Modularity is a real buzzword in the EV world and whilst for most brands it stretches to using a common platform for multiple vehicles, the eBussy takes the concept and answers a question we're not sure anybody was asking.
On a Monday you could have it set up as a minivan to deliver goods to your artisan pals. Then, when you suddenly realise you need to drive to France to go surfing on Tuesday, it's possible to shift it from right- to left-hand drive, throw on a camping bus body “in just a few steps” and head down to Brittany. Obviously, by Wednesday you'll be back in Blighty lugging some hardcore around for your builder mates, so on goes the tipper body...And depending on your preference or the requirements of your dissociative life, you can even choose an off-road chassis upon which to swap body styles.
On either chassis you can pick from 'Bus' – which has a regular passenger cabin; 'Tipper' – which does what it says; 'Box' – essentially a small luton-style van; 'Universal' – a breadvan-style panel van; 'Station Wagon Pickup' – a crew cab-style pickup; 'Pickup' – a regular pickup without a crew cab; 'Open!' - essentially a lifestyle version of the station wagon pickup; 'Camper' – a tiny camper with sofa bed, fridge, TV, fresh water tank and sink; 'Freedom' – the basic eBussy with a cab and flat load space.
Aside from the ability to bolt on different body styles – which is cool in itself – the eBussy can be converted from right- to left-hand drive, or vice versa, thanks to drive-by-wire controls. The entire wheel and digital instrument cluster simply slides across, as do the pedals.
The standard battery pack is very small at just 10kWh, but the vehicle is extremely light for an EV, tipping the scales at between just 450kg and 600kg unladen and depending on the body style. Hub-mounted motors at each corner deliver just 20hp, but a whopping 737lb-ft of torque enables the eBussy to carry up to 1000kg of payload.
Lightness means that forecast range on the 10kWh battery is still a respectable 124 miles. An optional 30kWh battery pack triples this range to over 370 miles and with up to eight square metres of solar panels built-in, Electric Brands reckons that up to 13kWh can be added per day – representing around 186 miles worth of driving. Regenerative braking also adds a bit of otherwise wasted power back into the mix.
Another idea for the eBussy is battery exchange stations, where spent batteries can be quickly swapped for charged ones. This is an easy process on the eBussy, though we suspect that this is a pipe dream rather than a practical reality. Regardless, at a maximum of 30kWh and a charge time of three hours, it's not a massive inconvenience to simply charge the eBussy in a conventional manner.
Assuming Electric Brands can take the eBussy from a concept through to production, deliveries are due to start next year, in mainland Europe at least. We don't actually know whether you'll be able to buy one within the UK, but given the fact that the eBussy can be configured to right-hand drive so easily, this needn't be a barrier. This ambitious time line is supported by the ability for punters to put down a no obligation deposit and be assigned a production number.
The estimated price for the 'Freedom' version on the (slightly cheaper) urban chassis starts at £14,280, with the 'Camper' body style on either chassis coming in at an estimated £25,994. So it's not expensive in the scheme of things. And we certainly hope that quirky EVs like the eBussy become successful as they're an interesting new take on how we create vehicles. Whether the market is there yet is another story.