The COVID clouds have cleared and the Australasian bus and coach sector is once again flourishing. Alongside traditional options, the focus is on the cutting edge of technological developments
To many in the industry, this is the same old Bus Search Buyers Guide that is loved and adored each year as an annual tool on the ‘what’s what’ and ‘who’s who’ in our sector. Many of the names that you are set to flick through won’t come as a surprise. But unlike before, the Bus Search for 2023 features a whole new raft of manufacturers and brands that have leapt upon the zero-emissions bus and made innovative vehicles that makes the Australian industry more exciting and varied than it has ever been.
The Bus Search Buyers Guide acts as a bookmark of each year in a fabled and historically mesmerising industry. At the turn of every 12 months, the latest chassis, bodies and completely built vehicles go on display to see just how much everything has changed. The 2023 version is a significant milestone in the Guide.
In a friendly industry that remains so welcoming and inclusive of all who join the fold, collaborations between companies is only expanding as many manufacturers and OEMs link arms to create new-fangled designs that rethink the way the bus and coach sector conceptualises zero-emissions transport. In this Bus Search you’ll see the mind-blowing fruit of many individuals and companies’ labour.
It starts with BLK Auto, who we welcome on our cover for the 2023 Guide. BLK Auto has steadily built its product range. In 2022, it pushed further into zero-emissions vehicles and emerged triumphantly with a new suite of products that are as exciting as they are logical progressions of the brand’s technology. Heading into 2023, the brand has both electric and hydrogen fuel-cell chassis that sit alongside the President and Senator ranges that are pushing for NSW Panel 4 procurement approval.
An innovative base
Not all companies are undergoing the total zero-emissions evolution of completely built buses that BLK Auto is. Instead, brands like MAN Truck & Bus have focused on evolving the electric technology of the base of the bus. MAN’s new Lion’s Chassis E LF is ready to take 2023 by storm. Volvo Bus Australia is also turning to a battery electric chassis to remain ahead of the local competition as it will be promoting its new BZL Electric chassis well into 2023.
A buffet of bodies
When it comes to the top half of the bus, there are some major Australian bodybuilders who have partnered to provide the industry with exciting innovations. Irizar Asia Pacific is focusing on its quality luxury bodies that are suited to both buses and coaches of various applications. Volgren Australia is taking a varied approach, supplying traditional diesel bodies while also facilitating zero-emissions transitions with its range.
Celebrating complete builds
Many brands are now working to create both chassis and bodies to act as a one-stop shop for the latest bus and coach technology. Australian company ARCC is one of many providing an entire package that rethinks the concept of sustainable transport vehicles. Bus Stop Sales is prepared for 2023 with some exciting new options coming from King Long and Isuzu, while Challenger Bus & Coach will continue escalating towards a Euro 6 range following an incredibly successful year. Mercedes-Benz continues to satisfy its legacy customers, while Foton Mobility and Nexport have both created intriguing approaches to zero-emissions bus technology. Hino’s Poncho will romp into 2023 as unique as ever, with Scania and Yutong both showing that they are leading the charge in all fuel sources when it comes to an incredibly diverse industry. Supporting this push are suppliers like Coachair, who have tailored products to suit the zero-emissions sphere. Enjoy taking a look at these new developments in our industry.