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Isuzu Unveils Its 1st Electric Bus


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Isuzu just unveiled the Erga EV bus, claiming it to be the world’s first battery electric flat-floor route bus. It was unveiled at the first Japan Mobility Show (formerly known as the Tokyo Motor Show) on October 25. It is scheduled to launch in Japan in 2024. 

The Erga EV is powered by a high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack that provides a range of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) on a single charge. It has a seating capacity of up to 90 passengers and is equipped with a variety of features to improve safety and comfort, including an automatic emergency braking system (AEBS), a lane departure warning system, a unique blind spot monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, and even USB charging ports for sitting passengers.

Flat-floor, transitional acceleration

The flat-floor, obstacle-free Erga EV bus. Photo from techsauceph.com.

The flat-floor, low-height bus with a flexible layout allows for the elimination of steps at the rear of the bus, creating a fully wide and extremely accessible interior. This “non-step” design allows passengers to easily get on and off the bus easily, especially for those physically challenged.

Moreover, all seats are leveled in such a way that there is no part of the bus with steps (for example, to the rear most seats or seats that are over the fenders), making movement within the bus completely barrier-free.

The lack of a large powerplant allows this layout.

The rear-wheel-drive bus uses a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM). The very efficient motor has a high power density, allowing for smoother acceleration and deceleration, as well as lower vibration and noise levels.

Side view of the flat-floor, obstacle-free Erga EV bus that can accommodate up to 90 passengers. Photo from techsauceph.com.

The way the bus accelerates is a smooth transition, because the already torquey motors can gain traction without the need for speeding up. This feature maximizes passenger safety and comfort. With these improvements, Isuzu aims to eliminate onboard accidents, such as falls, entirely.

Side view of the flat-floor, obstacle-free Erga EV bus that can accommodate up to 90 passengers. Photo from techsauceph.com.

Transition to zero emission in Japan

The Isuzu Erga EV is a significant development in the transition to zero-emission public transportation in Japan.
But this is not the first time Isuzu’s gotten into decarbonization efforts to reduce emissions from its diesel engines. The company began that as early as 1995 when it was instrumental in developing the Common Rail Fuel Injection system, which helps to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Five years later, it introduced the Variable Geometry Turbocharger, which has become commonplace in diesel engines for higher outputs. This was followed by the invention of the Diesel Particulate Filter, which helps to cut particulate matter emissions.

In 2010, it released the Selective Catalytic Reduction system for diesel engines, which helps to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. And in 2015, Isuzu developed the next-generation Common Rail Direct fuel Injection (CRDI) system, which further improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

Its electrification efforts have been happening for over a decade, starting with the Elf EV in Japan in 2012. In 2018, it released the N-Series EV domestically, and in 2024, it will make the Isuzu Erga EV bus in Japan.

A crowd of onlookers visit the ERGA EV booth at the opening of the Japan Mobility Show. It was observed that a large number of children were brought by their parents to the show. Photo from Isuzu Social Media posting.

“Isuzu is committed to further commercial electric vehicles, as part of our concept of “Innovation for You,” That is not only to help reduce air pollution and achieve climate goals but working with governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to create a more sustainable transportation future,” Shinesuke Minami, President and COO of Isuzu Motor Co., said in Japanese on the sidelines of the press conference following the press briefing for the booth.

In addition to its own EV development efforts, Isuzu is also partnering with other companies to accelerate the adoption of EVs. For example, in 2022, Isuzu announced a partnership with the Japanese government to develop and deploy hydrogen fuel cell buses.

Written with Deriq Bernard Tribdino of chargedph.com and techsauceph.com

 


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