Scania delivered the first two Hybrid Euro 6 route buses to prominent Melbourne-based bus company Ventura Bus Lines just before the holiday break, with the new Hybrids fitted with a locally-built Volgren bodies, and destined for suburban and outer metropolitan route duties.
These first versions of the Scania Hybrid bus models to be delivered to a Melbourne Metropolitan Contract Bus Operator, and will be substantially quieter and produce less Green House Gas (GHG) emissions than the 1998-vintage buses they have replaced on the Ventura fleet .
Scania says that with the ability to run in ‘silent’ electric mode when approaching or departing bus stops, the company claims the Hybrids will help reduce noise and air pollution, while providing greater public convenience, especially for areas with heavy pedestrian traffic or outdoor dining.
Andrew Cornwall, managing director of Ventura Bus Lines, said that the Scania Hybrids had arrived at the right time.
“These buses provide a significant step towards a cleaner environment, and a fully battery-powered bus future.
“The Hybrids can be driven without noise or emissions at low speed in areas where there is a lot of foot-traffic, such as in the new outdoor dining precincts or outside schools.
“This makes them perfect for suburban neighbourhoods as well as busy shopping strips,” Cornwell said.
“These are the first Scania Hybrid buses to join the Ventura fleet and they will be used within an area stretching from Brighton in the west to Pakenham in the east, on multiple routes comprising short and long stop intervals.
“We will also deploy them as part of our level crossing removal and metro tunnel bus replacement contract, so they will have to cope with high loading capacity throughout the day. This will be a good test for the Scania Hybrid platform,” he said.
“The adoption of these Hybrid technology buses is the second stage of our environmental journey, having operated a fleet of Scania buses powered by renewable ethanol for more than 20 years.
“While moving to zero emission buses will come at some stage in the future, the Scania Hybrids offer a proven product with which we can transition towards a cleaner public transport future.
“We see the Scania Hybrids as the perfect answer as we navigate the road to zero emission buses,” Andrew said.
The first Scania Hybrid was delivered to regional bus operator McHarry’s in Geelong late in 2019, but Scania has had hundreds of examples working in Europe for almost five years, reducing diesel fuel consumption and exhaust emissions by up to 25%. Carbon dioxide emissions can fall by up to 92% if the buses are run on bio-diesel, however Ventura will be running its Scania Hybrids on regular low sulphur diesel to be able to make direct consumption comparisons with its existing fleet.
“We know that these Hybrids make a tangible contribution to reducing air and noise pollution in our cities,” said Julian Gurney, Director of Sales for Scania Bus and Engines.
“Scania is at the forefront globally in driving the shift towards a sustainable transport solution and we are confident that Ventura and its passengers will quickly come to appreciate the benefits of the Scania Hybrid powertrain.
“The driving experience is excellent, and for passengers the ride is noticeably quieter when running on battery power. For pedestrians, the noise of a bus pulling away from the stop and the smell of exhaust that has been such a typical urban experience is now gone, which has made this technology very popular in European operations.
“The Scania diesel electric Hybrid bus marks a significant step-change in urban bus functionality and environmental benefits. The Hybrid’s ‘silent mode’ zero tailpipe emissions experience will be a revelation for drivers and passengers alike,” Julian said.
The Scania Hybrid powertrain fitted to the new Ventura buses has been designed to run for up to 4 km on battery power alone, up to a maximum speed of 40 km/h.
Employing the 9.0-litre 320 hp five-cylinder Euro 6 compliant diesel engine typically used across Australian bus fleets, and famed for its torquey 1600 Nm output, the Hybrid further boosts its environmental credentials with a 177 hp/1030 Nm electric motor, both of which are seamlessly integrated with the Scania Opticruise transmission.
The diesel engine can fully charge its batteries while in driving mode in just 30 minutes.
Yuri Tessari National Sales Manager of Volgren, said it was an absolute privilege to partner with longstanding customer Ventura and chassis OEM Scania to produce the two Volgren bodied low-floor Euro 6 hybrids.
“Volgren has supplied vehicles to Ventura for two decades; in that time we have built more than 300 vehicles for our valued partner. We’re especially proud of this build and we’re delighted to have contributed to Ventura’s first Scania Hybrid bus.”
Tessari said that Volgren has worked hard to create added flexibility to its production line, engineering and processes to help it adapt to a range of low and zero emission chassis.
“Volgren has a long history of designing, developing and applying new technologies for the Australian market.
“We pride ourselves on providing engineering solutions that meet the developing needs of our customers, and we’re more than ready to take on the challenge of developing the best possible bus body for a low-emission future.” Yuri said.
A further benefit of the adoption of the Scania Hybrids by Ventura is that its 2021 intake of 20 first year apprentice technicians will benefit from learning about the hybrid powertrain system, which will stand them in good stead for their future careers.
“We’ll be upskilling our technicians and our apprentices as they learn about the diesel-electric powertrain, which again is a step on the road towards the full battery electric buses of the future,” Andrew Cornwall said.