The Belarusian vehicle manufacturer MAZ has presented its first electric bus. The MAZ 303E10 uses the purely electric central drive CeTrax by ZF and is supposed to have a range of up to 300 kilometres.
Part of a new generation of MAZ buses, the 303 is the third generation of city buses. Belarusians hope that the electric bus will be able to “cross a large city several times without having to recharge”. The electric model is intended to combine the advantages of overhead line and diesel buses.
The 303E10 is a 12.43-meter-long low-floor bus that can carry 70 passengers – 30 of whom are seated. The chassis itself is made of corrosion-resistant steel tubes and its load-bearing capacity is designed for the weight of the batteries.
The city bus is driven by the 300 kW ZF CeTrax axle. The batteries are to be able to be charged both by alternating current and by CCS – the latter is to take about four hours. The report does not mention the possibility of quick charging by pantograph. The news agency says that the electric bus is “ahead of many competitors in terms of acceleration speed, range and power consumption”.
The bus also has various features such as a retractable ramp for wheelchair users, USB charging ports at all seats and an electric air conditioning system. The driver’s cabin is still equipped with some very robust looking toggle switches but also has a digital dashboard.
During the development process, care was apparently taken to use as many identical parts as possible to the other 303 series buses to make maintenance and repair easier for the operators. MAZ has not given an idea of the price of the model. According to MAZ general director Valery Ivankovich, the electric bus is still “somewhat more expensive” than a diesel bus, but as soon as the company starts mass production and improves the model, the price could “drop considerably”. Generally, of course, even more-expensive electric vehicles save money over their fossil-fuelled counterparts alone through lower maintenance and energy costs.
“For MAZ, a historic moment has come – access to a promising segment of electric buses. The new model combines the advantages of a bus and a trolley bus. Moreover, it was created on the basis of the third-generation bus MAZ 303, but with the maximum unification of units, assemblies, cladding elements and electronic systems. The electric bus turned out to be not only advanced but also economical, which makes it the best choice for cities,” stated MAZ in a press release in Russian.
The 303E10 must prove its practical suitability within a year. According to another report from Belta, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has ordered MAZ to produce ten electric buses for use in Belarusian regions. According to the MAZ press release in Russian, delivery should be made in May 2021.