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PRIOR TO ITS electric bus chassis arrival into Australia soon, Scania has bolstered its low-emissions range via introducing a ‘New Bus Generation’ chassis and powertrain, the company recently announced.

The New Bus Generation range will feature low-emission, fuel-efficient five-cylinder 320hp Euro 6 engines in both standard diesel and hybrid-electric powertrains for city bus operators, it explains.

These hybrid-electric powertrains will be joined shortly by Scania’s battery-electric bus chassis, the first of which arrives in Australia soon, it confirms.

In Europe, Scania’s battery-driven solution generates zero tailpipe emissions and is becoming well established within their operating environments. For Australia, Scania will soon receive the first examples of this battery-electric chassis to be fitted with local bodies, it says.

Once built, they will be evaluated to determine how well they meet local requirements regarding range, driving performance, duty-cycles as well as coping with Australian road and climatic conditions. Running costs will also be analysed.

“While we will be working hard to complete our evaluation of the battery electric chassis for use in Australia, in the meantime we will be focused on our internal combustion and hybrid-electric offering for the market,” product manager for Scania Buses and Engines, Trevor O’Brien, explained.

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For school, charter and long distance tour operators, Scania’s new range extends from the 320hp 9-litre Euro 6 all the way up to its new 500hp six-cylinder 13-litre Euro 6 diesel engine, it explains.

Scania’s new “family” of chassis and powertrains come completes with advanced driver assistance systems to increase road safety for the vehicle’s driver and occupants, as well as vulnerable road users, it says.

Introduced now are the new low-entry route buses, school and charter chassis;  the first iterations of a whole new range that will also include three-axle versions;  plus low-floor battery electric powertrains and articulated variants in due course, it says.

The company’s ongoing research and development programme will deliver a continuous rollout of innovations through the product life of this New Bus Generation, it adds.

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Victorian bus operator Dysons will be the first in Victoria to receive a vehicle from the New Bus Generation range. Its fleet consists of more than half Scania product. 

When ABC magazine contacted Dysons company director Neil Dyson he confirmed the operator will receive the bus shortly after its launch. 

“It was a natural progression for Dysons to go with the added safety features that this chassis has, which is the ADAS – the Advanced Driver Assistance System,” Dyson explained. 

“It was more about the ability for the driver to be warned about proximity of things nearby with the sensors etc to avoid accidents and bike riders, so it was us ‘upping the ante’ on the safety side for the drivers, as well as the cabin and the dashboard is now a lot nicer workstation for the driver,” he said. 

“It’s got an advanced new-style ZF transmission, which is supposed to help with fuel economy as well, so there’s just a few little added bonuses.  

“It’s Euro 6, so this is our first metropolitan Euro 6. It’s us moving with the times, so to speak, and these things we thought wouldn’t cause too much problems for us.  

“We have in the past probably let others be first, but this time we are happy enough to take this on board and put it on the road. 

“All going well, we’ll be standardising [the fleet] on this chassis for our metro-type operations. 

“We’ve got a fleet of about 650 buses and 345 of those are Scania. I thought you might ask me that, so I actually worked out the answer before I spoke to you,” he joked. 

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In terms of how adaptable the buses will be to driver skillsets and overall fleet use, Dyson explained: “Once our driver-training team gets used to it themselves they’ll run through it and I’m sure we’ll induct all our drivers into the vehicle, which is a big chore, of course.” 

“Probably one of the biggest commitments when you do change or introduce new product like this is that the driver trainers are trying to show the hundreds and hundreds of drivers one new bus that you get at the time, though we will be getting more soon. 

“It will be good once they [the drivers] get used to it,” he added. 

“It’s just these safety things when they do trigger and alert them [drivers] to something, they need to know what it’s about etc. 

“This is the first one we are getting, but we are also getting approximately another 10 over the coming three months, all with Volgren bodies,” Dyson confirmed. 

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Of these new Euro 6-compliant engines, O’Brien added: “The upgraded engines are now more efficient, will use less fuel, and they’re compatible with a range of renewable fuels. The engines retain their modular concept, but are further refined in operation.”

“The transmission choice starts with the 12-speed Scania Opticruise transmission with faster, smoother gear shifting – standard across the range – with the option of a new six-speed ZF automatic.

“Drivers will find these buses far easier to drive, and with the new independent front suspension available for K-series coach chassis, there’s a noticeable on-road performance improvement.

“There’s also a new electro-hydraulic steering for the steerable tag versions,” O’Brien confirmed.

