motor. Accessories are electrically driven while heating is provided by an Eberspacher vehicle water heater which is fuel fired. Enova Systems offers Optare hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and full electric drive systems that fit a range of vehicle platforms. Additional system options include integrated battery chargers and DC/DC converters. This flexibility allows Optare to create hybrid electric and full electric buses from a common architecture that enables the company to focus on product performance, features and fuel efficiency.