New Caetano Levante IIIA to be trialled
National Express trials Orlaco’s Mirroreye camera system on new Levante model
National Express is trialling a new camera monitoring system, set to hit roads across the UK in the coming months. The all-new Caetano Levante IIIA is the first in the coach company’s white fleet to use Orlaco’s ‘Mirroreye’ CMS, which replaces the use of conventional wing mirrors. Developed in partnership with Caetano, the CMS is designed to help improve visibility around the coach, remove blindspots, give improved night vision and reduce the risk of minor collisions. The removal of wing mirrors should also help improve fuel efficiency, thanks to the slick aerodynamic design.
The CMS consists of two internal monitors, a 15 inch version mounted to the near side ‘A’ pillar, and a 12 inch model on the driver’s side. There are two external cameras mounted in the area where the usual mirror brackets would be located. Both monitors contain an ambient light sensor which adjusts the brightness depending on the environment. Also available soon is a third camera known as the ‘kerbside’ view. This camera will enable a direct view of the front of the vehicle.
Other new features of the Levante IIIA are e-driver alerts, drawing drivers’ attention to potential hazards such as vulnerable road users or obstructions within the blindspot area. The cab design has also improved, enabling drivers to easily navigate controls such as heating/air-conditioning and wheelchair lift deployment.
The current Levante III is built upon the Scania Step D chassis. This will now be replaced by their Step E variant which will support potential future zero-emission vehicles. The Step E variant is very similar, but has a number of changes, in particular a new front-end module and suspension. It brings a number of additional features as standard, and the option to add extra features, which overall will increase the safety of the vehicle. The updated chassis on the Scania Step E model has potential to upgrade to future zero-emission vehicles, supporting National Express’ commitment to operating a net-zero fleet by 2035.
Key facts – Caetano Levante IIIA
Axles: 3 (tri-axle)
Weight: 16,600 Kg
Luggage hold: 10.3m3
Seating: 54 or 53 + 1 wheelchair
Engine: 13 litre, 410hp
Gearbox: 12-speed Opticruise
Over the coming months, the coach operator will have two Levante IIIA vehicles on trial, working with partner operators Clarkes of London and Bruce’s Coaches to run a range of short, medium and long-distance routes.
Tom Linnecor, head of engineering at National Express, said: “The new Levante IIIA represents a step forward in the vehicle’s design. It takes driver technology to the next level by increasing the number of safety features and keeping our passengers and other road users front of mind.
“Working closely with Caetano, the majority of the latest changes implemented have stemmed from feedback from our drivers and engineers. In addition to improved visibility for drivers, the mirrorless coaches will also deliver significant fuel savings. We’re looking forward to getting the Levante IIIA out on the road and gaining as much insight as we can.”
As part of the trial, National Express will review driver feedback and make any necessary specification changes before the vehicles are then rolled out across the fleet from spring 2023, in line with the company’s continual replacement programme.