Scania has announced it is introducing its New Bus Generation ushering in a family of new chassis and powertrains with advanced driver assistance systems which it says will improve road safety for the vehicle’s driver and occupants as well as vulnerable road users.
T&B News was at the launch in Melbourne tonight (Tuesday 22 Feb) and got the chance for a close up inspection of the two route bus chassis and a completed route bus all three of which featured Scania’s latest 320hp five cylinder turbo diesel engines.
Scania revealed that an electric version of the New Bus Generation will also be available, the first version of which are on the water and should arrive in Australia any day now.
The introduction of the New Generation will incude the new low-entry route buses, school and charter chassis, which are the first iterations of a whole new range that will also include three-axle versions, plus the low floor battery electric powertrains we mentioned and articulated variants in due course.
Scania says it’s ongoing research and development program will deliver a continuous rollout of innovations through the product life of this New Bus Generation.
Scania claims the New Bus features an entirely new chassis, with powertrain upgrades delivering greater efficiency, a longer working life, lowered emissions and reduced operating costs.
Importantly for the person steering the new Scania, there’s also an entirely new driver station.
The flagship of the new Scania range is a tantalising new 500 hp 13-litre six-cylinder engine delivering a massive 2550 Nm of torque, which Scania says will be ideal for long-distance coach travel.
The six-cylinder range will also includes a 410 hp/2150 Nm engine, a 450 hp 2350 Nm version and a new 370 hp/1900 Nm variant that can be paired with an automatic transmission for the first time.
Scania’s latest five-cylinder 9-litre 320 hp/1600 Nm engine that was on display at the launch has been tailored for city bus with diesel power and the hybrid variant boasting 360 hp/1700 Nm for school and charter bus options which is continuing, albeit offering enhanced efficiency.
Scania was at pains to point out that all the engines are Euro 6-compliant.
“The upgraded engines are now more efficient, will use less fuel, and they’re compatible with a range of renewable fuels,” said Trevor O’Brien, product manager for Scania Buses and Engines.
“The engines retain their modular concept but are further refined in operation,” he added.
“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,” Trevor said.
Scania says that bodybuilder electronic integration points have been made smarter and more logical, to speed up the build process and there is additional programable switchgear to allow for bodybuilder functionality to be integrated into the chassis electronics, a factor that the company says reduces duplication.
Scania also claims that drivers, other road users, passengers, and pedestrians will all feel safer in or around the new buses thanks to an array of the introduction of an advanced driver assistance systems, to advise and alert the driver, aimed at keeping buses away from other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
They revealed that 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,” Trevor said.
“There are clear benefits for operators including 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,” he added
One of the most noticeable changes of the New Bus Generation is the design and fitment of the new driver station. 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,” Trevor 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 dashboard 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 his or her eyes off the road or the mirrors.
The new six-speed ZF automatic transmission is now controlled via a rotary dial rather than push-buttons.
Another significant change for the New Bus Generation 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.
The new driver station design aims to ensure the driver is well informed, has good visibility and can maintain dynamic control of the vehicle.
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.
“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,” Trevor said.
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, 370 hp/1900 Nm Euro 6-compliant engine and available with six-speed automatic or 12-speed Opticruise transmission.
In Australia, Scania will soon receive the first examples of the battery-electric chassis mentioned earlier, which will be fitted with local bodies.
Scania says that 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,” Trevor concluded.