The Kumamoto EV Bus, named “Yoka ECO Bus,” will feature three batteries, three electric motors and an inverter from the Nissan LEAF. Photo: Nissan

The Kumamoto EV Bus, named “Yoka ECO Bus,” will feature three batteries, three electric motors and an inverter from the Nissan LEAF. Photo: Nissan

Technology developed by Nissan for the 100% electric Nissan LEAF will be used in an electric bus project that starts testing next month in Japan, with the goal of making zero-emission public transit more widespread and affordable.

Led by Kumamoto University, the initiative 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.

Rear view of the Kumamoto EV Bus. Photo: Nissan

Rear view of the Kumamoto EV Bus. Photo: Nissan

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.

“We hope to improve Japan’s environment by standardizing the manufacturing of EV buses with help from the know-how of automakers,” said Toshiro Matsuda, an associate professor at Kumamoto University and the project’s leader. “Our goal is to develop EV buses that are well-balanced in terms of being friendly to the environment and having low development costs.”


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