Not every electric vehicle is stylish, or even vaguely attractive, but electric sports sedans, high-powered electric mountain bikes and high-tech folding e-scooters help make their respective corners of the zero-emissions market a little sexier. The electric bus segment, on the other hand, is less likely to benefit from smooth, eye-tantalizing curves. California's Gaffoglio Family Metalcrafters aims to change that with a sleek, all-electric bus prototype that might just inspire you ditch to your sports car for a bus pass.
Gaffoglio Family Metalcrafters may not be a household automotive name, but it has a history of working with car companies from 1979. Since that time, it's developed concept cars and prototypes for major automakers and brands, drawing up a resume that includes Fisker's Ford Mustang Rocket. It's also branched out into other markets, including aerospace and entertainment.
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Gaffoglio's latest creation was commissioned by Thunder Sky Winston Group, a Chinese sustainable-energy company specializing in battery storage and electric transportation. The 42-passenger bus prototype has 96 Winston lithium-iron-phosphate batteries integrated in its chassis, protected by fire-resistant carbon fiber casings and governed by an accompanying battery management system. The 1,000 Ah, 350V bus can travel for approximately 120 miles (193 km) per charge in its current form but plans call for a 250-mile (400-km) option. It weighs approximately 22.5 tons (20.4 tonnes).
Beyond that, available specifications remain limited at this prototype stage, but Gaffoglio's bus is rather fetching as is. The carbon fiber-heavy build features a sleek design with a large, curvaceous glasshouse around the central driving position. The front glass and nose are supported by a sweeping bumper/fender design with integrated headlamps.
Inside, a series of floating touchscreens stands between the driver and windscreen. Moving back, rows of quilted seats flank the wood-look laminate aisle, and a rather cozy bathroom in back looks like an inviting place to get business done – if you must do business on a bus. The walls and ceiling are trimmed in gray Alcantara for added luxury.
Suffice it to say, this isn't the type of big, boxy bus you'd expect to arrive curbside when you're waiting at a terminal in an unfamiliar city. And it probably won't be. Gaffoglio and Thunder Sky revealed the prototype at Gaffoglio's Fountain Valley, California headquarters last month. While they mentioned intentions of bringing the bus to production and worldwide distribution, they haven't released the crucial details about when and how that might happen. So, for now, you're still stuck with an old, emissions-spewing box with nowhere near as nice a bathroom.
Source: Gaffoglio Family MetalcraftersView gallery - 26 images