The Technocrat and the Routine – Isuzu Novociti Volt and Novociti Life Comparison – Car-Engine

The front version of the electric version, the Volt, is more spectacular: its LED headlights illuminate through narrow gaps and are more noticeable in traffic. The higher roof is also different from the Life version. Photo: Balázs Stefler

The two sister vehicles, the Isuzu Novociti Life and the Novociti Volt, are representative of the eight-meter urban and suburban categories, respectively. With a width of 2463 millimeters, it moves deftly even in the narrow streets of the city center and, depending on the configuration, can carry 46-60 passengers. The base vehicle itself, except for the difference in drive system and front design (the Volté is more spectacular), is virtually identical: low-floor, so barrier-free (hand ramp series, electric available), with thinly padded, textile-covered seats and one- and two-leaf doors for quick passenger changes. The chassis is air-sprung, the steering is electro-hydraulic. The gearbox was located at the rear, some of the batteries in the electric version were also there, and the rest on the roof. But even there is an interesting feature: a solar panel on the roof that helps with charging (extra equipment). Which electric car has one? I don’t know anything, though it’s a great idea…

An experienced pilot can immediately feel at home in the Life driving position, everything is in the usual place, well transparent and at hand. The short shift lever is raised by a tower, you have to cross in front of it. The Volt, of course, has no shift lever, and its instrumentation is quite different: in addition to speed and other data, it shows the energy consumption of the electric drive system, the available range.

Although the Japanese brand is Isuzu, these buses – along with many other types – are designed and manufactured in Turkey by Anadolu. The importer in Hungary and its head office is Isuzu Bus Hungary, which provided an opportunity for a test drive. Going around, both vehicles, in whole and in detail, make a good impression, satisfying all normal needs. With 21 sessions, 39 can travel standing, which, given the short time, seems acceptable. It is, of course, possible to attach a wheelchair. The driving position is the usual standard, ergonomic, clear, and the pilot can feel at home right away. Only the high-reach gearbox of the diesel version, which is somewhat obstructing movement, can be distracting, but thanks to the highly tiltable steering column, it can be easily moved in front of it. Of course, there is a significant difference between the dashboards. Diesel is standard, while electric shows energy consumption in kWh, as a percentage of current power output or recuperation (deceleration energy recovery), range, and electrical equipment temperature.

Thinly upholstered seats designed for short trips, with ample space for passengers’ hand luggage underneath. There is more parking space than a seat, this is in line with the purpose of the vehicle. A wheelchair can be attached in the middle. While driving, the diesel engine’s not-too-loud murmur fills the passenger compartment. We looked back in the cabin of the Volt. The rear seats in both versions are high, with the transmission underneath, so the floor could be low to make it easy to get in and out.

The Novociti Life diesel engine is Cummins, with a six-speed manual transmission or two Allison automatic transmissions. The drive voltage of the purely electric (BEV-rated) Novociti Volt drive system was 400, and like the electric passenger cars, the two Isuzus have higher power and torque, to a significant extent. Accordingly, it is capable of dynamic accelerations, going like a bullet. Depending on the specification, the factory data promises a range of 200 (300 without air conditioning) or 250 (380 without air conditioning) lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 211 or 269 kWh. I’d love to follow that through a real passenger shift – they’re probably talking about the maximum possible, under the most favorable conditions possible. The weight of the battery, as we have become accustomed to electric vehicles, is not exactly small: 1544 and 1901 kilograms, respectively. The charging time is up to two hours with DC, eight and a half with AC, and the corresponding data for the larger battery is 2.5 and 11 hours. This fits into the night downtime. With a range of 150 kW, a range of 30 kilometers can be achieved in ten minutes. The battery comes with an eight-year warranty, which means that when charged with night electricity, 80% of the capacity remains after this time.

You can move on a ramp with a wheelchair. The manual version is standard, but an electrically operated one can also be ordered as an option

On the go, there is only one significant difference between the two buses, namely the sound effect. The Volt’s engine is completely silent, its speed isn’t high enough to make the wind rumble significant, just to hear the rubber squeak. From the outside, too, its progress is so quiet that an AVAS (Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System) alarm system is being installed to warn pedestrian pedestrians. In the diesel version, there is a normal, not too loud engine noise that is pretty much the same as a city bus, I think people won’t find it uncomfortable. I wondered if the center-of-gravity effect of the battery built into the roof could be felt while driving, how much it would pull the vehicle out of the curve, at a roundabout, or at a highway exit. In fact, it does not noticeably impair stability.

The diesel engine does not give up puzzles to the operating staff, use and maintenance is a routine task. At the bottom center you can see the Volt’s high-performance and torque electric motor, with electrical auxiliaries around and above it.

Overall, there seems to be a niche in passenger transport that fits in with the two siblings, the economically competitive Life, which is below market price, and the green Volt, which can be won in the event of a possible ban on diesel. The lead time for orders is usually half a year. The quality of the vehicle itself and the journey in it is also adequate, the one behind it Isuzu Bus Hungary the company has extensive experience and training in bus operation, fully serving its customers. In any case, we are looking forward to the first practical experience from a transport company.

Charging the battery is an easy task with the cable control unit, and the Volt regains its range during a night shutdown. The rear corner of the Volt can be folded out for charging. The temperature of the lithium-ion battery is also controlled by a refrigerator

Source: Autó-Motor by

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