Specialists of the automotive body company Castrosúa are dedicated to the fabrication of a collective vehicle intended to be used in cities, especially designed with the objective that people will use public means for their transportation around town. With this philosophy, the company created the ‘Tempus,’ the first vehicle manufactured in Spain that produces zero carbon emissions during determined moments as a function of the urban zones in which it is located.


most to the evolution of these buses at the State level is Galician: Castrosúa. It was founded in Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña) more than 60 years ago by José Castro, who is today the President of the Administrative Council. The company pioneered the fabrication of buses with a low floor and with a ramp for the boarding of persons with reduced mobility as well as the incorporation of vehicles that use compressed or liquid gas. Now, 250 such vehicles are sold each year.

The company have 500 employees and, since its inception, have specialised in the marketing of bodies for buses. Castrosúa participate in public competitions with its own vehicles or buses that are the mechanical base of brands such as Mercedes, Scania, or Volvo. For the past two years, the company has also directly marketed hybrid buses with electrical traction that are sold in cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, or Tenerife. Total production is more than 500 buses per year, with 50% of the market at the State level.

The Director of the R&D Department, Antonio Barreiro, explained the potentials of the ‘Tempus’ hybrid bus which the driver can operate only in an electric mode in historic districts, hospital contexts, or school centres with zero emissions. Once out of these spaces, the driver can again run the mechanical motor.

Barreiro believes that the future of the company in the field of innovation should dedicate itself to the challenge of developing electric vehicles that do not contaminate with the objective of achieving that cities have the cleanest air possible. He also cited another: user information, “necessary so that the user knows when the bus will arrive and the disposition of traffic in the territory. Only an efficient bus will achieve the goal that public transportation will absorb part of the private,” he pointed out.

Innovation is synonymous with survival. One who is not able to contribute added value to products will be condemned to su!er brutal competition from countries with a cheaper cost of labour.”. Antonio Barreiro.


Collaboration with universities and technological centres is a constant in the work of Castrosúa, a clear example of a company with a long trajectory that continually succeed in revalidating its leadership in the market thanks to innovation which, in this case, implies a significantly high component of transfer of research results generated by external partners. This is the situation of the ‘Tempus’ that was developed with contributions from the Technological Automotive Centre of Galicia (CTAG) and the Universities of Vigo and Santiago de Compostela.

This is also the case of the project that the Council of Economy and Industry financially support with 500,000 Euros for development, again in collaboration with CTAG, regarding a system of perimeter vision which permits the detection of any obstacle within the context of the bus. This system was created specifically in order to increase school transportation safety.

The project that is now in the industrialisation phase permits the driver to have a 360 degree perspective of the exterior of the bus by means of an overhead image from the top of the vehicle in order to detect if there are nearby passengers or obstacles of any nature. In addition to tracking this information on a screen installed in the vehicle, the system itself emits signals each time that movement is detected. Applicable to any type of bus, it will be on the market in 2012.

This innovation effort that may become an interesting line of business will be reinforced with the development of new hybrid and electric vehicles, “possibly the buses of the future,” as they say in the company. The advances carried out by Castrosúa support the idea that the design, the vision of the driver, the ergometrics of the driver´s posture, and the comfort of their buses “will be the most advanced of the European market,” Barreiro emphasized.

Along with the Autonomous University of Madrid, the company are working on the development of a bus with 100% electric propulsion, a project co-financed by the program, INNPACTO, a State initiative of 800,000 Euros of support for cooperative projects between research entities and companies.

The R&D management is fully immersed in new research projects largely based in solutions to improve today’s vehicles. “In 30 years, few products have changed as much as buses,” Barreiro stressed, remembering the firts examples with the motor in front, while observing the ‘Tempus.’ “This sector has evolved very rapidly.” Automotive body plans now present new projects related to the security of vehicles in relation to people being run over or to the protection of the driver in head-on collisions.

They know that an increase in business volume will be the result of the development and sales of the hybrid bus to which they dedicate a large part of their innovation efforts. In spite of the fact that this vehicle may cost up to 30% more than the conventional, the Castrosúa perspective is that said expense “will be amortised with the savings on diesel fuel.” In the case of the 100% electric vehicle, an important unknown regards the evolution of batteries which is a very new market in Europe. The company now work with an affiliate in Finland and another in the U.S. that are testing different types of batteries. The fear is that, on the other hand, Asia may win this contest.

The commitment of the business conglomerate Castrosúa is based on the assertion that innovation and the future will permit the company to maintain a leadership position. Company billing volume surpassed 30 million Euros in 2010 and the expectations are based on taking on niches in the international market, a sector that is highly protected by local companies and into which it will not be easy to enter, as well as the establishment of small maintenance centres for these vehicles. This remains to be seen.