Nissan LEAF Batteries, Motors Will Power Electric Bus

JAN 19 2018 BY MARK KANE 7

Nissan LEAF batteries, motors and inverters will be used in full-size electric bus called “Yoka ECO Bus” developed by the Kumamoto University.

“Yoka ECO Bus” powered by Nissan LEAF

A single LEAF powertrain doesn’t have enough grunt to propel the bus, so the Japanese team decided to use three sets of batteries and motors.

The only proprietary part needed is a dedicated gearbox.

Tests of the Yoka ECO Bus are expected to begin in February and who knows, maybe if its successful Nissan will become a bus manufacturer in the future.

“Led by Kumamoto University, the initiative brings together talent and expertise from the automotive industry, government and academia. It is part of the university’s ongoing involvement with a Japanese Ministry of Environment project that aims to reduce or eliminate CO2 and other emissions from larger vehicles such as buses and trucks. Real-world testing is scheduled to begin in February in Kumamoto City in western Japan.

A major obstacle in creating large electric vehicles has been the high cost of development and parts, including batteries and electric motors. By using technology already conceived and perfected by Nissan, the cost of manufacturing electric buses can be greatly reduced.

The bus, named “Yoka ECO Bus,” will feature three batteries, three electric motors and an inverter from the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric vehicle. Nissan is also developing a dedicated gearbox for the bus and offering technical support. The company hopes the technology can help the project achieve its goal of creating environmentally friendly buses for public transportation systems in Japan.”

Toshiro Matsuda, an associate professor at Kumamoto University and the project’s leader, said:

“We hope to improve Japan’s environment by standardizing the manufacturing of EV buses with help from the know-how of automakers. Our goal is to develop EV buses that are well-balanced in terms of being friendly to the environment and having low development costs.”

Categories: Bus, Nissan


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7 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Batteries, Motors Will Power Electric Bus"

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This is a really cool application of BEV’s inherent properties. You wouldn’t take the motors and gas tanks out of three Nissan Versas and put them into a bus. It just goes to show how inherently more simple EV tech is compared to ICE.


Completely agree. EVs seem to be quickly converging to a point where the total number of unique drivetrain designs will be limited to a small set. This is drastically different than traditional vehicles. VW is a good example. They have a dizzying array of engines. But when moving to EVs they are probably only going to need a couple different EV motor sizes to run their whole array of models. And the battery packs will be modular so will also be used across platforms in a way that helps create the efficiencies of high volume. Additionally it would seem a rather obvious (in my opinion) outcome would be less design cost for said EV motors as compared to ICE motors.


That’s called scalability


For a DIY-type project, sure, that makes sense — it isn’t possible to spend the resources to design a drivetrain for a one-off project.
But for commercial, high-volume, use? I highly doubt using 3 Leaf drivetrains will be more efficient than a purpose-built drivetrain. A design for a BEV bus could easily be amortized across many 10Ks or even 100Ks of units, and per-mileage efficiency matter a lot on a bus — not to mention, the Leaf’s drivetrain doesn’t have a TMS which will affect longevity in hot climates. If you have to add a custom TMS and a purpose-designed gearbox (which a from-scratch bus wouldn’t need), it makes even less sense.