Higer is winning renown in Ireland for both coaches and battery electric buses. Dublin-based importer Harris Group is now confident the UK will follow.
Four Higer battery e-buses already serve Brighton operator The Big Lemon, alongside a demonstrator being shown to potential buyers there. All these are from the Steed range. This compact mid-sized platform offers up to 31 seats and 210kW/h storage. The past two years have seen the Steed range adapt to UK and Irish requirements. A luxury fit for corporate shuttle and commuter work complements an ordinary public fit.
Above the Steed comes the full-length Azure range with 350kW/h storage. In demonstrator form the Azure seats 42, but Harris Group sees this rising to 46 for future arrivals. The battery electric Sima range will soon slot under the Azure and Steed. Set to be a 22 seater, it will be available either as a high floor minicoach or low floor bus.
Higer Steed battery e-buses: compact and well-appointed
The Steed, already on UK soil with The Big Lemon, has a front mounted steer axle and can be specified at 8m, 8.5m, or 9m XL lengths. Unladen weight is around 8 tonnes and onboard energy storage is 174kW/h or 210kW/h. Charging for all battery Higers will be by DC via a CCS2 connector. Chargers are included in the vehicle price, Harris adds.
Dublin already sports several Steeds and expects 30 more soon. The latter will have improved passenger entry steps and interior access to the high floor at the back. The early 8.5m buses had steeper steps.
Each bus has a single motor. The 174kW/h battery is by Prestolite and the 210kW/h is by Dana. Harris Group is looking to standardize on a single motor supplier.
The Steed’s wheel-forward arrangement places the driver ahead of the forward door. The seat rotates 45 degrees so the driver can face the passengers. Subsequent Steeds will also have less steep access steps.
Azure: a city e-bus or corporate bus in the same package
Higer’s Azure targets the more conventional full-weight city bus market. The demonstrator’s specification centres on that sector, with 42 low-backed Kiel seats (with USB chargers) and wood-effect flooring accommodating 30 standing passengers. As with the Steed, Harris Group sees a market for corporate and commuter Azures.
In common with the Steed, the Azure has a roof-mounted air conditioner and perimeter resistance radiators. The two models have batteries from CATL. The step arrangement at the rear of the Azure sees the floor level rise steeply. The motor is by Prestolite.
A brief drive of the Azure demonstrator showed it to be very similar to comparable models in its class. The small steering wheel – shared with the Steed – is easy to handle. In addition to gullwing mirrors, the demonstrator also had a coach-style lower offside pane arguably offering a better view that the higher one.
What was clear from both vehicles is that Higer’s battery electric drive is highly refined: motor whine was practically nonexistent. Harris Group’s desire to sell upmarket versions of each model caters for the growing demand for shared commuter transport. An announcement on dealers is imminent as Harris Group looks to cement its place in the UK coach and bus market.
For more on Higer e-buses and UK dealer Harris Group, visit Route One webpage.