Hungarian-owned multinational company evopro Holding Zrt. has received the Budapest Márka award for environmentally friendly innovation and promotion of sustainable development. The event was tied to the public showing of the company’s new line of electric and hybrid propulsion buses, the Modulos, which evopro has designed and developed in Hungary over three years. Manufacturing will also be done here, with over half of the subcontractors Hungarian as well.
The Budapest Márka award was founded in 2013 to reward those local companies that further the city’s reputation and assist in its development. As Deputy Mayor Dr. Tamás Szentes affirmed in his presentation speech, evopro has done remarkably well in this regard. He said innovation is the key to the success of Hungary, and there are efforts by the government to strengthen the role of innovation and research in the economy.
Csaba Mészáros, owner of the company, recalled all the work that went into this project. He emphasised how not only skill but passion was needed to reach this important milestone. The perpetuum mobile exists, he said; it’s us, humans and human knowledge.
An uplifting message, made the more genuine by evopro’s previous awards received for establishing an employee-friendly environment and the owner’s commitment to double their workforce of 300 engineers in Hungary. According to both Dr. László Palkovics, Secretary of State for Education, and the twin leadership of evopro Holdings, the company has nurtured strong ties with local universities and has relied on engineering students and graduates to fill up its talent pool.
No doubt many young job seekers will find employment at evopro, both as interns and fulltime employees. The first signs of even further growth come from Balázs Bodnár, CEO of evopro Holdings, who announced that he will be signing a deal in Russia to build 25 Modulo buses for use in the Moscow public transport system.
As for the vehicles that undoubtedly played the biggest part in netting evopro the Budapest Márka award, they boast several features that elevate them above their competitors. The most striking one would be that as the world’s first composite (plastic) structure electric buses, the Modulos are much lighter. In comparison to buses with similar passenger capacity, the difference is in the vicinity of 24 tons.
This allows them to travel further without needing to recharge and to put less of a strain on the roads. The structure also allows for less frequent maintenance, thinner walls and a more spacious passenger area – hopefully this will bring about the end of cramped commutes in Budapest. A welcome extra is the remotely extendable ramp under each door, making boarding for disabled people easier.
The company recommends the fully electric variant to be used in urban areas, where zero-emission, quiet transportation is much desired. This preference might also be due to the electric Modulo’s effective range: it can travel 130 kilometres on a single charge, enough for inner-city purposes but problematic for suburban use.
The hybrid variant is better suited for longer distances. While not as environmentally friendly, evopro describes them as still low-emission, green vehicles. Additionally, the hybrids were designed to be cheaply and quickly convertible into completely electric-driven buses.
The manufacturing process also presents a picture of efficiency. As their name suggests, Modulos are constructed from several modules: a driver’s cabin at the front, the back module with the engine and passenger modules in between (with or without doors). This allows buses of different size to be constructed using the same manufacturing process. Currently the maximum length is 9.5 metres but evopro’s engineers are already working on a way to make an articulated version of the Modulo. Further down the road are plans to develop hydrogen fuel cells and a trolleybus variant.
This event points to a promising turn in Hungary’s development. Hopefully we can see an upsurge of innovation similar to that of the golden age of the Budapest Ganz Works, bringing new electric and transportation technologies to the world.