Bus body-builder electronic integration points have been made smarter and more logical, to speed up the build process and there is additional programmable switchgear to allow for body-builder functionality to be integrated into the chassis electronics, reducing duplication, Scania highlights.

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“This is a very important launch for Scania Bus in Australia,” said Scania Buses and Engines director of sales, Julian Gurney.

“This new generation chassis will not only provide additional safety for our most vulnerable road users, but also confirms our position as a leader in sustainable transport solutions.

“We are taking a significant step on the road towards zero tailpipe emissions with the arrival of this chassis; though, we are mindful of the need to ensure we continue to provide commercially viable and sustainable solutions to our customers.

“We have ‘here and now’ solutions to reducing the environmental footprint of buses and coaches sold in Australia, through the option of bio-fuels and hybrid-electric powertrains.

“The first of ten BEV chassis have arrived in Melbourne, and we hope to have buses on the road for operational trials later this year.

“Scania’s global focus for public transport aims to reduce road congestion, reduce pollution from private cars and the transport industry and offer an improved customer experience through more comfortable and more environmentally friendly transport.

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“Today, the public is very much aware of environmental and sustainability issues, and is looking for solutions to meet the challenges of climate change, Gurney continued.

“Our industry has an opportunity to redefine its role in society,” he said.

“It’s not just about greening-up our products. Services have to match public needs in terms of frequency, routing, and there’s the issue of personal safety for vulnerable road users as well.

“Preventing incidents is good for driver well-being and reduces operator costs and stress, and improves the passenger experience.

“Our driver and vehicle monitoring provides peace-of-mind, as does driver training and follow up coaching via our unique Ecolution programme.

“The focus on driver safety in the workplace also increases the safety of other road-users and pedestrians.

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An array of advanced driver assistance systems will advise and alert the driver aimed at keeping buses away from other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, Scania highlights.

Among the ADAS menu of assistance systems are an improved Adaptive Cruise Control, new blind-spot warning, vulnerable road user warnings, lane departure warning, integrated advanced emergency braking, and collision warning.

“These systems mean that our buses will be smarter and safer and will provide greater protection all round,” O’Brien explained.

“There are clear benefits for operators: fewer accidents; reduced repair costs; increased uptime; and the potential to reduce insurance premiums. A key benefit also is the effect these systems can have on the driver’s mental and physical health.”

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One of the most noticeable changes of the New Bus Generation is the design and fitment of the new driver station, Scania says. The dashboard is all new and follows the design of the New Truck Generation that Scania introduced locally in 2018, which has been lauded globally among truck operators and drivers.

“Drivers will love the new layout,” O’Brien said.

The dash is now lower for greater forward visibility, and there’s more adjustment of the steering column, which benefits a wider range of driver profiles, the company states. The dashboard includes ventilation outlets for a more comfortable and less fatiguing driving experience, particularly for the delivery of air conditioning, ensuring a comfortable and stable temperature in the driver station.

The dashboard itself displays greater levels of information and system control buttons are grouped for ease of operation. There are new display graphics and the switchgear is easier to use, while steering wheel-mounted buttons allow access to controls without the driver needing to take their eyes off the road or the mirrors, it adds.

Notably, the new six-speed ZF automatic transmission is now controlled via a rotary dial rather than push-buttons.

Another significant change is the introduction of a completely new and simple-to-use electro-pneumatic park brake, with multiple built-in safety features, which include removing the possibility of bus roll-away. This will be good news for all bus operators, Scania says.

Ultimately, the new driver station design aims to ensure the driver is well informed, has good visibility and can maintain dynamic control of the vehicle, it adds.

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“All these introductions and updates apply across the Scania range of city, school and charter bus and coach applications, but also the popular Scania Touring and A 30 product,” O’Brien commented.

The Scania Touring – a school and charter bus that is “…100 per cent Scania from bumper-to-bumper” – is now standard with the more powerful 13-litre, 370hp/1900Nm Euro 6-compliant engine and available with six-speed automatic, or 12-speed Opticruise transmission.

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Scania is a world-leading provider of transport solutions, it states. Together with its partners and customers it’s driving the shift towards a sustainable transport system, it adds.

In 2020, Scania delivered 66,900 trucks, 5,200 buses, as well as 11,000 industrial and marine power systems to customers, it confirms.

Founded in 1891, Scania now operates in more than 100 countries and employs some 50,000 people, the company explains.

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Photography: courtesy Scania Australia

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