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Isuzu Novociti Volt arrived in Romania at the beginning of the year and its first exit from the yard of importer Anadolu Automobil Rom was for a test drive in Bucharest, on a cold and sunny winter day. The small electric bus diverted many glances, both from pedestrians and especially from the drivers of the public operator STB, intrigued by the newcomer to the urban landscape.
The compact dimensions of 7,957 × 2,463 × 3,260mm (LxWxH) make the Novociti Volt an ideal solution for narrow street routes with low to medium traffic. Depending on the interior configuration and the number of seats, you can choose a maximum total capacity of 46 or 52 seats, with space for the stroller.
Quick acceleration, smooth and comfortable deceleration
The TM4 Sumo MD electric motor has a maximum power of 255 kW and a maximum torque of 2,355 Nm. Depending on the desired range, up to 300 or 380 km (without air conditioning), the capacity of the lithium-ion batteries located on the roof can be 211 or 269 kW. The test vehicle was equipped with a smaller package, 211 kW, and at the end of the test, lasting about two hours, it was carried out on the route Băneasa Station – Press Room – Arc de Triomphe – Victoriei Square – Unirii Square – Palace of the Parliament – Marriott Hotel – Splaiul Independenței – Podul Basarab – Bulevardul 1 Mai – Arcul de Triumf – Fântâna Miorița – the range indicated on board was 262 km (reduced from 280 km).
Acceleration of the Novociti Volt is strong and continuous, thanks to the direct drive electric motor, which does not require shifting gears, as is the case with diesel engines. When the accelerator pedal is released, it automatically engages the energy recovery engine brake, but deceleration is smooth and very comfortable for the passengers, taking full advantage of the vehicle’s kinetic energy. The braking intensity can be set in 6 levels, and at the time of the test it was in the second level, suitable for relatively light traffic conditions.
Novociti Volt stands out for its tranquility. The noise like a slight screeching, specific to electric vehicles, is discreet and in a neutral tone, which does not bother at all, being almost imperceptible. And you don’t hear any signals or damage.
The suspension is fully air and the fully air braking system includes ABS, EBS and ESP. The standard security system package also includes the parking sensor, the engine compartment fire detection system and the ramp assist system.
Ergonomic driving position
The tabletop is simply and ergonomically configured. In the information panel behind the wheel you will find information on the battery charge level, on the amount of energy consumed up to that moment and on the remaining range. The amount of energy consumed and recovered respectively during braking is displayed in real time. Figures in figures must be accompanied by a suitable red or blue light. The digital graphics are made clear and neat, only the writing is a bit small, and if the light hits the screen, it can be more difficult to read. However, information on the amount of energy available in the batteries is also indicated by one of the two large “clocks” on board, which here replaces the tachometer in conventional buses.
The driver has a comfortable position, the seat on the air mattress, with the armrest on the right side, is comfortable on the long road. It is height adjustable at the front and rear, and the steering column can also be adjusted in height and depth. We also appreciate the safe and easy-to-control steering, stability and maneuverability of the bus.
On the right side of the steering wheel are the controls for operating the doors, the emergency button, the controls for raising and lowering the bodywork, for the kneeling function and for assistance when exiting the ramp. Next to them, in the central part of the dash, there is space for the installation of a navigation screen or for a PTA communication system with the dispatcher. If the seat is still empty, it can also be used as a compartment for the driver’s mobile phone. To the left of the steering wheel are the controls for the interior lights, windshield defroster and driver’s window, the ASR cancel button, and the horn. On the side are the cup holder, a USB port with two outputs, and the parking brake (whose handle is a bit of a short idea).
At the bottom there is a large storage compartment, which can hold up to a 2L bottle, and to the right are the radio-CD and the climate control system, with separate controls for the driver’s compartment and the passenger lounge .
The manufacturer’s attention to detail made use of any space, so in the narrow space between the steering wheel and the dashboard a tray-type compartment was arranged, in which pens, a lighter, coins or other small objects can be placed. .
The exterior mirrors are simple, in one piece and are a small disadvantage for the electric bus, which is also very balanced, because in city traffic optimal visibility around the vehicle is important. The mirror on the left is mounted on the A-pillar and that is why half of the driver’s window is defrosted. However, the mirror on the right is a bit rudimentary and contrasts with the decorated interior and the latest technology. The sunshade is manual and only covers the driver’s workspace. Likewise, the side window is also operated manually.
Cozy, bright and airy living room
The cabin is very bright thanks to the lower line of windows and the fully transparent doors. The orange upholstery of the seats fits nicely with the light gray and silver tones, and the wide areas next to the two entrances create the feeling of spaciousness. Furthermore, the partition panel between the driver’s seat and the interior of the bus is also made of transparent material.
The entrance door is wide, so access to the dashboard is easy, especially if there is a loading device mounted in the central area – there is already pre-equipment, on the support bar that follows the line of the dashboard to the seat of the driver. The second door is double, to allow the loading of a stroller, and the opening is made to the outside, so as not to affect the useful interior space. On the opposite wall were mounted 4 folding chairs, which do not take up space, but can be used as needed. The carriage ramp is manual, but optionally one with electric drive can be ordered.
The back of the room is occupied by three-tiered amphitheater-style chairs. This is an efficient and necessary use of space above the engine compartment and will likely be used especially by young people. The truth is that the panorama inside the bus, but also outside, is very attractive.
ªthe driver can constantly observe what is happening inside the bus, but also around him – when he is stopped at the station, thanks to the optional system of three video cameras – for the lounge and separately for the two doors – to which it is added the video camera for reversing. They have a separate display, located in the upper left corner, next to the front information panel control system.
An LCD monitor is provided as standard to broadcast advertising and informational material.
Depending on your budget, Novociti Volt can be configured to meet the requirements of any urban transport operator. The battery warranty is to ensure a charge of at least 80% of the capacity for a period of 8 years with overnight charge.