(Dublin) Donnybrook’s New GTs on 11 & 54A [25Aug2013]

Donnybrook Garage has taken delivery of the first twenty of the eighty Volvo B9TL / Wright Gemini buses on order for Dublin Bus this year.  Further deliveries are now in progress to Ringsend.

Here we see some of the Donnybrook batch in action on routes 11 and 54A.

 

GT88a

GT88b

Above: GT88 seen from the front and rear in Suffolk Street, Dublin, on Saturday 24 August 2013.

The buses are built to Wright’s Gemini II specification, however Dublin Bus has requested that they have the older style of Gemini I front panelling for commonality of spares with their earlier Wright deckers.

Route 11 switched over to GT operation from Friday 23rd August.

GT84

Above: GT84 is seen at Fortfield Drive, near Kimmage, heading outbound.

Originally the 54A was a cross-city route and came south just as far as this point, however over the years it has lost its northside section, while being continually extended to the south, the extensions allowing it to remain viable while the main 54 service was discontinued.

GT82

GT82 is seen at the same spot, heading inbound.

The buses are the first in the fleet to carry the new Irish style of registration with a three digit year prefix rather than two – so instead of being 13-D, these buses are 132-D to signify that they were delivered in the second half of the year.

As of 2009, the company no longer pays for registration numbers to coincide with fleet numbers.

NEWS: Record Year For Volvo Buses In 2011 (03/Feb/2012)

 

Volvo Bus has reported a record year for sales worldwide in 2011, despite difficult market conditions.

The manufacturer’s end of year sales report states::

Deliveries were up 29%, which means 4200 units delivered in the fourth quarter. Volvo Buses  delivered almost 1000 more units  than the same quarter of 2010, though hard market conditions. Net sales increased by 19% in Q4, mainly due to South America.

Weak markets in North America and Europe, growth in South America

During the fourth quarter, the European bus market was at the same low levels as in 2010. In North America, the total bus market remained weak. The city-bus market declined 17% in 2011, when cities’ investments in new buses were very restricted. The coach market in North America increased 25% from an exceptionally low volume in 2010.

In South America, demand remained strong, with approximately 30% higher volumes in heavy buses, compared with 2010. In Mexico, the total bus market increased from very low levels in 2010.

The market for heavy buses in China grew 13% in 2011, compared with the year-earlier period.

Record deliveries in fourth quarter

Deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2011 totaled 4,172 buses, up 29% compared with 3,230 in the year-earlier quarter. South America accounted for the largest increase. Order intake for the fourth quarter amounted to 3,941 buses, up 7% compared with 3,677 in the year-earlier period.

During the quarter, Volvo Buses signed its largest order ever in Columbia, 688 buses for Bogota. A new bus range, consisting of one city bus and two coaches, was launched in India.

Sales and earnings increased

Net sales for the fourth quarter increased 19% to SEK 6,680 M (5,602). Adjusted for currency fluctuations, net sales rose 22%.

Operating income improved to SEK 295 M (221). Compared with the year-earlier period, operating income was positively impacted by higher volumes, and improved market mix. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, operating income was negatively impacted by changes in currency exchange rates in an amount of SEK 22 M. The operating margin increased to 4.4% (3.9).

• Deliveries increased 29%

• Continued negative market trend in North America and Europe, but growth in South America

• New bus range launched in India

Net sales by market area Fourth quarter Year
2011 2010 Change in % 2011 2010 Change in %
Europe 2,225 1,581 41 7,009 6,242 12
North America 2,167 1,885 15 7,541 7,200 5
South America 1,001 582 72 2,721 1,737 57
Asia 833 947 (12) 3,027 3,299 (8)
Other markets 454 607 (25) 1,991 2,038 (2)
Total 6,680 5,602 19 22,289 20,516

9

Celtic Travel Opt For Irish-built Volvos 31/01/2012

 

Celtic Travel have recently purchased three new Volvo B7RLE buses with Wrightbus Eclipse 2 bodywork.

Celtic Travel have recently purchased three new Volvo B7RLE buses with Wrightbus Eclipse 2 bodywork for use on their first ever bus service, the X75, running from Rhayader to Shrewsbury and back.

