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August 05 2016
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Wrightbus’ new range of electric buses revealed

Wrightbus has unveiled two key new products from its Electrocity range of buses – the StreetAir EV wheel forward (WF) and the longer StreetAir EV door forward (DF). 

All-new 10.6m all-electric bus has been revealed by Wrightbus – its next stop will be London for a series of in-service tests

The new offerings - revealed at a press ride-and-drive event in Northern Ireland - are part of a range announced last year that builds on the company’s experience and provides with a choice of vehicle formats and charging systems.

The 9.5m length StreetAir EV WF, recently been on a demonstration tour in Europe, builds upon 2.5 years in-service experience with plug-in buses in Milton Keynes.

The 13T vehicle was first shown on the Wrights Group stand at Euro Bus Expo in 2012 and has since undergone two driveline upgrades.

Joining the StreetAir EV WF is the longer Wrightbus StreetAir EV DF - an 18T plug-in electric vehicle based on the diesel StreetDeck chassis. It will be the platform for single deck and double deck variants at 10.6m lengths.

Both the StreetAir EV WF and StreetAir EV DF models will be available with all three main charging options - overnight (plug-in), inductive (as in operation on the Milton Keynes trial) and conductive (pantograph) charging.

The StreetAir EV WF is available in 8.8m and 9.5m. 

Interior of 10.6 DF version – designed to Transport for London’s specific requirements – shows the StreetDeck underpinnings

The demonstrator is a 9.5m, single door, single-decker - based on the StreeetLite diesel range - and covered 4,000 miles on a demonstration tour in Switzerland this spring.

Using Siemens’ ELFA 2 electric drive system, the StreetAir EV WF demonstrator is a ‘plug-in’ format, with overnight charging of the Nickel Manganese Cobalt batteries. The range is 150 miles, or 18 hours of service per day.

Using a modular build process, Wrightbus is able to offer the three different vehicle charging and associated battery configurations on the same platform, allowing fleet standardisation across a vehicle and optimising aftermarket support.

Versions of both vehicles will be part of a demonstration programme that will run throughout 2016 and 2017, with series production in 2017.

The new range of electric buses will be supported through Customcare.  The vehicles are fitted with the latest on-board and live remote diagnostic battery measuring equipment, which provides real time data for the service support team even before they attend the vehicle.

Dr William Wright CBE, who heads up the alternative driveline division at Wrightbus, says: “At Wrightbus we have committed ourselves to the design of cleaner, greener buses and have been at the forefront of electric bus technology for more than a decade now.  

“Our team is highly knowledgeable with class-leading expertise in the techniques of electric vehicle development

“Our philosophy is to provide a range of fully flexible products, particularly in relation to the charging methodology, while built on standard product platforms.

Wrightbus team at the launch (l-r) Ian Downie, MD Sales; Dr William Wright Director; Robert Brayshw, Electrocity Project manager and Jim Morrison Electric Vehicles Head of Product Development

“This way, the customer can decide which type of technology and format best suits their requirements and those of the location in which they operate, rather than being dictated by us, the manufacturer.

“Our team is able to advise and support them to create a bespoke offering which is specifically tailored to their individual requirements and operations.”

Full story in the next routeONE, published on Wednesday 10 August – read it here

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