The Ultra Electric Bus Concept is the first full-electric bus from Tata Motors. With zero emissions and noiseless operation, the bus has a 40-person carrying capacity, can achieve a range of 100 km (with AC powered on) and has a 5-6 hour recharging time. It can also reach a maximum speed of 80 km/h.
“Being a 100% electric vehicle, it had to communicate that with its exterior design,” says Tata designer Shashwath Bolar. Working from the design keywords ‘advanced’, ‘protective’ and ‘inviting’, the exterior design was inspired by modern electronic gadgets and contemporary architecture.
The Ultra Electric Bus Concept’s design language was holistically carried out onto the exterior and interior and the ‘Jaali’ motifs were repeated appropriately.
The front face is all black with a protective casing on the sides and top. It has a glowing Tata ‘trust bar’ with a sharp smile beneath. To break up the monovolume look of the bus, the design was graphically split into darker and lighter areas to make it fresh and visually interesting.
Green, and increasingly blue, have long been colors associated with electric vehicles. To break free of this cliché, and create a unique aesthetic, Tata designers decided to employ neon orange to signal the new bus concept’s propulsion source.
The neon orange highlights, which are used in varying thicknesses on the borders both inside and outside the vehicle, are joined by a series of parallel gray lines that depict printed circuit boards to subtly demarcate its electric powertrain.
“The purpose of the interior space was to provide a clean, calm and contemporary space,” Bolar adds. “This was translated by using a combination of off-white, light gray, dark gray, matte black, brushed steel and neon orange accents.” The Ultra Electric Bus Concept’s interior is also equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile induction charging.
In traditional bus design, the wheel wells generally protrude into the interior space, much to the detriment of passengers on board. To get around this, Tata designers converted these often-unused areas into storage spaces for the occupants’ bags and other miscellaneous larger items.
As the first electric bus concept to hail from Tata’s commercial vehicle design outfit, the Ultra Electric Bus Concept does well to fill the need for cleaner public transportation vehicles. The fact that it does so in a design that is forward-thinking, with expressive colorways and an innovative use of space, is a fundamental breath of fresh air.