Busworld Kortrijk 2016 – Bus
Altas Commercial Transport from Lithuania export primarily Mercedes-Benz Sprinter based minibus conversions across Europe. The company showed an example of its Tourline XL high specification coach conversion and premiered its new Cityline city bus with plug-in hybrid drive. Two examples of this i-PHEV (intelligent plug-in hybrid vehicle) were present including one outside to test drive. Both were charged through a plug incorporated rather low down in the front bumper.
Anadolu Isuzu reaffirmed its intention to grow into new markets, not just in Europe and announced plans for a new R&D and prototyping centre to be opened in 2016. Moving from its previous focus on smaller vehicles, the company launched the 12m Citiport in 2014 and presented it at Busworld with a number of refinements including a lower window line in the centre to aid wheelchair passengers, an audio induction loop for the hard of hearing and a podium dashboard for the driver.
There was no mistaking the BYD stand immediately opposite Busworld’s north entrance. The two vehicles on the stand together with two outside demonstrated BYD’s capability with full electric buses for all market segments from midibus to articulated and double-deck.
Isbrand Ho, MD of BYD Europe referred to the challenge from Boris Johnson two years ago to build a full electric double-decker for London, BYD took up the challenge and the first of five planned has now been completed. The 10.2m vehicle has an unladen weight of 13.7tonnes which, based on a 19tonnes GVW caps it at an 81 passenger capacity with 54 seated, seat spacing on the upper deck being in places generous. The battery compartment is at the rear of the lower deck and has a capacity of 345kWh giving an expected range of 240km under operating conditions. It has two 150kW motors and two 40kW battery chargers intended to fully charge the vehicle in four hours overnight.
The internal layout and finish is generally in line with London requirements although the staircase appeared slightly narrow. The vehicles are planned to be operated by Metroline on route 98. At BYD’s press conference, TfL’s Managing Director for Surface Transport, Leon Daniels referred to the heavy investment made by BYD in the project and referred to it as a world leader in battery and battery management technology. He looked forward to the partnership of BYD with ADL describing it as a tremendous marriage of high technology and quality construction. The first output from the partnership will be the 51 single-deckers for the 507/521 although Isbrand Ho hinted at further imminent developments in the relationship.
The BYD 18.1m articulated bus was shown with the optional pantograph system for fast charging of the 270kWh battery pack which gives an operational range of 170km in 1.5hours. At a GVW of 29tonnes, 150 passengers can be accommodated, 51 seated.
Adjacent to the north entrance was a BYD midibus, direct from service in China although a large number of internal notices had been replaced with English language ones. The 8.8m vehicle claims an operational range of 200km from the 162kWh installed battery capacity. 19 seated passengers and 30 standees can be carried within a 13tonnes GVW.
The fourth BYD exhibit was available for test drives, being one of the batch of 35 12m buses delivered to Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands. BYD announced that they were strengthening their European operation in Schiedam and expanding their product offering, not just with a full range of buses but also with taxis, forklift trucks and refuse vehicles.
Whilst most alternative fuelled vehicles at Busworld were focussed on inner city operations, the Castrosua Group stand featured an interurban specification natural gas powered vehicle. The Scania chassis mounted Magnus.E has a conventional floor level with luggage capacity underneath and a wheelchair lift at the centre door position. The body has composite aluminium side panels to reduce weight with the CNG gas tanks mounted towards the front of the roof. Castrosua also showed a 12m example of their Euro6 diesel New City low floor city bus on a MAN chassis: 10.5 and 18m variants complete the range.
Following on from the Veris 12m hybrid launched in 2013, the Vectia brand from the strategic alliance between Castrosua Group and CAF Power & Automation promoted its latest development, the Teris 10 hybrid midibus. The 9.6m or 10.6m long vehicle features a 160kW serial hybrid drive train with Euro6 diesel engine but is capable of conversion to full electric at any time during its design life.
Three generations of vehicles from the Netherlands based full electric bus developer Ebusco were on display around Busworld. The original vehicle featured alongside a display of components within the halls whilst the second generation vehicle was busy on test drives outside. Powering a 150kW motor offering 2500Nm maximum torque, the batteries in this vehicle offer a range of around 300km on a 1.6hour charge.
