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Battery buses on trial in Dorset

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Two battery-electric Optare Solo SRs are being tested in Dorchester, before entering passenger service on a route to Poundbury in a few weeks' time. The 8.9m-long buses have been funded by the Duchy of Cornwall – which designed Poundbury, West Dorset district council and Dorset county council.

They feature the Enova P120 zero-emission full-electric drive system. This has a 120kW motor and uses 56 maintenance-free, lithium iron magnesium phosphate batteries housed in two separate packs which are assembled in parallel. The 100kWh battery pack is expected to give an operating range of around 90 miles on a single charge.

Charging is via a water cooled 15.2 kW on-board charger which achieves full capacity in around six hours. The charging process is fully automated and the unit shuts all systems down at the end of the cycle enabling the vehicle to be left unattended. ?

The buses were originally scheduled for delivery last summer and the service has been operating since last autumn with diesel-powered buses.

www.optare.com

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