The family run firm, based in Llanidloes, Powys in Wales, have successfully run coach services for many years, but their new X75 bus route is an exciting new string to their bow. They decided to specify Volvo having experienced the Volvo service and technology on their coaches and after having consulted with their customers and other operators.

“They all said the same thing – you can’t go wrong with the Volvo Wrightbus combination,” explained Celtic Travel Transport Manager, William Davies. “Added to that is the tremendous backup and support you get with Volvo and the endorsement of larger operators, such as National Express, also specifying Volvo Wrightbus.”

With 14 Volvo coaches in their fleet, Celtic Travel are no strangers to the Volvo chassis and the reliability of their current vehicles played an important part in their decision to also specify Volvo for their new bus requirement. “These new Volvo B7RLE buses will each end up covering around 70,000 miles per year,” continued William Davies. “We can’t afford for them to be off the road and with Volvo, we know we are paying for the best.”

The single deck B7RLE has a light weight chassis frame and is powered by the D7E 7.1 litre in-line common rail fuel injection engine. The quality and durable components, fitted as standard, help promote high reliability, low fuel consumption and long service life.

Celtic Travel’s new B7RLEs are specified with 44 e-leather seats, with three point safety belts.

Fitted to the latest DDA specifications and featuring 44 e-leather seats with three point safety belts, the new buses are built with passenger’s comfort and safety in mind. Other internal features include Hanover audio visual equipment and Synetics CCTV.  

William Davies continued “The whole process of purchasing our new buses was extremely professional from our liaison with Volvo Bus Sales Manager, Phil Fletcher and Steve Jackson at Wrightbus, through to our continued relationship with Hartshorne’s Dealership, in Shrewsbury. I’d certainly specify the Volvo Wrightbus combination again if I was to buy more similar sized buses.”

(left to right) Darren Green (Area Service Manager, Volvo Bus), Colin Organ (Depo Manager, Hartshorne) Phil Fletcher (Sales Manager, Volvo Bus) , William Davies (Celtic Travel), Kathryn Davies (Celtic Travel), Phylip Davies (Celtic Travel).

Volvo Bus Sales Manager, Phil Fletcher, explained “We have always had a strong relationship with Celtic Travel on the coach side of our business, so when we had the opportunity to specify three new buses for their first ever bus route, we were obviously very keen to seal the deal.”

“Reliability and low fuel consumption are crucial factors for Celtic Travel and the B7RLE buses offer that in abundance,” he continued. “I look forward to working with them again in the future.”

London MEP Visits Ballymena To See New Bus In Build 30/01/2012

MEP Marina Yannakoudakis on the platform of the New Bus For London at the Ballymena factory

 

PRESS RELEASE

London MEP visits factory building New Bus for London and other hybrid buses

Ballymena, 30 January 2012 – “Green transport will help London meet its obligations on EU air pollution regulations,” said London Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis on a visit to the Wrightbus factory today.

Marina visited the vehicle factory in Ballymena, Northern Ireland which is currently constructing the New Bus for London, inspired by the iconic Routemaster. The bus, as well as being a new design classic for London, will use some of the most advanced hybrid technologies in the world making it more than twice as fuel efficient as conventional diesel buses and 25% more fuel efficient than even other London hybrid buses.

Marina said: “Standing on the platform of the New Bus for London today gave me a real thrill. The bus is a beauty and I’m pleased to be here in Northern Ireland to see how the best of British engineering can deliver a first-rate, hi-tech new vehicle for the 6.5 million passengers in my London constituency who travel by bus every day.”

“The bus doesn’t just look good, it will also emit less than half the NOx (oxides of nitrogen) levels of a conventional diesel double-decker. Costs of the bus are comparable to another hybrid double-decker, yet the technology used is extraordinary; this is the first British bus to use fibre reinforced plastic normally used in yacht racing.”

Marina Yannakoudakis upstairsin the new bus.

“I have also seen other green buses being put together here in Ballymena. Hybrid buses not only improve fuel efficiency making them cheaper to run, but they are also less polluting. Green transport will help London meet its obligations on EU air pollution regulations.”

“I look forward to seeing the New Bus for London on the streets of the capital later this year. Mayor Boris Johnson has kept his promise to deliver a 21st Century version of the Routemaster while improving air quality for Londoners.”