Part way through Busworld, the first third generation vehicle arrived after shipping from the company’s production partners in China. The new vehicle features a significant increase in battery voltage enabling a maximum torque over 3000Nm to be delivered. A total of 180 3.2V cells mounted on the roof and at the rear of the vehicle store a maximum of 311kWh. Test operations are planned in three cities including Copenhagen and Bremen whilst two vehicles are to be delivered to Stavanger where they will be expected to cover 350km per day with a recharge during the day as well as Ebusco’s normal overnight charge.
Whilst most attention on the Irizar stand focussed on the new i8 coach, this was also the first Busworld appearance of the i2e electric low floor bus, two examples of which are already in service in London. The i2e features a 180kW Siemens ELFA2 drive system and has a 376kWh installed sodium nickel battery capacity. It is intended for overnight plug-in charging taking around six hours. Irizar is investing a total of €60m in facilities and development work for a range of products in support of electromobility.
Outside, Irizar showed a 14.9m i3LE three axle low entry bus with a 369hp Euro6 Paccar-DAF engine. The two door vehicle was equipped with 49 reclining i6 seats and a single wheelchair position opposite the centre door. Like its two axle counterpart, the raised rear section of the floor slopes quite steeply towards the rear.
Iveco’s press conference referred to the company’s leading role in the production of natural gas buses, 5,500 having been supplied across Europe since 1996. The total includes 450 Urbanways in the current year, representing more than 50% of the model’s production in the period. A three door CNG Urbanway was displayed outside together with a two door Euro6 diesel example in De Lijn colours. The Euro6 diesel Urbanway displayed inside was finished with the BHN S higher specification package for BRT systems that includes deeper glazing on the nearside between the doors.
Iveco’s development of electric buses has concentrated on the minibus sector and a Daily electric minibus was shown. The 7.12m 16-seat vehicle uses a combination of Sodium Nickel Chloride batteries and supercapacitors to drive an 80kW motor and provide a range up to 280km.
The Karsan stand featured Euro6 diesel examples of their Star, Atak and Jest models together with the all electric version of the Jest. This low floor 5.85m midibus is equipped with a 125kW electric motor and a 66kWh Li-ion battery pack giving a claimed range of 120km. It offers a maximum capacity of 21 with up to 15 seated and benefits from touch screen control on the dashboard. A Euro6 petrol engine range extender option is offered.
Under the Solution + label, three vehicles were displayed on the King Long stand alongside an unbundled display of their Eco-chip plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) system components. Essentially, these allow the vehicle to operate in series or parallel hybrid or full electric mode to suit the operating conditions. The system was described as well proven with around 3,000 examples already in use in China.
The Eco-chip system was incorporated into the E12 PHEV displayed on the stand. The 12m three door low floor citybus was equipped with a Cummins ISB6.7 engine rated at 209kW driving a JJE combined motor and generator unit with integral clutch. German made control systems are employed with power storage in roof mounted multi-component lithium batteries from Microvast. King Long claims the vehicle will still deliver a fuel saving of 40% against a diesel vehicle when not operating in plug-in mode as well as the ability to operate up to 35km in full electric mode and a 10-15 minute charging time. Internally, the E12 featured Fainsa Punt seats, air conditioning and a multi-functional steering wheel. King Long UK’s Chris Cassar expects to have a UK specification version, fully seated with single doorway, available for demonstration in the second quarter 2016. Also on the King Long stand was a 33-seat B10 Euro6 midibus.
The bus focus on the Mercedes-Benz stand was the recently launched Citaro CNG, which uses the new lighter weight 7.7litre 222kW M936G gas engine. A plinthed example of this was also available for inspection. Together with the newly developed lightweight design of gas tank incorporating a plastic core with carbon fibre and glass fibre wrapping, the overall weight of the vehicle has been restricted to only 485kg above an equivalent Euro6 diesel vehicle despite a 20% increase in gas capacity. This allows an increased total passenger capacity, 93 on the standard bus and 153 on the articulated version.
