Harris Bus & Coach are the exclusive distributors for the Higer bus range for Ireland and the UK. As part of the commitment made by the Harris Group to bring electric mass transportation to the wider bus market they have recently launched the Azure 12 meter electric City-Bus, the second EV offering from the Harris Bus Division. This new model has been developed for the European market, has full European type approval, and is a close collaboration between Higer bus and Harris Bus & Coach.
This completely new right-hand drive Higer Bus model, one of the first new production models to arrive in Ireland, was submitted for the recent EV bus competition held in Limerick. It proved to be an elegant bus, coming to the market with a very high level of standard equipment and a competitive price tag.
Components from eminent, blue-chip manufacturers are installed in the Azure, with ZF maintenance free axles, Bosch steering and Wabco brakes along with CATL Lithium-ion batteries. The use of these quality components will ensure the vehicle will have the maximum running time for the life of the bus cutting down on repairs, and making it easy to get parts etc.
Of all the entrants to the EV Bus of the year event, the range of the Azure proved to be one of the best. The Azure can achieve up to 500km on a single charge by using the regeneration system combined with specific EV driver training.
Throughout the Azure there is a feeling of great space, the bright interior is finished to a very high standard. Among the standard features are double glazed windows with black UV protection, alloy wheels and air conditioning with covid air filtration.
In the driver’s station there is plenty of storage space, room for a ticketing machine, and ancillary equipment. The area is well segregated to give the driver an independent and safe working environment. Entry and exit are easy from a passenger point of view, with a super low floor
and easy wheelchair & push-chair access.
Although not featured on the Higer Azure electric bus entered, Harris Group’s General Manager, Chris Haughton explained that by customer request, all Higer electric buses will in future be fitted with on-board defibrillators. He also suggested the possibility of power points for charging electric wheelchairs, which portrays a high degree of range confidence. Another proposed benefit for wheelchair passengers is a
display that relays the driver’s view so that, as they are facing the rear of the vehicle, they can see where they need to alight.
Although the test Azure had standard exterior mirrors, Higer can supply digital mirrors. Also fitted is a system that allows the vehicle to be cleaned without the need to switch it on fully. A button on the dash, marked ‘wash’, once pressed, turns the interior lights on for 15 minutes to enable cleaning to take place.
Overall, the Higer Azure was impressive, the bus worked well, looked attractive and is well supported by Harris Bus & Coach. Some of the international jury members were amazed at the hands-on approach taken by the Harris team in terms of customer care, parts availability, and its general can-do attitude when it comes to giving individual customisation for customers when ordering new vehicles.
What really works in the Higer Azure’s favor is the price and high overall standard specification. This includes a 75 kwh CCS2 DC charger, a 12-camera DVR system , double glazing, Michelin tyres, a driver training package and a mobile defibrillator. Considerably more standard features than any of the other candidates.
The Azure is a real contender for the Zero Emissions requirements that society urgently needs and it is no surprise that Harris Bus & Coach have already seen orders come in for this impressive vehicle.