Wrightbus supplies approximately one-third of the double-deckers in London. In 2002 the Wright Group received £680,000 of EU funding from the PEACE II programme to back a dedicated automotive centre of excellence, focusing on Research and Development activities. The project allowed Wrightbus to improve its R&D capacity over the past decade.

Matthews take more Volvo coaches

MatthewsTours-12a

MatthewsTours-33a

from the Volvo Press Release files

Co Monaghan based Matthews Coach Hire have taken five Volvo B9R coaches with Plaxton Panther bodywork, just weeks after taking their first ever new Volvo – the B12B with Plaxton Elite body which was exhibited at last year’s Euro Bus Expo 2008.

Noel Matthews, Fleet Manager of Matthews Coach Hire explained, “There are a number of reasons for choosing Volvo products this time, not least because the Volvo name is associated with reliability. When we demonstrated the B12B tri-axle Plaxton Elite it returned excellent fuel figures, along with the outstanding driveability of the I-Shift. The fact that the B9R is lighter and the driveline incorporates the I-Shift will hopefully give us even better fuel returns.”

Noel continued, “Volvo coach products come with competition beating warranty terms – two years, plus third year driveline – and the products benefit from superb support through Volvo’s aftermarket, which, where we are based, means that we can utilise both Irish Commercials and Dennison Commercials.

“A quarter of our 24 vehicle fleet is now Volvo and we will be closely monitoring the six new vehicles’ performances, but from what we have seen from the B12B we are very optimistic for them all.”

The B9Rs are specified with Volvo’s 9.4 litre D9B engine rated at 380hp and I-Shift combination. In a theatre-style configuration, the 57 seats have leather headrests and three-point seat belts, climate control air conditioning, audio/visual system, a seven camera CCTV system, GPS tracking and fleet management system, Wi-Fi capability and are fitted with electronic destination equipment.

Matthews Coach Hire are proud of their 100% safety record. So committed are they to promoting road safety that they were the first operator in Ireland to introduce Alcolock starter inhibiters, which immobilise the vehicle on detection of alcohol, and they are now fitted across their entire fleet.

The Volvo B9R comes with safety as standard, with all round disc brakes, ABS with ASR and their latest generation of Electronic Braking System incorporates Hill Start Aid, Emergency Braking Assistance and Brake Blending, whilst Volvo’s VR3250 compact retarder offers very powerful auxiliary braking, resulting in considerably reduced brake wear too.

James Hyde, Regional Coach Sales Manager commented, “We’re delighted to have our first B9Rs in operation in Ireland. The product has obvious benefits such as the weight advantage and the clean and efficient driveline, making it a versatile option for operators for a number of applications.”

Matthews Coach Hire was founded in 1995 by Paddy and Mary Matthews and remains family owned and operated by them, their three sons – Noel, Paddy Jnr and Gerard – and a team of 45 employees. The company specialises in private hire, daily commuter services and their own tour programme throughout Ireland and Europe.

Halpenny stick with Volvo for coaching needs

Halpenny's new Volvo B12B (photo: Volvo Bus)

Halpenny's new Volvo B12B (photo: Volvo Bus)

(from the Volvo Press Release files)

Halpenny Travel of Dundalk has just taken delivery of another Volvo B12B Jonckheere to join its all-Volvo fleet.

The new vehicle will be used for touring around Ireland on behalf of a number of operators and Halpenny are confident it is ideal for the task in hand. “We love the new Jonckheere bodywork. Not only does it create a really strong first impression, the interior boasts high levels of passenger comfort – two essential factors in this business,” explained John Halpenny, General Manager of Halpenny Travel .


Specified with Volvo’s fuel efficient DH12E 12 litre engine – rated at 420hp and coupled to the
I-Shift gearbox – the 12.2m  51/53 seater vehicle features full climate control, toilet, CD/DVD player with two monitors and facilities for hot and cold drinks.

“We know from experience that our customers will love it, but the B12B Jonckheere is just as popular with the drivers,” continued John Halpenny. “It’s a pleasure to drive. But also, the back up we receive from Volvo through Dennisons at Newry and Irish Commercials at Naas is excellent – one of the major reasons we keep coming back to them.”

