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Feature: New buses and coaches impress at Euro Bus Expo

08 November 2018 #Bus and Coach #Features & Interviews #TNB News #Top Stories

There were plenty of exciting new vehicles to see at last week’s Euro Bus Expo at the NEC, which saw new service buses from three major British manufacturers, as well as coach launches from Volvo, Scania, Irizar, as well as some new names in the market.

The organisers report that almost 9,000 attendees from 50 countries attended the show and they were not disappointed.  WrightBus pulled the wraps off the world’s first fuel cell double-decker , its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus: the StreetDeck FCEV.

Wrightbus FCEV

The StreetDeck FCEV uses a Ballard FCVelocity fuel cell, a Siemens drivetrain and 48kW traction battery pack. The system delivers a 200-mile (322km) operating range, and a 265-mile (426km) extended storage option is also available. Wrightbus say that refueling the bus takes approximately seven minutes.

The vehicle’s electric drive axle is packaged to provide a flat floor throughout the bus, and features a zero-emission heating and cooling system. Lightweight hydrogen storage tanks are included, and an automatic BMS continuously monitors and balances the stored power while the vehicle is in use.

The modular platform developed by Wrightbus means that the StreetDeck FCEV shares the same chassis as the manufacturer’s full-electric models – the rear module contains equipment for overnight charging, opportunity charging or fuel cell components depending on the vehicle’s specification. The chassis also serves as the platform for both single- and double-deck models.

Outside of this, Wrightbus also showed off its hybrid electric HEV StreetDeck at the show, decked out in Northern Ireland’s Translink livery.

Yorkshire-based Optare used the show to demonstrate its next-generation Metrocity and Metrodecker electric buses, along with its updated range of Solo xFE (which stands for extra fuel-efficient) city vehicles with Euro6 and hybrid drivetrains. Optare’s “Aircharge’ technology innovation was also there for visitors to see, which allows bus riders to recharge their phones whilst travelling on the bus without the need for a charging cable.

Optare at Euro Bus Expo 2018

“We are proud that these buses appear no different to their electric predecessors or diesel counterparts.  It’s the innovation that you can’t see that is game changing,” said Richard Butler, Optare Chief Executive. “Optare [has] brought together the very latest technologies to create our next generation EVs.  New batteries and new drive systems deliver best in class performance in range, capacity and efficiency.  We now have a bus that can deliver a full day’s zero emission service on a single charge all year round with no impact on capacity.”

Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) meanwhile was also focusing on its electric bus strategy, announcing a new Enviro400 double decker would be due to arrive before the end of Q1 2019. But before that, the focus is on the 10.8-metre Enviro200 single decker EV, with ADL’s demonstrator vehicle making its debut at the show.

ADL Enviro200 EV

The BYD ADL Enviro200EV 10.8m bus is the first provincial EV demonstrator and has 33 seats with one wheelchair space. The bus is equipped with a BYD-built mobile charging unit which is small enough to be carried on board in the wheelchair space. This unique innovation will enable operators to trial the Enviro200EV bus without needing to install permanent charging infrastructure beforehand. ADL also exhibited an Enviro400 with SmartPack diesel hybrid technology, in distinctive Southampton ‘Bluestar’ livery.

Mercedes-Benz introduced a new Citaro Hybrid and used  the show’s outdoor area to exhibit its innovative safety bus.

Meanwhile, the show was also a big one for the coach industry. Volvo’s new 9900 luxury coach made its UK show debut, while Scania was exhibiting its 100thBiogas-powered coach, one of which has just successfully finished long service in-fleet trails with National Express franchisee Lucketts Travel.

“Innovation, sustainability, partnerships and performance are our four key messages today and all were present in abundance on our stand at this year’s show,” said Martin West, New Bus and Coach Sales Director for Scania (Great Britain) Limited.  “Each vehicle on display attracted a great deal of attention in its own right, but the levels of interest in alternative and renewable fuels demonstrated to us, beyond doubt, that the industry is now firmly focusing on operating more sustainably in the future.”

Mellor Strata

There was also a new model from Chinese coach maker Pelican Yutong, and from Irizar, which used the show to reveal its new DAF-powered model range.

At the smaller end of the spectrum, Lancashire-based Mellor also revealed two new vehicles. The small bus and coach specialist, which specializes in the sub-10 metre market, revealed its new Strata and Strata Plus vehicles.

Both new buses have extended wheelbases and body lengths and will be offered on the new model 907 Mercedes Sprinter. The Strata Plus reaches 8.1m and the Ultra stretches to 8.8m. They have accessible low-floor single-step entry and are the same width as the original Strata model.

The Strata Plus and Strata Ultra accommodate 26 and 30 passengers respectively, giving operators the opportunity to increase vehicle-carrying capacity while still enjoying the efficiencies, economies and advantages delivered by a small bus.

Mellor managing director John Randerson said: “We are extremely proud that all Mellor low floor buses have class-leading seated capacity. We believe passengers will have an enhanced experience and that travelling in comfort will lead to increased bus patronage and route viability.”

As well as the raft of new vehicles, Euro Bus Expo 2018 featured a wide range of technological innovations, safety and security systems, telematics and timetabling technology. To catch up on all of the show’s news, visit: https://www.eurobusexpo.com/category/show-news/. The show returns to the NEC in October 2020.

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