Three motors and batteries to feature in Yoka ECO Bus

Nissan has repurposed the electric powertrain from the Leaf for a zero local-emission bus trial in Japan.

The trial, led by Kumamoto University on Japan's southern Kyushu island, is aimed at tackling the high costs involved in developing electric heavy vehicles.

According to the research team, adapting technology from road cars for life in buses and trucks is one way to minimise development costs, accelerating the rate of zero-emissions vehicles in the process.

The Yoka ECO Bus makes use of three batteries and motors from the Leaf, along with an inverter. Nissan will provide technical support and a unique gearbox for the project, which kicks off in mid-February.

"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, project leader and associate professor at Kumamoto University.

"Our goal is to develop EV buses that are well-balanced in terms of being friendly to the environment and having low development costs."

Japan isn't the only place to be putting electric buses to the test. Locally, Canberra started a trial with pure-EV and hybrid buses in August last year, while Shenzhen in China has a 16,000-strong fleet of electric buses running around, serviced by more than 500 charging stations.

Even New York has joined the countless cities trialling battery-powered buses, in an attempt to cut emissions.