Highlights of the Otokar stand were two new additions to the Kent C range, the 18.75m artic and the 10.8m midibus. To Euro6 standard, the articulated version has a 10.8litre Paccar DAF MX11 engine whilst the 10.8m version shares the same Cummins driveline as the previously launched 12m vehicle. Ali Murat Atlas, General Manager of Otokar Europe confirmed that the UK market was still of interest to them and he was sure the company had something to offer UK customers. Development work on the Euro6 range and the requirements of the Malta order had however taken precedence whilst they were still looking for the right UK distribution partner. It is expected that the company will be at Euro Bus Expo in 2016.
Under the Gepebus brand, PVI supplies the OREOS range of full electric buses first launched in 2010. Their stand featured the latest version of their 49 passenger OREOS 4X 9.3m midibus with 170kWh Li-ion battery storage and a 103kW electric motor driving through an automated ZF gearbox. The manufacturer claims a 140km range with an overnight recharge time of six to eight hours.
PVI has a partnership with Sodetrel, a 100% subsidiary of EDF which offers customers an ‘On Board Energy’ contract for the drive batteries. This avoids high initial capital expenditure and gives a guarantee of satisfactory operation throughout the life of the contract.
The Businova plug-in hybrid midibus on the Safra stand turned many heads with its unmistakably French styling, apparently taking its cue from some of the modern tram designs in Mediterranean France where the company is based. The 10.55m vehicle shown was the fourth production vehicle and is destined for test operation in Marseilles, the other three are already in operation in other French cities. It is claimed to offer 15litre/100km fuel consumption with a design range of 200km per day. Other cities are interested and a north American version is planned following a letter of intent for 25 vehicles from Transdev Canada.
The up to 70 passenger vehicle features distinct zones including an elevated area at the rear above the drive train unit, reached by four steps. The vehicle has three axles including a narrow tracked rear steering axle under the drive train with 17.5ins wheels. The centre drive axle is a ZF AV132 unit and the front suspension is independent. Continuing the alternative approach, the vehicle has three power sources, a VM Motori 60kW three cylinder Euro6 diesel, two 103kW electric motors and a small hydraulic motor giving a total equivalent power of 280kW. A total of 135kWh battery capacity is installed including 90kWh for drive purposes.
Two variations on the Citywide range were featured by Scania. The newly developed low entry version of the 12m hybrid meets EU suburban and class II regulations with higher seats and roll over certification. The hybrid drive consists of a motor and generator set with automatic clutch rated at 150 kW installed between the Euro6 engine and gearbox. 1.2kWh of energy storage is provided by a lithium-ion battery housed in a streamlined pod at the front of the vehicle. Running on bio-diesel, Scania claim that the vehicle will deliver CO2 savings up to 90%. The second Citywide was a 12m three door full low floor LF model designed for operation on biogas.
Sileo showed their 18m full electric articulated bus incorporating the Bozankaya propulsion system. The 474 Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells give a fully charged capacity of 300kWh allowing a range of around 300km. The vehicle has two drive axles using ZF AVE 130 units, each with two 120kW motors giving a total of 480kW. Designed to 28tonnes maximum GVW, passenger capacity is quoted as a maximum of 51 seated and 86 standing with a three door configuration. A 12m demonstrator was available for test drives. This was to a similar electrical specification other than having 200kWh installed battery capacity. Both vehicles were intended for plug in overnight charging.
Lider Trading’s Polish manufacturer Solbus showed two different concepts of natural gas powered vehicles. One was their 12m LNG powered three door demonstration vehicle which has generated orders from a number of Polish cities including 35 articulated units for Warsaw. These have been supplied as part of a project with LNG supplier Gazprom-Germania where the latter takes the risk of volatility in the fuel cost. Solbus claim the benefits of LNG to be both physical in terms of smaller tanks with a lower centre of gravity for the same range and financial through the freedom to negotiate spot market price fuel deliveries.
