Many conventional automakers still aren’t taking electric vehicles as seriously as they should be, and this extends to the market for commercial and public sector vehicles like buses. Publicly traded GreenPower Motor Company saw the gap in the market and after four years of development released its flagship EV350 transit bus last year. As it turns out, the EV350 is in many ways similar to another popular electric vehicle, the Tesla Model S.
You’ve got to be asking yourself “Huh? How is a bus anything like the Model S?” And indeed at first glance, you’d be right, as the 40 passenger bus seats nearly six-times as many people as the Model S. But, the EV350 relies on cutting edge battery technology and boasts 320 kWh spread out across 12 J.D. Power high performance battery packs, each offering up to 525 amp hours of power. The result is long range capability approaching 200 miles on a single charge almost rivaling the 265 mile range of Tesla’s Model S.
But the real secret to the GreenPower EV350 is its clean-sheet, built-from-the-ground-up design that eschews conventional bus chassis in favor of a purpose-built EV setup. Like the Tesla Model S, the batteries have been placed low in the floor to give it a low center of gravity. The EV350 has also used lightweight materials like carbon fiber and aluminum to keep it as light as possible for such a large electric vehicle, though it still comes in at just over 31,000 pounds, making the 5,000 pound Model S seem svelte in comparison.
Where the engine would be at the back of the bus is instead the drive unit and cooling system. A pair of Siemens electric motors drive the rear wheels to the tune of up to 400 horsepower and gobs of instant torque, and while it may not provide the same sort of insane acceleration as the Tesla Model S P85D, it’s got plenty of get-up-and-go. The body itself rides on a stainless steel chassis and utilizes lightweight fiberglass and carbon composite components, whereas the Model S uses aluminum to keep weight down. Over the 12-year expected service lifetime of this bus, operators could save $600,000 or more in fuel costs compared to a traditional diesel bus in full operation every day.
Better for the environment, better for taxpayers, and easier on our eardrums. Electric buses are definitely the wave of the future.
This post was sponsored by GreenPower