Published on September 30th, 2018 | by Nicolas Zart0
GreenPower’s Multi-Use EV Star Electric Minibus (#CleanTechnica Review)
September 30th, 2018 by Nicolas Zart
GreenPower recently introduced its first designed-from-scratch electric minibus or large van — called the GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus — which we got to test drive for a CleanTechnica review. GreenPower says the EV Star Min-eBus meets many needs for fleet owners, and others. Find out how it was to drive and learn more from our talk with GreenPower President Brendan Riley.
Industry First Purpose-Built Electric Van, The Multitalented GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus
When I first saw the GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus, I thought it was a Mercedes Sprinter electric conversion, a vehicle I’m familiar with. Last year, I drove the Chanje electric van at the Los Angeles Auto Show, another similar vehicle. But this Min-eBus is different.
Brendan Riley smiled, shook my hand, and said the EV Star Min-eBus was designed from scratch keeping in mind the broad platform format of a modern-day minibus/van.
Brendan tells us that the EV Star is perfect for most paratransit fleet owners, but can also serve as an executive shuttle, micro-transit bus, vanpool, and much more. The ground-up design means the frame makes ADA compliances easier to meet. Brendan concluded by saying that the EV Star Min-eBus has a life expectancy of 10 years, something fleet owners favor.
When it comes to charging matters, the GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus uses a standard J1772 and also comes with CCS fast charging capability that brings it from a depleted state to a full charge in an hour and a half.
- Length: 25 ft. (7.62 m)
- Width: 80.3 ” (2.03 m)
- Height: 106″ (2.69 m)
- Seating: up to 20
- Range: up to 200 miles (322 km)
If you’re still confused about mileage, check out GreenPower’s energy consumption calculator.
The Ride: Stacking Up EVs Against Gasoline & Diesel Shuttles
A van is a van until you drive a Mercedes Sprinter and realize what a van can do, should do, be able to endure, and still haul enough cargo. These vehicles take regular daily beatings but were engineered to for it. Breaking into that tight market means executing a solid and reliable shuttle that takes advantage of electric benefits. GreenPower’s EV Star Min-eBus steps into the people mover and cargo hauler category comfortably.
Founded in 2010, GreenPower has consistently brought efficient zero-emissions buses to the market. Brendan tells us it is the only manufacturer in North America that produces electric buses for transit, shuttle, tourist, and school operations.
What is particularly attractive about GreenPower’s EV Star Min-eBus is its clean-sheet design approach, giving it a highly versatile profile and a great ride.
Stepping into the GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus feels like … stepping into a shuttle. No big news here … until I noticed the front side-door hinge. Brendan tells me he is proud of how that hinge closes. It brings back the door, lifts it, and closes to as close as possible to a hermetic seal. The armature is a highly simplified door hinge system found on regular buses. It’s just lighter, smaller, simpler, takes less space, and saves on weight, tear, and maintenance.
Getting into the GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus shows a well displayed dash with all basic driver information at a quick glance. The gear shift shows D, N, R — and parking means D + pulling the handbrake.
Behind the wheel, I pull back gently and launch the EV Star forward. The first turn feels tight, and braking is exactly what I would expect from such a vehicle. Now, onto bigger and faster roads. Although, we didn’t take the shuttle on highways, but stayed on surface roads where it would most likely spend the majority of its life.
After a decade of test driving electric vehicles, I’m surprised at little to no ambient noise in an EV, and the EV Star sounds peaceful enough for miles of smooth electric driving.
The many open straight avenues we had showed that the shuttle is equally surefooted on surface roads, highway stretches, and stop-and-go traffic, which is where an electric drivetrain leaves gasoline and diesel engines far behind in the dust.
Final Thoughts On The Multifaceted GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus
Compared to the Mercedes Sprinter, the GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus feels more personal, perhaps due to the size and feel inside. The even floor platform suggests smooth lines and rides. The Chanje also handled well and felt about the same as the EV Star. The GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus differs with its ride feel, though, as it is geared more toward being a people mover, while also fitting the role of electric cargo hauler. IN other words, the GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus felt more like a local to medium transit shuttle. To be fair, the GreenPower EV Star Min-eBus was set up with seats and the Chanje wasn’t. Nonetheless, the EV Star we drove felt more at ease doing both, personal and cargo hauls.
It’s amazing to see how many electric buses, vans, minibuses, and double-deckers there now are. GreenPower’s EV Star Mon-eBus, a solid platform that can handle many needs, is a great addition. But how about electric double-deckers?
Stay tuned for more.