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EBUSCO® is an electric bus manufacturing company based in Deurne, The Netherlands, and a growing leader in sustainable public transport.
Founded in 2012, the company has been a fully electric manufacturer from the start. Today hundreds of Ebusco buses are on the road across Europe, and the company is entering a period of rapid growth with a staff of over 500 professionals.
The bus manufacturer’s newest effort – Ebusco 3.0 – marks a step forward for the electric bus industry and the fulfilment of the Ebusco mission: enabling safe, sustainable, emission-free and affordable transportation ecosystems.
The Ebusco 3.0 ambition
The Ebusco 3.0 project began in 2016. Ebusco’s end goal was to develop and produce a lightweight, fully electric city bus with game-changing industry specifications.
“At this point in our development we are focusing on our electric buses and the charging, energy storage and infrastructure associated with them,” says Rob Stevens, Marketing and Communications Manager at Ebusco. “We want a hassle-free solution for customers who buy our buses and put them in place around the world, and we want more people in clean buses.”
Ebusco 3.0 is constructed from lightweight composite materials based on aerospace technology – which cut total weight by 27% – with a longer battery range and a planned lifespan of up to 25 years.
“We’re striving to design the most efficient electric bus in the world,” says Jasper Backx, Technical Project Leader at Ebusco.
The physical design of the bus features a fully-flat floor and an optional panoramic window roof. These are enclosed by a curved carbon fibre space frame that increases strength and communicates elegance. The novel and efficient construction of the bus earned it the prestigious Red Dot Award for Product Design in March 2022.
A new windscreen partnership
The complexity of the required windscreen shape for Ebusco 3.0 meant that the company was struggling to find a suitable supplier – until a technical consultant mentioned Finn Lamex.
“They informed us that Finn Lamex could be a supplier that would be able to make the windscreen,” says Backx. “Our work with Finn Lamex started well – we shared our desired design with them, after which we received feedback about its producibility.”
Ebusco began working with Finn Lamex windscreens in 2019, three years into the Ebusco 3.0 project. The collaboration was characterised by quick design loops between Ebusco and Finn Lamex engineers, where the two teams tried to balance the shape and feature set required by Ebusco 3.0 with large-scale producibility.
“In the end, we found a compromise which resulted in the released prototype-design. After the prototype was fitted on our proto vehicles, design updates and delivery of spare parts were arranged in good harmony.”
But how does windscreen choice play into Ebusco’s emission-free transportation mission?
Finn Lamex manufactures laminated windscreens, a composite material made of glass and laminated foil. Aside from its strength, the laminated foil holds particles that absorb solar energy, decreasing the amount of heat coming through the windscreen. This reduces the energy needed for air conditioning while keeping the driver and passengers more comfortable.
Outside of its base material, Finn Lamex offers several options for windscreen customers. For Ebusco, that meant an electrically heated windscreen with solar control to eliminate ice and fog while increasing driver comfort and visibility. That the windscreen can heat itself through electricity is much more energy efficient compared to heating the entire bus to achieve the same result.
“To build the most energy efficient bus in the world, we must try to avoid energy transitions. Hence the choice for an electrically heated windscreen. Next to that, solar control enables us to avoid unnecessary heat or cold loss through the windscreen.”
The windscreen’s aerodynamic curvature – another Finn Lamex specialty – increases safety by enabling a more recessed A-pillar, giving the driver a more direct view of road users and contributing to the futuristic, Red Dot Award-winning design of the bus.
“In the end we want to get the lowest consumption and total cost of ownership possible,” says Stevens. “With electric buses, heating and cooling is a big part of consumption. The more efficient you can make it, the more efficient the bus can be and the longer the range. Every detail contributes to achieving the lowest consumption possible.”
Initial results suggest Ebusco 3.0 has achieved between 30 to 40% lower energy consumption compared to their previous model – a laudable milestone within one product iteration.
Looking to the future
According to Backx and Stevens, the cooperation between Finn Lamex and Ebusco has been smooth and responsive. Going forward, Finn Lamex will continue to support Ebusco with new windscreen designs, spare parts and technical support.
“Finn Lamex has had a cooperative attitude towards helping us meet our requirements combined with a thorough knowledge of their own production processes, quality and way of working. The communication with our key contact was always open and fair,” says Backx.
The result of the project was a successful launch of Ebusco 3.0, with the first prototypes appearing in 2019 and the first road-ready versions hitting the streets in Munich last year.
“We chose Finn Lamex because of their ability to create a producible windscreen that closely matched our challenging design requirements. The result was very positive – we have successfully launched the bus and the world has received it very well. Our project goals were met, and the windscreen contributed to that.”
Ebusco has its eyes set on growing their roughly 400 buses on the road to 3,000 per year, with a stronger geographical presence in Europe at large and on other continents – for example, North America.
“Governments are now investing heavily in zero-emission transportation,” Stevens says. “Today it’s not uncommon for less than 5% of a country’s buses to meet that standard, and many need to get that number to 100% sometime between 2030 and 2050 to meet their sustainability commitments. There will be strong demand for buses like ours, absolutely.”
In the meantime, Ebusco will continue ramping up its production capacity to meet demand for the next era of electric buses.
Finn Lamex has produced windscreens in Finland since its establishment in 1999, with almost all of its sales (98%) exported to global markets.
Finn Lamex wins because of their OEM products. The value of our business is that we can sell OEM products – it is very important to us. I’m choosing the best I can for my customers, and this is the reason I cooperate with Finn Lamex.
Everybody knows our company as the Finn Lamex company. Whenever we need some technical assistance, Finn Lamex is ready to give it to us. They react quickly to our questions, and we make a good team with their technical people as well.
We evaluate our cooperation with Finn Lamex as very good.