Published on May 12th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart0
The Gaffoglio Electric Bus Shows That Buses Can Look Good Too
May 12th, 2017 by Nicolas Zart
Electric buses are great and we’ve covered a few on CleanTechnica many times, including BYD’s maiden ride in California. But one thing electric buses share with other common public mass transportation buses is that, well, they are common looking. The Gaffoglio electric bus wants to change this. After all, if Apple gave us computer eye candy, why not make mass transit a little more aesthetic?
Images by New Atlas
The Gaffoglio E-Bus Brings Back Aesthetics
Buses are buses, but should they be bland and boring looking? Several decades ago, buses had a certain design flair. This is all but gone now. Modern bus design is utilitarian and practical. It’s a shame because buses from the 1930s, ’50s, and even ’60s had some of the most stunning and dramatic lines. You can check out this Pinterest vintage bus collection to get an idea that buses don’t have to be plain.
I’m still not sure which one I like best — this 1955 GMC Greyhound Scenicruiser …
… or this Kaiser articulated bus …
Steps in a Californian company called Gaffoglio, bringing an aesthetic approach to bus design again.
You might not be familiar with the Gaffoglio Family Metalcrafters, but the company has been working with other car companies providing automotive technology behind the scenes since 1979. In fact, the company offers an interesting array of electrified as well as internal combustion engine (ICE) car components, systems, and assembly. It also specializes in electric vehicle (EV) integration and the building of complete vehicle systems.
And behind the Gaffoglio electric bus prototype is Thunder Sky Winston Group, which commissioned the bus. If that name sounds familiar that is because Thunder has been around designing batteries for well over a decade. Remember those yellow Thunder Lithium batteries? The company has since then rebranded itself after a few quality hiccups and now designs battery packs for transportation as well as renewable energy storage solutions.
The Gaffoglio Electric Bus, Technically Speaking
Before you get too excited, the Gaffoglio electric bus is a 42-passenger bus at the prototype stage. Although the Thunder Sky Winston Group says it has plans to commercialize it, there is nothing concrete yet on its website that hints at that.
The Gaffoglio electric bus uses 96 lithium-iron-phosphate batteries from Thunder. And for those of you who remember the previous fire hazards associated with the company, relax, they are lithium-iron-phosphate, which are much more resistant to thermal heat runaway accidents. Still, just in case, the battery pack is housed in carbon fiber, for added fire protection and weight reduction.
Rated at 1,000 Ah, the 350V batteries mean the Gaffoglio electric bus has a 120 mile (193 km) range. However, the company hints at pushing that range to 250 miles soon, which would definitely make it a great contender for not only public transportation companies but also intercity bus companies. The bus weighs approximately 22.5 tons (20.4 tonnes), making it lighter than other electric buses — due to its copious use of carbon fiber.
What stands out from this electric bus design-wise is that it sits the driver in a central driving position.
Images by New Atlas
Although prototypes don’t always go into production, the Gaffoglio electric bus shows the potential of switching to an electric drivetrain for bus designs. I remember talking to a young and excited gentleman by the name of Franz von Holzhausen in 2008 about this incredible EV he was designing codenamed WhiteStar with this startup called Tesla Motors. What excited him the most was how an electric drivetrain allowed for such design freedom to not have to worry about an ICE plant, a fuel tank, and big, bulky transmission systems.
In the meantime, we hope to hear more from the Thunder Sky Winston Group and if they will get the Gaffoglio electric bus on the road.