FIRST DRIVE: EVM Altas Novus E-Cityline low floor electric bus

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One of the star attractions of the forthcoming ITT Hub event set for Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre from 30 June – 1 July next is the new Altas Novus E-Cityline low floor electric midibus from EVM Direct.

The Kilbeggan, County Westmeath headquartered midi-coach conversion specialists, with a UK sales branch in Crawley, has co-developed the Cityline range with Altas Auto, powered in both conventional diesel and now electric, based on the 5.5 tonne GVW Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 514 chassis.  

The E-Cityline electric technology comes with a 150kW electric motor with three NMC (Nickel, Manganese, Cobalt) battery packs that have a total capacity of 115kWh. As explained by Peter Flynn, Sales & Marketing Director for EVM on the first demonstration run around the Farnborough Airport grounds, the batteries are located in the engine bay and underbody, one forward of the low floor area and the other behind the rear axle. The drive motor itself is mounted just forward of the rear axle.

According to Peter, the choice of motor is unique as it is specifically designed to be most efficient at lower speeds. This gives multiple benefits including, reduced vibration, reduced noise from high rpm motors and maximum torque from zero rpm. The optimum cruising speed of 70km/h yields 93% efficiency at 2,400rpm. Maximum speed on this first version was governed at 80 km/h, with peak torque of 1,250Nm and peak power of 150kW being reached at only 1,000rpm.

Peter mention that there are two drive modes, standard and extra range distance, the latter setting helping to squeeze out more miles, through stronger battery regeneration from deceleration and smart braking. He is confident that on average up to 200km/124miles can be achieved between charges. As Peter said: “Range on Electric vehicles can only every be accurately quantified with a lot of additional parameters i.e. driving style, ambient temperature, use of heat/cooling, battery management etc. EVM has invested heavily in eSORT testing with over 100 vehicles travelling 5,800km per workday in 14 test locations all over mainland Europe.”

With integrated BMS (Battery management system) and a life span of 2,500 cycles, with charging time for both models at 2.5 hours on a 50kW DC charger.

On the journey, the instant acceleration was felt straight away, and the regeneration methods were practised as much as possible – there is no need to use the foot brake much, if at all! Within the body shape of the eCityline, there is ample passenger room, with accommodation for wheelchair users and a luggage area positioned where the passenger should be. Visibility is excellent for both driver and passengers. For additional safety, EVM has fitted a fake engine noise from AVAS, which engages up until 30 km/h, to alert vulnerable road users. All the workings and switch gear are common to the Sprinter as is the front section of the bus. A special turquoise chrome bead surrounds the grille with an Altas grille badge replacing the triple pointed star. 

The new Cityline range will be built by EVM in Kilbeggan and by Altas in Vilnius (Lithuania) to meet demand for our low floor products. The product is EVM regardless of where it is built and for the Irish market they will definitely be built in Westmeath. Jarlath Sweeney

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