EVM has unveiled its CM range of modular composite-bodied coachbuilt mini and midibuses. The high-floor vehicles are aimed squarely at the accessible and school transport sectors and they “are built to win tenders,” the manufacturer says.
The CM range will be built on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Iveco Daily, MAN TGE and Volkswagen Crafter underframes. Battery-electric and diesel powertrains will be offered at each size range. There is also an option of a plug-in diesel-electric hybrid should the market require it.
EVM CM composite range majors on weight saving benefits
EVM says that the composite nature of the CM range – which is built at its factory in Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath – delivers a lower unladen weight than a comparable van conversion. As a result, it can provide 5,000kg and 5,500kg GVW Sprinter-based CM minibuses with up to 22 seats plus a lift, or a non-accessible 24-seat variant. The former is also able to carry up to six wheelchair users.
On the Daily with a GVW of 7,200kg, a maximum of 28 seats or up to eight wheelchair users is possible in accessible models, and 33 or 35 seats in a ‘school bus’ layout.
In addition to diesel, each of the Daily– and Sprinter-based models are available with a battery-electric drivetrain.
That package has three energy storage packs with a combined 115kW/h of capacity. It delivers a range of up to 200km that EVM says has been verified by “substantial” SORT testing.
Batteries are located within what would be the engine bay and beneath the body. A 150kW motor gives a top speed of 100km/h. A battery-electric driveline in the CM range follows EVM’s debut of zero-emission power in its e-Cityline low-floor minibus. The e-Cityline was announced in March and will be followed by other battery-electric models.
Manufacturer looking at composite solution ‘for some time’
Managing Director Danny McGee says that EVM has been looking at a composite solution “for some time.” The body is constructed using a mix of aluminium, GRP and extruded RTM. Targeted structural rigidity is utilised to maximise weight savings.
Mr McGee adds that the composite construction method is critical to an effective transition to emission-free operation in Sprinter and Daily size categories. “Our customers need to transfer to zero-emission, but they do not want to sacrifice capacity to achieve that,” he continues.
“Our only alternative is to make the vehicle as light as possible. The CM body is the foundation of our path forward in this arena. Weight savings really begin to increase when we move to the 7,200kg GVW chassis. That has allowed us to take capacity to a class-leading 35 passengers.”
Composite body construction allows “very targeted structural integrity,” the OEM says. Electrical, airflow and structural channels are built in during construction and the CM achieves R66.02 certification. EVM adds that the body is also thermally and acoustically efficient.
“Thermal efficiency is now more important than ever with the transition to battery-electric,” says Sales and Marketing Director Peter Flynn.
“Raising or lowering the saloon temperature is an energy sink that we must manage as tightly as possible, while range is critical.
“The composite body is a quantum leap in energy efficiency, requiring less power to run heating or air-conditioning.”
EVM CM can be swapped between chassis to allow later upgrade
Resistance to corrosion through composite construction gives rise to one of the EVM CM range’s showcase elements. A body can be swapped from one chassis to another if required, for example if the operator upgrades from Euro VI diesel to Euro VII or battery-electric power.
That gives “a transition path that customers can commit to and achieve in line with government requirements for zero-emission,” adds Mr McGee. The body comes with removable lower panels that assist with repairs and access to auxiliaries. Between five and seven years’ warranty cover is provided on the CM and it is 100% recyclable at end of life.
EVM has already completed 25 CM bodies on Sprinter underframes. They are 22-seaters, each with a PLS lift. It is also building two diesel Sprinter-based demonstrators. Further demonstrators, mounted on the Daily platform and in zero-emission form, will follow in coming months.