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Nissan Leaf technology will be used in electric bus development.

As part of a Kumamoto University project that aims to lower cost of zero-emission public transit, Nissan Leaf technology will be used in an electric bus test in Japan. Nissan Leaf is a 100 per cent electric car that was introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, followed by various European countries and Canada in 2011. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official range for the 2016 model year Leaf with the 30 kWh battery was 172 kms on a full battery charge. The car, containing battery packs that can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes using DC fast charging, has proved to be the world’s all-time best-selling highway-capable electric car in history. Producing no tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas emissions when in operation, Leaf’s electric technology includes an 80 kW motor and a single speed constant ratio transmission. The 30kWh Litjium-ion battery is located under the seat to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. The Leaf also has an auxiliary 12-volt lead–acid battery that provides power to the computer systems and accessories such as the audio system, supplemental restraint systems, headlights and windshield wipers. A small solar panel on the Leaf’s rear spoiler helps to charge the lead-acid battery.

The bus, compared to the Leaf, which is a five-door hatchback, will ferry more people. Bringing together talent and expertise from the automotive industry, government and academia, the bus, as 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, will suitably adopt Leaf electric propulsion technology to ensure zero tailpipe emissions and lower running costs. Real world testing scheduled for February in Kumamoto City in western Japan, the bus marks the tackling of a major obstacle in creating a large electric vehicle where the development and parts cost high. Components and modules like batteries and electric motors. By using technology that has already been conceived and perfected by Nissan, the people behind the project are concentrating on keeping the cost of manufacture low. They are also hoping that this project leads to an example that others could follow, and develop electric buses that are viable and sustainable.

The project bus is called the ‘Yoka ECO’. To feature three batteries, three electric motors and an inverter from the Nissan LEAF, the bus will deploy a dedicated gearbox that Nissan is developing. Nissan has pledged to offer technical support and is hoping that the technology it is providing will help the project to achieve its goal of creating environmentally friendly buses for public transportation in Japan. Averred the project leader Toshiro Matsuda who is also an associate professor at Kumamoto University, that the plan is to improve Japan’s environment by standardising the manufacturing of EV buses with the know-how of automakers. “Our goal is to develop electric buses that are well-balanced in terms of being environmentally friendly and having low development costs,” he mentioned. Actively supporting environmental programmes and regional revitalisation activities that focus on energy use and the adoption of electric vehicles, Nissan, by participating in the Yoka ECO electric bus project has once again highlighted that vehicle electrification is a key part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility. The Yoka ECO is reflective of Nissan’s vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society.

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