Two electrically powered Optare Solo SRs are now being trialled on a route between Dorchester and the ‘model village’ of Poundbury. The vehicles, funded by the Duchy of Cornwall, West Dorset District Council and Dorset County Council, are expected to embark on passenger carrying service duties in a few weeks time. This is the first time the SR model has been powered by electricity.
Poundbury has been designed by the Duchy of Cornwall, with close personal involvement from HRH The Prince of Wales, and is an eco-friendly urban extension to the County Town of Dorchester. Poundbury is famous internationally as a pioneering example of “New Urbanism” and has been established on principles set out by The Prince of Wales in his 1989 book ‘Vision of Britain’.
The vehicles feature the Enova P120, zero emission, full electric drive system which has been selected for its optimised application in smaller vehicles. The motor power is 120kW with a torque rating of 650Nm and there are 56 maintenance free, lithium iron magnesium phosphate batteries housed in two separate packs which are assembled in parallel. The 100kWh battery pack is expected to give an operating range of around 90 miles on a single charge.
Charging is via a water cooled 15.2 kW on-board charger which achieves full capacity in around 6 hours. The charging process is fully automated and the unit shuts all systems down at the end of the cycle enabling the vehicle to be left unattended.
The Solo SR’s are 8.9 metres in length and are fitted with 28 leather trimmed, Esteban Civic V3 seats, incorporating integral headrests. Mobitec LED destination and route number equipment is fitted together with an ACIS passenger information system.
Further information will be given about the vehicles and this innovative service at the time of an official public launch planned for early July.