Volvo’s Regional Coach Sales Manager, Duncan Crosby commented, “We are delighted by Halpenny’s continued loyalty and satisfaction with our products and services. We’ll be working hard to ensure that both live up to their high expectations!”

Established back in 1920, Halpenny Travel is a third generation family-owned operator specialising in luxury private hire. Its customers range from local organisations and community groups to corporate clients and international travel operators.

Wrights deliver to Burnley & Pendle

Volvo / Wright Eclipse 2 - photo © Volvo Bus

Volvo / Wright Eclipse 2 - photo © Volvo Bus

PRESS RELEASE

Nineteen new Volvos with Northern irish built bodywork for Transdev Burnley and Pendle

Transdev Blazefield have taken delivery of 19 Volvo B7RLEs for its Burnley and Pendle operation.
Specified with Volvo’s Euro 5 Incentive, common rail fuel injection D7E 7.1litre engine rated at 290hp and ZF six speed gearbox, the 12.15m vehicles feature the new Wrightbus Eclipse 2 bodywork.  Fitted with 44 Civic V3 saloon seats, the buses also have capacity for 39 standing passengers as well as a storage area for buggies and bags. Disabled access is by means of a powered ramp and the vehicles also feature a 10 camera CCTV system and electronic destination equipment with full colour front destination blinds.

“The Volvo/Wrightbus combination is well known to us and has a proven track record,” explained Transdev Blazefield Managing Director, (Operations) Russell Revill. “So we were pleased to be able to buy Volvo once again, particularly with the excellent quality assurance package they offer.”

Volvo’s Regional Commercial Manager, Arthur Argyle added, “We’re delighted to be doing business with Transdev Blazefield once again. It’s an excellent reflection on our vehicles that they continue to meet the stringent standards of one of the major names in the bus industry.”

The new vehicles are being deployed on Burnley and Pendle’s Mainline group of services operating in the Colne, Nelson, Burnley and Padiham areas, as well as covering adjoining towns from Accrington, Keighley, Clitheroe and Barnoldswick.


Burnley and Pendle is one of seven companies within the Blazefield Group, each with its distinct local identity and the Blazefield Group is owned by Transdev, who operate in nine countries in Europe, Canada and Australia. Transdev provides transport to more than 1.2 billion passengers a year.

Review: Bus Eireann’s new commuter coaches

LD208, one of Bus Eireann's new luxury double-deck commuter coaches, seen at Cavan Bus Station

LD208, one of Bus Eireann's new luxury double-deck commuter coaches, seen at Cavan Bus Station

Over the last few months Bus Eireann has been taking delivery of a fleet of 32 high specification double-deck commuter coaches, designed to provide extra capacity and comfort on medium-distance comuter runs to Dublin from counties Cavan and Meath. The buses, built by Berkhof on DAF chassis, are to three-axldesign to maximise capacity, and indeed seat more on the upper deck alone than the conventional single-deck coaches they are replacing.

But what are they like from the passenger point of view? Our editor took the 4 hour round trip to Cavan to experience the new coaches at work.

Visually, they are very stylish, and make an impression both in terms of design and sheer size. Bus Eireann have wisely decided to steer away from using them as mobile advertising hoardings as with traditional double-deckers, thus allowing the space between decks to be used to show off the company branding to maximum advantage.

The upper deck is bright and airy, with comfortable seating, and fully belted.  Overhead racks are provided throughout.

The upper deck is bright and airy, with comfortable seating, and fully belted. Overhead racks are provided throughout.

The front seats not only feature the best views, but you get cup-holders and the dash is designed for extra legroom

The front seats not only feature the best views, but you get cup-holders and the dash is designed for extra legroom

The seating is comfortable, even on a journey of more than 2 hours, and the belts are easy to use, and accomodate the largest of passengers without feeling cramped.

The front seat give you the real “King of the Road” experience, and unlike many double-deckers, do not suffer from limited legroom, as a special recess has been designed under the dash to give extra stretching room. The safety bar is well positioned below the eyeline, and is padded, and there are even cup-holder recesses in the dash. All the seats feature controls for recline angle, though unusually my front seat seemed to have some sort of built in vibrating bottom massager linked to the braking system – which made sudden stops a very interesting experience, though I am not sure that this is exactly what the manufacturer intended!

