Optare once again demonstrated its passion for innovation in passenger vehicle design and technology by showing two electric-powered, two diesel-powered and a hybrid model from its range of low-weight integral single-deck buses at Coach & Bus Live 2013.
A Solo EV was also displayed in the new ‘Showcase Arena’ at regular intervals throughout the show with an accompanying commentary describing the features and benefits of electric power. Tthe Solo SR EV will now undertake a series of demonstrations to operators around the UK. The bus is powered by the Magtec P144 zero emissions electric motor receiving electricity from two battery packs each of 26 lithium iron, magnesium phosphate, maintenance free batteries.
On the company’s stand there were four vehicles which illustrated the breadth of both the low carbon and conventional diesel product range now available from Optare and the continued passion for innovation which has long been the hallmark of the company.
A 10.4 metre Versa EV was on display which employs the same technology and powertrain as the Solo EV in the Showcase Arena and is one of ten in build for Nottingham City Council.
Making its debut at Coach & Bus Live was the company’s 2014 Solo SR model featuring a redesigned interior ready to accept the larger mechanical package that will be necessary to meet Euro 6 emissions legislation.
Most of the changes in the 2014 model are in the raised platform area at the rear of the vehicle where Optare has taken the opportunity to also improve passenger access and comfort. The 9.7 metre vehicle on display was fitted with 27 Esteban Civic V2 seats and six tip-ups in the wheelchair bay and in the dedicated buggy bay directly opposite.
A diesel-powered example of the Versa was also on show in the colours of Go North East, who are taking delivery of 14 this year. The bus was an 11.7 metre model, which had 37 fixed and six tip-up seats and weighs in at just 7,820 kgs. During extended trials by Go North East under very demanding operating conditions, this low weight contributed significantly to exceptional fuel efficiency for a bus that has the same passenger capacity as a 12 metre model.
Optare further demonstrated its strong commitment to low carbon technology with an example of a hybrid Solo SR, one of ten recently supplied to MCT for operation in Greater Manchester. The 9.2 metre model on show featured a Mercedes-Benz OM904LA engine delivering 130 kW (154 bhp) at 2200 rpm and linked to an electrical system by Siemens, which includes energy storage in roof-mounted maintenance-free Bluways ultra capacitors.