The second vehicle was a Solcity CNG hybrid, one of 40 for the city of Czestochowa as part of a Spanish-Polish environmental co-operation project. The vehicles are pure gas-electric with recovered energy stored in roof mounted supercapacitors. The rear mounted 11.95l TEDOM TG 230 Euro6 gas engine developing 230kW at 2000rpm is intended to drive a TM4 generator at constant speed and supply power to a single 250kW maximum rated TM4 motor. The rooftop gas storage holds 1219litres at up to 200bar pressure giving a range equivalent to diesel buses with an expected 20% lower fuel consumption than conventional CNG buses.
Solbus are also involved in the ebus Europa project working with eTraction, BMZ batteries, ViriCity systems and Ziehl-Abegg to deliver the Solcity 12E. Options of a standard TM4 single motor drive and a 60kW hydrogen fuel cell range extender are being developed.
Solaris are at the forefront of European electric bus developments and showed the latest version of their Urbino 12 Electric, based on the new lighter weight Urbino body structure unveiled at IAA in 2014. Four of the six separate battery packs, each 40kW, are located at the rear of the vehicle, the other two are mounted on the roof over the first axle giving a total capacity of 240kW. This improves load distribution in the 12m vehicle and provides additional passenger space. Drive is though two 125kW electric hub motors although a centre motor option is available. The vehicle shown had dual charging options including an overhead pantograph for fast charging at 450kW. Plug in and inductive charging options are available as are alternative battery packs to give a variety of power outputs and vehicle ranges. Passenger capacity is up to 99 with a maximum of 39 seated.
The second Urbino 12 shown was the two door Euro6 diesel LE model with a Cummins ISB6.7 engine. The Paccar DAF MX11 engine is an option on this maximum 94 passenger vehicle with up to 45 seated.
With a stand on one of Busworld’s main gangways, NTL presented information on the Translohr STE and SP Prime vehicles, described as ‘tramways on tyres’. The rapid transit system features a single rail in the roadway with a ‘V’ guide system that also acts as a return path for current collected from a single overhead wire. The manufacturer claims a better turning circle and a smaller road footprint than conventional BRT systems. Eight systems are in operation worldwide, the latest opening this year in Medellin in Columbia.
Whilst Van Hool’s vehicle display within Busworld was exclusively coaches, one wall was devoted to a display of images of Exqui City double articulated BRT style vehicles with alternative propulsion systems working across the world. Outside there was a 12m A330HYB for Monaco. Featuring the Cummins ISB4.5 Euro6 engine and Alison transmission, the batteries and additional equipment necessary for hybrid operation were housed in a streamlined roof casing. Further individuality was expressed with wheel covers front and rear together with branding promoting its ability to run 3km in full electric mode.
Van Hool buses featured in launches and demonstrations off the Busworld site and these will be covered in a following edition of Bus and Coach Buyer. Filip Van Hool’s address to the press referred to the wide variety of propulsion systems Van Hool were able to offer and made mention of an order for two fuel cell buses for London and three full electric buses for Hamburg.
The Vexihel stand featured two approaches to accessibility in its Cytios 4 range on an Iveco Daily basis. The standard vehicle has a small low floor area immediately behind the driver whilst the RLF version has two doors with a low platform at the rear and a normal step entrance behind the driver.
Electric power featured on the majority of buses displayed by VDL inside and outside Busworld, demonstrating the flexibility of the Citea range. Inside was a three door 12m Citea SLF Electric ‘The E Worker’ equipped with the Siemens ELFA traction package and 122kWh battery fast charged by an overhead pantograph. It incorporated a range of developments to minimise energy consumption including LED lighting throughout.
The newly developed 18.1m Citea SLFA Electric artic was displayed outside with the alternative BRT front developed in response to the model’s first order from Cologne. The model features the learning from the ongoing development of the 12m Citea SLF Electric and will be equipped with a pantograph for fast charging at termini. Two further 12m Citea SLF Electrics with conventional drive and charging systems including one in De Lijn colours were available for demonstration purposes.
