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Valeo continues building electric HVAC expertise in Australia

Since expanding into Australia, Valeo has continued building on its electric HVAC foundations for local bus and coach customers

It’s been 10 years since Valeo (previously known as Spheros) first came to Australia. At the time, its HVAC systems were being imported on Daewoo into Australia, with Valeo needing to set up a presence to support the products.

In 2016, Valeo Group purchased Spheros and integrated it into its organisation, giving Valeo access to a range of products.

In the decade since Valeo Australia general manager Paul Williams took the job of running the Australian and New Zealand arm of the air-conditioning company, he’s been spearheading an emphasis on electric technology.

“We started by securing some great contracts to get our foot in the door and have some confidence with Australian customers,” Williams told ABC.

“In New Zealand we also quickly grew as we supported the likes of Kinetic (Go Bus) to supply more than 400 diesel application units into the local market.”

Nowadays, Valeo has multiple electric air-conditioning units, e-cooler and thermo products that it sells in Australia. Back in 2013, Valeo’s first two electric units were on hybrid buses that went to Perth Transport and Torrens Transit in Adelaide.

From there it’s progressed, with Valeo since selling electric models through hybrid buses that have gone to operators around Australia. Its hallmark and latest model, the REVO®-E Global, is the air-conditioning unit onboard certain Custom Denning electric buses.

Across the ditch, the REVO®-E Global is also in New Zealand, with more than 200 units onboard electric vehicles courtesy of imported vehicles and New Zealand manufacturer Global Bus Ventures, who also put a Valeo electric air-conditioner on its very first hydrogen bus.

“In Australia, we were also lucky enough to have our REVO®-E Global model used on BLK Auto’s first hydrogen buses,” Williams says.

“This exposure has helped customers see our products and how reliable they are.

“Our electric model goes up on the roof of the bus, allowing us to deliver them to customers pre-charged so they can be run as a plug-and-play model.”

To get Valeo’s electric air-conditioning model working, all a customer needs to do is connect high-voltage cables and plug it into the bus’s CAN system before taking off.

Through a hermetically sealed refrigerant circuit, the Valeo REVO®-E all-electric rooftop unit provides low maintenance costs, is environmentally friendly, provides less noise for passengers and drivers and enhances comfort.

Whether it be a cool unit or a heat pump, the model is also supplemented by the REVO®-E Global, which offers a cooling capacity up to 33kW and heating with a heat pump and PTC heater as an option.

From temperatures of –20 degrees Celsius to more than 50 degrees Celsius, these models are designed to work in a variety of arrangements for operators.

“Being an electric model, the REVO®-E and REVO®-E Global are able to use reverse cycle or heat pump to heat the vehicle immediately,” Williams says.

“We can heat or cool the vehicle very fast, there’s no need to wait for the engine to get hot.”

This is because Valeo’s systems don’t rely on the vehicle and whether it’s moving or stationary. The new electric unit also has a built-in battery management system as an optional extra, allowing customers to cool the batteries when charging and keep the system safe.

On top of this, Valeo also has an E-Cooler model in a new 10kW concept that keeps battery packs temperature-safe.

Its Thermo HV provides a high voltage future for high end electric bus heating.

“Thermo HV is the future solution for plug-in and electrically powered buses that quickly, consistently and reliably heats the vehicle interior,” Williams says.

“This electric HV heater is used on some electric chassis to heat up the coolant or manage batteries, which also keeps drivers warm and toasty in the winter.”

Williams says a key part of Valeo’s success in Australia to date has been that it’s a subsidiary of Valeo, meaning it’s not an agent for the brand. This allows Valeo Australia to support its products for years to come.

“We’re also lucky to have a very good service network through our service agents that cover New Zealand and Australia,” Williams says.

“We’re always available to support any customers in need through our agent network.

“Many of the units use the same components so that we’re able to save the customer from holding different components on their shelves.”

It’s been quite a decade for Valeo in Australia. Yet Williams isn’t one to stop and smell the roses – he’s harbouring growth ambitions that will see Valeo enhance its reputation in the local region as a leading HVAC supplier for buses and coaches.

“We definitely want to grow in Australia and New Zealand and we’re looking at different types of units we can introduce to the local market,” he says.

“As the market develops, we’re looking for innovative ways to provide products and units for customers, including looking into cassette units that go into the back of the vehicle rather than just the roof.

“We’ll continue working closely with our range of local bodybuilders and importers to see what products we can introduce that will help the industry.”

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