Volvo Bus Australia is coming off the back of a massive year. Following the release of its first electric chassis down under, Volvo is rolling out more new models in 2023
Whether it be new vehicles on the horizon or an evolution of its electric chassis, Volvo Bus Australia is continuing to diversify its products for 2023 and beyond. Starting with a steady transition of popular chassis to Euro 6 editions and continuing into battery electric and double decker models, Volvo is ensuring it’s producing enough variety to satisfy the Australian market.
Volvo’s battery electric foray leads the way as the manufacturer heads into 2023. The Volvo BZL Electric chassis was launched in 2021 in Australia. The chassis was more than just a technological first – the Volvo BZL Electric was also the first Volvo chassis able to go below a 10.8m length for operators.
“The BZL Electric is a fully electric chassis that can be built from 9.9m to 12.5m,” Volvo Bus Australia national bodybuild and sales engineering manager Mark Fryer told ABC. “The BZL Electric also has three different safety systems onboard rather than just the one.”
Fryer says the Volvo BZL Electric’s complete low-floor design is what sets it apart from the rest. The BZL Electric allows for a full low floor experience from the very front of the bus all the way to the rear axle. Traditionally, buses would turn to high floor at that stage to go above an engine. Yet the Volvo BZL Electric is designed to give accessibility to passengers of all demographics, improving the passenger experience.
For those not fully equipped with the infrastructure to make the zero-emissions transition, the Volvo B5LH S-Charge Hybrid Euro 6 model is another chassis that Volvo is proud to be offering. With a five litre engine installed, the B5LH S-Charge has the ability to switch to electric mode when travelling under 20 kilometres per hour.
“Volvo also has the ability to zone the bus and turn it into its electric mode,” Fryer says. “It’s very useful in school zones and other city areas. An example is at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, where we run the bus in its electric mode through there.
“We also can zone it at bus stops to keep buses nice and quiet and remove air pollution. Our S-Charge was the first hybrid bus to run through a heritage-listed site globally when it went into operation at Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain National Park.”
Fryer says these examples prove how the B5LH S-Charge hybrid can rely on diesel for longer distance travel while also being able to switch to an electric mode without any need for infrastructure to support battery electric buses.. It lends itself to sustainable public transport without requiring customers to invest in electric infrastructure.
Volvo Bus Australia will continue building on its renowned diesel products. Volvo Bus Australia general manager Mitch Peden says Volvo is building upon its B8R and B8RLE chassis to now produce Euro 6 options alongside the traditional Euro 5 models.
“Our B8R products are made to just keep going – they are so reliable and sturdy,” Peden told ABC. “We have operators around the country successfully running the B8R range of products in city, school and charter applications, and the feedback we consistently get is around the reliability of the product – it really is designed to get uptime as a priority for operators.”
The final Volvo product rounding out its range is the B8L double decker. The Euro 6 chassis is designed for city, route and on demand applications. After being a popular chassis in Europe and Asia, the B8L, which has the same driveline as the B8R but with an eight litre engine, is now being sold in Australia. It all showcases the evolution that Volvo Bus Australia is continuing to undergo.
What to look forward to in 2023
Despite a deep catalogue of chassis, Volvo Bus Australia has a new product ready to sell down under. The B13R Euro 6 model will finish bodybuild and expect its first delivery to customers to come in 2023. It’s already on sale for Australian customers to order.
“It’s designed for long distance charter work due to its bigger motor,” Fryer told ABC. “It has 500hp to give it a bit more grunt. Despite this increase in hp, it has reduced fuel usage by about nine per cent.
“We also reduced tailpipe emissions. The new electric system gives us more scope to use telematics to see different functions in the vehicle,” Peden told ABC.
Volvo Bus Australia will focus on the roll-out of the B13R chassis while also continuing to promote its BZL Electric model. There’s only a few on the road currently, however Volvo is certain it will ensure the lengthy research and development phase that went into the model will come to fruition in a busy 2023.
“We’re really excited about the BZL Electric deliveries in 2023,” Peden says. “Having zero-emissions transport is exciting for all of us in Australia – it will be excellent to finally see the product in operation with many Volvo customers around the country.
“The B13R will be brilliant, and we’re so keen to see volume deliveries of our electric bus arriving for our valued customers.”