Scania Australia is heavily invested in diversifying its low-emission fuel options for the bus and coach market, ranging from battery electric chassis to the potential for biodiesel
In 2022, Scania Australia introduced an all-new chassis generation underpinning the entirety of its bus offer in the Australian market.
The Scania New Bus Generation introduces new driver, passenger and road user safety enhancing technology, a completely redesigned driver station, and worthwhile efficiency updates across the powertrain range, including a new top of the range 500 hp six-cylinder diesel engine. The Scania bus and coach line-up includes mineral diesel and biodiesel compatible internal combustion engines, as well as electric-hybrid and full electric drivetrains.
Scania is pushing forward in its aim to help the transformation to a sustainable transport system for operators, offering a partial or complete reduction of tailpipe emissions. Buses generally operate in areas of high population density, so switching to zero tailpipe emissions is seen as delivering the greatest benefit in the shortest time.
“We have brought to life the Scania mantra of the past five years of ‘driving the shift to a sustainable transport system’ with some real-world, ready-to-work technologies that bus operators across Australia can now adopt as part of their pathway towards a low or zero tailpipe emissions future,” Scania Buses and Power Solutions director of sales Julian Gurney told ABC. “Our first Scania BEV bus chassis are in the process of being bodied up for route bus duties by BusTech Group in Adelaide for the state’s Department of Infrastructure and Transport.”
The Scania route bus offer comprises the K 320 LB low floor route bus chassis in both diesel and hybrid. The school and charter range starts with the K 320 NB followed by the K 360 and the new 13-litre six-cylinder K 370, all available with the updated Scania Opticriuse or ZF 6 speed automatic. The Scania Touring is available on the K 360 NB and K 370 NB chassis.
Also available is the updated Scania-Higer A30 school and charter coach, which sits on the NBG chassis and is powered by the K 320 powertrain. In long-distance touring coach in two and three axle configurations, Scania offers its six-cylinder engines at 410, 460 and 500hp, the latter a new addition to the range.
Gurney says all of Scania’s bus engines can run on B100 biodiesel or HVO biofuel direct from the factory, which can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to around seven or eight per cent of that of a traditional mineral diesel-fuelled engine. These can provide very significant, real-world savings without the complex and expensive infrastructure battery electric buses demand in terms of charging facilities and higher-priced battery electric powertrains.
Biodiesel is readily available in Australia now and Scania has signed memoranda of understanding with a number of suppliers who stand ready to fulfil the requirements of bus operators countrywide. For HVO, Scania is also planning to ensure sufficient quantities of this fuel can be provided when needed.
For electric-hybrid route bus solutions, Scania offers the K 320 five-cylinder engine mated to an electric machine that provides motive power of up to 12km solely on batteries in silent mode. The bus can approach and depart stops silently with no tailpipe emissions.
A number of Scania’s latest generation full battery electric bus chassis are already in the country and the first will be bodied before the end of 2022 and will be put into a test programme in South Australia to confirm their suitability for route work where zero tailpipe emissions are desired.
“We understand there’s a strong desire at a political level to switch to a zero tailpipe or zero emissions bus era, but the reality is this will take time, across all levels of planning and implementation,” Gurney says. “That’s why we continue to market and import a series of alternative and renewable fuel solutions that are suitable for the Australian market today.”
What to look forward to in 2023
Scania is running home hot in 2022, providing for an exciting 2023. Once Scania’s latest generation full battery electric bus chassis begin receiving bodies, Gurney says his team will be excited to begin the testing phase in South Australia. Alongside this testing stage, to determine suitability for route work in Adelaide, Scania is keen to continue investing in biodiesel for other bus models.
“For a significant reduction in tailpipe emissions, biodiesel is an obvious and real-world ready choice,” Gurney told ABC. “Our electric-hybrid solution also makes sense because there is little or no additional infrastructure required for real-world running.”
Yet Scania expects 2023 to be a defining year for the brand’s battery-electric chassis option.
“Our battery electric bus chassis, in isolation, is capable of showing what a zero emissions future will look like today,” Gurney says.
“But this technology needs to exist as part of an eco-system, one that must be devised, implemented and funded by governments, energy suppliers, public transport bodies and private bus operators, in order to gain the benefit from running on wholly green energy.
“The Scania message is that we have a range of solutions available; let us know what you want.”