Being a double-decker, even the non-front seats gave a vasty enhanced view compared to the blurry hedgerows that is all that can be seen during a normal coach journey. Being able to see over the hedges and across the countryside is no small advantage, and makes a longer journey much more enjoyable. I know that Bus Eireann think in terms of capacity when buying these vehicles, but they should also consider the vastly enhanced journey experience that comes from greater vision for the passenger, and consider introducing these vehicles on a wider range of services.

Climate-wise, the coach was warm as toast, with cool air available via individual blowers if required. The noise level was very quiet, with the engine almost inaudible upstairs.

The vehicle also seemed very nippy, and had no difficulty keeping up with the other traffic on the N3, and will doubtless benefit from the abolition of the speed restriction on double-deck coaches that comes into effect from February 1st 2009.

All in all, a very positive experience, 10 out of 10 for style, 9 out of 10 for comfort, and the only thing missing is wifi.

More please!

More please!

09 deckers hit the streets

New 09-reg Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse VG34

New 09-reg Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse VG34

2009 registered cars may be thin on the ground, but thanks to an ongoing delivery of buses originally ordered way back at the end of 2007, Dublin Bus has a number of smart new 09-reg double-deckers on the streets in the first month of the year.

The new buses have seen the end of the 44-year practice of matching fleet and registration numbers, making identification of buses difficult for both enthusiasts and staff alike.

The company bas started to introduce new larger fleet number transfers front and rear, but as seen in this view of Summerhill’s new VG34, not all buses have received these yet.

Wright Gemini 2 launched at Euro Bus Expo

Wrightbus)

The new Wright Gemini 2 (photo: Wrightbus)

PRESS RELEASE

The first of a new generation of Double Deck bus – the Gemini 2 – that can be powered by both diesel and hybrid – electric drivelines has been unveiled by Wrightbus this week.

The Gemini 2 HEV on show at Euro Bus Expo is the first of an order of five hybrid-electric powered Double Deck buses which will enter service with Arriva in London this winter, with five of nine Gemini 2 orders from FirstGroup also destined for hybrid-powered operation in the capital.

The Wrightbus Gemini 2 has been developed as a modular concept, with the option of both Euro 5/EEV Diesel (DL) and Hybrid Electric (HEV) power, whilst at the same time being fully compliant with both TfL and provincial specifications.

Hybrid-powered buses are seen as an important way of further reducing emissions, which can add to pollution problems in densely populated cities such as London. With high oil prices now likely to be the norm, the potential fuel savings that can result from deployment of hybrid-powered vehicles means that the payback on the incremental capital cost is much quicker than was previously the case, making such vehicles a realistic economic proposition.

The Hybrid-Electric Version (HEV) of the new Gemini 2 has been developed following a long-term in-service evaluation with Arriva in London. The Series Hybrid Electric variant features Siemens ELFA® traction components, with energy provided by a Ford Puma 2.4 litre diesel engine.  The Diesel (DL) version of the new Gemini 2 features a 6.7 litre Cummins engine, with both variants offering the choice of ZF or Voith automatic transmission driving through a Spicer rear axle.

The new vehicle has been developed by the product development team in Ballymena lead by Product Development Director, Damian McGarry. A key objective was to develop a weight optimised vehicle which delivered excellent fuel economy.

For example, Wrightbus has also used its growing expertise and capability in LRTM (Light Resin Transfer Moulding) composite materials to extend the use of automotive quality panels on the new vehicle, enhancing fit and finish, as well as further reducing vehicle weight. Emission standards have been achieved without the need to fit a particulate trap, further reducing vehicle weight.

The resulting unladen weight of the new Gemini 2 is excellent, at 12,271kg and 12,075kg respectively for the HEV and DL versions to TfL specification, with the provincial specification DL version having a tare weight of 11,200kg (all weights stated are specification dependent).

Another major objective for the new bus has been to maximise seated passenger capacity, not just in the low floor area (where the new vehicle has ten seats) but throughout the entire vehicle.  With overall capacities of 87 (for HEV) and 91 (for DL) passengers in a two door bus to the latest London specification and 96 for the Gemini 2 DL to Provincial specification, the new Wrightbus Double Decker offers a class-leading proposition to bus operators in the Capital and other large cities.

