Optare used the Melbourne Bus Expo to launch its first electric bus in Australia and although the British maker has not had a huge amount of sales cut through here so far, its local distributor Bus Corp Oceania is hoping  that Optare’s MetroCity Electric city bus could spark  interest in the British brand.

Bus Corp debuted the new MetroCity Battery Electric bus at the BusVic Bus Expo in Melbourne  and the presence of the new monocoque zero emission roused some attention in a show that had a strong  green presence

BCO general manager Jason Pecotic  believes the Optare electric bus could provide some cut through for the British brand in a rapidly changing market that is quickly embracing low and zero emission options.

“We reckon it is time to launch the MetroBus electric version  to answer  the growing number of enquiries we are fielding for green options,” Pecotic told T&B News.

“The combination of our lightweight yet strong moncoque construction and Optare’s expertise with battery electric techniology whihc is well proven in  the UK means wer are well placed with this bus to provide solutions for Australian and NZ operators,” he added.

BCO says the 150 kW Full Electric bus  delivers maximum torque of 2000Nm from start up using a three pack  assembly running in parallel, consisting of 26 batteries per pack and delivering total energy of 138kWh. BCO technical people say that there is also a two pack battery option,  delivering total energy of  92kWh.

The MetroCity EV  uses 12.8v/ 138Ah lithium iron magnesium phosphate maintenance free type batteries. with built in electronic monitoring of key parameters.

With battery packs kinked together they produce 333 volts DC. Optare engineeers tell us that the forecast range on a single charge, is dependent on duty cycle and equipment options, but that  the three pack models should deliver around 210km, while the two pack should run for about 150km between charges.

The Optare EV features and integrated on-board charger .which connects to a standard commercial three phase power supply. Using the on-board charger Optare says the charge time from zero to full will be approximately six hours. Optare says that  there is also an optional 42kW external charge system that can be mounted at a depot or terminus point  which is capable of fully recharging the batteries in just 2.5 hours.

Further charging options also include dual fast chargers, which can reduce charging time even more while a there is also the option of a 60kW inductive charger.

Of course  being electrically powered  the MetroCity EV  has the benefit  of a Magtec P180 Regenerative Braking

Twin bag air suspension with leading taper leaf springs and Panhard rod is uysed on the front, while at the rear there is a four bag air suspension on parallel linkage. The bus uses ZF 8090 steering gear with integral power assistance..

The body uses a \combination of GFRP and aluminium modular exterior panels for low cost repair or replacement, while modular pressed alloy side panels locked into waist-rail sections and retained by screw fasteners for ease of replacement are aklso used..

BCO says the MetroCity electric is available in a range of options with one or two door configuration in 10130mm, 10820mm or 11520mm chassis lengths with up tp 44 Seats and maximum capacity of  up to 60 passengers.