With over 100 of their hybrid models operating in Greater Manchester alone and many more elsewhere around the country, Optare is now established as a leading innovator in this low carbon technology.
The company’s pre-eminent position in single-deck hybrids in the UK market was demonstrated on its stand at last weeks Coach & Bus Live in the form of a 9.2 metre Solo SR hybrid.
The bus was one of ten entering service with fast-growing independent MCT on routes across central and south Manchester under contracts awarded by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
The bus on display was to a comprehensive specification in line with TfGM requirements. This includes a seven camera CCTV system by Actia, along with a telematics package and Mobitec LED destination equipment.
Seating capacity is 31 on Esteban Civic V2 seats trimmed in a moquette specially designed for MCT. With its kneeling capability, book-leaf wheelchair ramp and ample space for wheelchairs or buggies the Solo SR meets all current and known future DDA requirements.
A 4.25 litre Euro 5 compliant Mercedes-Benz OM904LA engine delivering 130 kW (154 bhp) provides the diesel power to charge the ultra capacitors in which electricity is stored. The electrical system comprises twin motors by Siemens which have a 134 kW maximum rated power output at 320 Nm of torque and which are connected to a Flender summation gearbox to deliver smooth and near silent power transmission to the driving wheels.
The drive motors and generator receive their power from three roof-mounted Siemens inverters. Adjacent to these is a reactor box to control the rate of charge to the brake resistors and ultra capacitors. Maintenance-free Bluways ultra capacitors are also mounted on the roof and have a capacity of 700 volts, 0.5 kWh.
The engine, drive motors, summation gearbox, cooling and induction system are all contained within a demountable frame for rapid removal and easier servicing. Services are fitted with no-loss couplings to prevent spillages during removal.
Apart from the roof pod, in all other structural respects the Solo SR hybrid is the same as an equivalent diesel-powered model. The integral frame uses materials for both strength and long-life and the modular design of the exterior panels supports fast and low cost replacement should accident damage occur.