The diesel Citea was represented by a newly developed three door version of the LLE model, the third door being a single leaf leading from the elevated rear seating area to reduce dwell times when used on city work. The vehicle featured LED lighting throughout and, like all Citeas at Busworld, a new drivers cabin designed to meet the latest international ergonomics standards. The Citea has also been developed as a double decker with a prototype on demonstration in Berlin.
Bus and Coach Buyer has followed the development of Volvo’s full electric bus in detail and Busworld brought the unveiling of the anticipated 12m version with overhead pantograph fast charging. The three door 7900 Electric with low floor throughout features an orthodox driving position and has seats trimmed in an exclusive electric branded material.
The Volvo stand also featured a 7900 articulated Euro6 hybrid and an 8900 low entry interurban bus with a totally redesigned interior. Outside, a 12m 7900 plug-in hybrid for Sales-Lenz in Luxembourg was available for demonstration runs around Kortrijk. The vehicle was charged from a temporary overhead recharging station provided by Siemens.
Yutong premiered their E12 LF electric city low floor city bus to be offered in two or three door configuration. Shown in two door form with up to 92 passenger capacity (27 seated), it was intended for five to six hour overnight charging of the 16 air cooled Li-ion batteries, nine at the rear and seven on the roof, totalling 295kWh. Driving a water cooled 200kW Yutong motor, a range of 320km is claimed without air conditioning in use.
Ziehl-Abegg’s presence at Busworld included a distinctive blue stand promoting their new ZAaxle drive train for retrofitting to existing diesel buses and their two demonstration vehicles. The ZAwheel solution was also installed in the newly developed vehicle shown by Ekova Electric, one of six manufacturers now installing ZA’s smooth and quiet solution to electromobility.
ZA presented two case studies. Eckhard Schlaefke, manager of the city transport undertaking in Munster, Germany, reported on six months of operation with ZAwheel equipped VDL Citeas quoting an impressive current consumption of 0.9kWh/km against a predicted 2.5kWh/km although this was in the summer months with no passenger compartment heating in use. The Citeas have small battery units which are recharged by a plug connection to the side, the city not wanting large charging installation structures. They are a similar weight to the Euro6 diesel Citeas used on the same route that are returning around 31litres/100km compared to the 40litres/100km typical of the rest of the fleet. The city is considering converting a number of diesel buses around seven years old to electric power.
Jonas Hansson, CEO of Hybricon Bus Systems described the design features of the ZAwheel equipped electric buses they build for cold regions. These include an extra insulated cabin and floor, heat regeneration, air curtains at the entrance and specially insulated windows. The design of the latest vehicles for the Swedish city of Umea allows them to be heated only with electricity, even at minus 25 degrees C, a three minute overhead charge at 650kW allowing one hour’s operation.
Any standard bus 10.5m or 12m to 18m long can be converted into an electric bus by being retrofitted with the ZAaxle drivetrain module. Ziehl-Abegg has partnered with Benteler Engineering Services (Munich) to offer a full retrofitting package, from system analysis and/or design, to conversion and type approval on a ‘one-stop shop basis.’ The work will be carried out by Benteler’s Dutch operation in Helmond.
Demonstrated outside at Busworld in 12m form, the Electron is a three door low floor vehicle to be offered in 10m, 12m and 18m formats with the option of ZAwheel or central motor drives. It is produced by Ekova Electric, a subsidiary of the city transport business in Ostrava, Czech Republic which has previously built and refurbished trolleybuses and trams. The company has acquired the body structure design from the Czech Tedom company which had latterly produced gas buses for a number of markets.
Like in the coach sector, there were more minibus converters who showed predominantly Mercedes-Benz based city buses in various forms. Then there was the Hess Swiss diesel, the 12m Bogdan low floor city bus from the Ukraine and the Fast Concept Car Starter schoolbus which was on show outside the halls.
Stuart’s last word
Busworld Kortrijk was as engrossing as ever. I came away after several days there feeling that I had missed a tremendous amount, but at the same time my head was spinning from trying to take in all that I had seen. How the market will look when we are next there remains to be seen, but it’s a fair bet that the current toe hold enjoyed by the Far Eastern manufacturers will become a stronger grip, and technology currently regarded as experimental will have become more mainstream.