Safra: unveiling the most innovative bus on the market at the Global Public Transport Summit in Montreal

SAFRA is a small company whose headquarters are in Albi, France.They are specialists in urban transport facility renovation (bus, metro, tram) and have more than 60 years’ experience in the field.Building on their globally renowned expertise and knowledge of the market, they decided to launch a breakthrough innovation programme in 2010 and built their own vehicle: the Businova.

Businova: a rechargeable, hybrid electric bus.This vehicle stands out by virtue of two major innovations: a non-standard design and a unique engine system.Built on a bi-modular chassis, this bus houses an energy pack located at the rear of the vehicle which includes the engine unit and the electric batteries, and a chassis which is entirely dedicated to passenger transport with a viewing space at the back for 360° visibility.This bus is built on three axles, ensuring there is plenty of space for passengers.In terms of the engine unit, this features two parallel drive trains (electric and hydraulic) around a coupling system, and can also be fitted with a small-cylinder auxiliary engine to extend the battery life before recharging.

The spirit of innovation has spread to the Safra presentation system on their stand, 2H114.To celebrate this Global Summit, the company is giving visitors the chance to discover the Businova using the latest in virtual reality technology.The Immersive Factory have designed a special demonstrator for Safra, allowing visitors to climb aboard and become, for a few minutes, a virtual passenger riding through the streets of a specially made city.

Thankfully, virtual reality is limited to the Summit.The Businova is already up and running in France, taking passengers through the French towns of Toulouse, Albi and Gaillac, and the latest version (a 12m model) will soon be tested by the greater Aix-Marseille conurbation.By the end of the year, the Périgueux urban area will receive the two vehicles they ordered earlier this year, followed by the Castres-Mazamet conurbation, which ordered three.

Safra is not content just to target the French market, either.They’ve had their eye on international sales for this project for years, and have lined up a number of potential clients both around Europe and in Quebec.The North American market is a major target for the company, which has already signed agreements and set up a local subsidiary to manufacture their buses with a Quebecois integration company, Termaco.

The timing for this project to manufacture and market the Businova electric bus in Quebec couldn’t be better, as there is currently a real drive to promote electric transport and local initiatives are being supported by major investment.The feasibility studies required to adapt to the varying standards of the European models, and to adapt the bus to local operating conditions, are now fully finished and manufacturing is on course to begin very soon.

Later in the year, the Safra Company will also be participating in three other trade shows: the AGIR event in Douai (France) on the 5th of 6th of July, the Rencontres Nationales du Transport Public (National Public Transport Convention) in Marseille (France) on the 12th, 13th and 14th of October, and finally the Busworld trade show in Courtrai (Belgium) from the 20th of the 25th of October.