By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Scania Australia

Scania Australia has commissioned a locally built hybrid-electric city bus for demonstration duties in a bid to expose its real-world benefits to operators around the country, the company has announced.

“We commissioned a hybrid-electric demonstrator so that we can show off the performance advantages of the bus operating in a variety of Australian climates,” Scania Bus and Engines sales director Julian Gurney said.

The bus - similar in specification to that already in service with a number of operators in Victoria and South Australia - offers fuel savings of between 25 and 35 per cent, as well as similar reductions in tailpipe emissions -plus benefits such as silent running mode for arrival and departures from bus stops, Scania says.

"The Scania hybrid-electric city bus is a ‘here-and-now’ solution that can deliver solid, repeatable and reliable performance day-after-day," says Scania Bus and Engines sales director Julian Gurney.

"We have several years of in-service experience in Europe, as well as having these buses on the road in Australia for a meaningful period of time, clocking up thousands of commuter inner and outer suburban kilometres.

"In real-world Australia testing we have seen the hybrid-electric city bus able to cruise on the highway at 100km/h propelled only by the electric motor.

"The bus’s computer controls constantly monitor engine load and other system demands and - under the right conditions; for example, under light load on a flat road - the hybrid can switch to zero tailpipe emissions mode and drive at speeds up to 100km/h, further extending the fuel savings.

"It is a unique experience to drive along on battery power alone at 100km/h," Gurney stated.

"Aside from the business case stacking up in terms of reduced fuel burn, driver feedback has been very encouraging and passengers are enjoying a smoother ride.

"Patrons waiting at stops have a more pleasant experience, as the bus can arrive and depart under battery power, so there is far less noise pollution and, of course, no tailpipe emissions when running on battery power," he added.

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The Scania hybrid-electric bus can travel on battery power alone up to 4km and at speeds of up to 45km/h on the flat, at a gross weight of 18 tonnes, before the combustion engine restarts to recharge the batteries. To recharge the battery pack from empty takes around 30 minutes of engine running, depending on conditions, Scania confirms.

The Scania parallel hybrid-electric powertrain system comprises a 9.0-litre five-cylinder Euro 6-compliant diesel engine producing 320hp and 1600Nm, which is able to run on regular diesel, biodiesel or HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils), allowing for a CO2 reduction of up to 92 per cent (depending on the fuel used).

It is mated to a Scania electric motor that can deliver up to an additional 177hp (130kW) and 1030Nm, and is integrated into the Scania Opticruise automated 12-speed transmission, the company explains.

When running with the diesel engine assisted by the electric motor, the bus uses around 25 per cent less diesel, Scania states.

Adding the fully electric zero-tailpipe modes, and the overall fuel saving, climbs to between 30 and 35 per cent - depending on driving styles and environments.

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"We commissioned a hybrid-electric demonstrator so that we can show off the performance advantages of the bus operating in a variety of Australian climates," Gurney explained.

"We’ll be showing off the bus operating in the southern climes all the way up the east coast to the Far North of Queensland," he said.

"Our targets are operators who are keen to show they are taking meaningful steps towards reducing their carbon footprint, without having to install additional refuelling or recharging infrastructure at their depots.

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"Operators keen to take their first step into a much greener transportation future may contact the Scania office in their capital city, or call us direct at Scania in Melbourne, and we will work to make the demonstrator bus available as soon as practicable," Gurney confirmed.

"The green public transportation revolution has begun and there are simple, feasible and cost-effective steps that can be taken today to reduce our bus fleets’ carbon footprints, tailpipe emissions and urban noise pollution," he concluded.

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