Optare focuses on weight with new electric double-deck

Optare continued its emphasis on light weight as it unveiled its electric double-deck prototype at the NEC show last month. The MetroDecker EV on show was adapted from one of the seven original prototypes in diesel format, for which Optare has yet to announce any sales. 

The MetroDecker EV has a Magtec drive and interestingly opts for just 200kW of batteries on board, yet claims to offer a full day’s operation on an overnight charge. The range quoted by Optare is between 105 and 145 miles on one charge, although it says it hopes to extend this beyond 150 miles.

Optare is not only targeting weight, but also cost, claiming that it will offer the new electric double-deck at the current hybrid price, and is basing its approach on the expectation of battery performances increasing in the near future at a lower cost per kW.

The electric double-deck has an unladen weight of 10.3tonnes and max GVW of 18tonnes giving a passenger capacity of 95. In fact Optare UK president Graham Belgum argues strongly that the UK should not increase vehicle weight limits beyond 18tonnes as this would not incentivise manufacturers to optimise weight.

Optare does have ample experience in producing electric vehicles and  Belgum points out that its early Solo EVs have operated for six years and their batteries retain 97 per cent capacity.

The MetroDecker EV prototype is due to go into service with Go Ahead London in early 2017, ahead of full production capability in around 12 months’ time.