Integral to the development of a modular driveline approach has been a new flat radiator design which sits 1.5m above ground, providing both improved engine cooling and quieter operation for passengers and other road users alike. The Wrightbus product development team has worked closely with chassis partner VDL on this and other aspects of chassis weight and layout optimisation.

A totally new drivers’ area has been created to deliver an efficient and comfortable place of work for the driver, featuring a Wrightbus-designed instrumentation panel with touch screen technology. An integrated telematics package is also the result of extensive development work by the Ballymena team.

With vehicle uptime of critical importance to bus operators, the new Wrightbus Gemini 2 will be fully supported by Customcare, a division of the Wright Group. Customcare is already highly experienced in supporting hybrid powered Wrightbus products in service, and have in place a mobile team of technicians who are experts in the specific requirements of hybrid-electric vehicles.

Speaking at the show, Group Managing Director Mark Nodder said “Double Decker buses are the mainstay of city bus operations in London as well as the large provincial cities, and have become a very important part of our company’s business.  Building on our experience of being first to make hybrid-electric technology a reality in city bus operations in the UK, we have been convinced of the need to offer a new vehicle which gives our customers the choice of either Euro 5/EEV diesel or hybrid electric drivelines, without changing the layout and specification of the vehicle.”

World Debut for Volvo Hybrid Double-deck

Volvo Bus has officially launched its new hybrid double-deck bus, the B5L, at the Euro Bus Expo show.

Volvo B5L Hybrid Double-deck Bus (Volvo Bus)

Volvo B5L Hybrid Double-deck Bus (Volvo Bus)

PRESS RELEASE

Volvo Bus is launching the latest generation of low environmental impact vehicles – the B5L Hybrid Double Deck Bus – at the Euro Bus Expo show in Birmingham UK.

The first of a batch of six Volvo Hybrid Double Deckers, takes centre stage on the Volvo stand at the Euro Bus Expo at the NEC. The advanced parallel hybrid technology on this vehicle, unique to the Volvo Group, offers potential fuel savings, air quality improvements and significant whole-life cost reductions in operation.

The six Volvo B5L Hybrid buses are due to enter service with Arriva London during the period December 2008 to January 2009 and will operate on Route 141, being based at Wood Green.

This new Volvo Hybrid will enter series production in the fourth Quarter of 2009 and deliveries of complete production double deck vehicles will commence early in 2010. There will be some early production vehicles on the road in 2009.

The chassis layout follows the same principles as the Volvo 7700 Hybrid, which was recently launched at the IAA in Hanover, with a rear offset driveline. The battery energy storage unit is installed under two of the seats in the lower saloon, just behind the front axle, to achieve the minimum intrusion into the gangway and to optimise the weight distribution.

The show vehicle features Gemini bodywork, from Wrightbus in Ballymena, which is already a familiar sight in double deck fleets across London. With an overall length of 10.4 metres, the vehicle offers 66 seats (45 upper saloon, 21 lower saloon) and space for up to 20 further passengers.

A Long Experience in Hybrid Development

The new Volvo B5L Double Deck is a testament to Volvo Buses long experience in hybrid development, which dates back to the early 1980’s, a timescale which also underlines Volvo’s commitment to its core value of Environmental Care. That long experience has been distilled into the refinements seen in this new concept, which has prioritised commercial viability.

Ever tougher environmental standards for buses, be it emissions or noise, combined with the uncertainties over fuel prices in the long term, mean that the time is now right for hybrids to enter the market in quantity. However, that can only happen if the product is a commercially viable proposition for the operator.

To ensure this, the Volvo Hybrid technology and components are shared across several Business Areas in the Volvo Group, in to order to achieve higher volumes: Volvo Trucks have recently announced a hybrid development and plans are well advanced at Volvo Construction Equipment.

“Irrespective of the environmental benefits, it is vital that hybrid technology is quickly seen to be a good investment for the operator, with savings in fuel and other costs paying for the additional costs of the driveline” says Steve Dewhurst, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland.

“Our development builds on the strengths of the Volvo Group and means that service support and parts availability will be to the standard of any Volvo product. That support will include leasing and contract maintenance packages as a matter of course”.

The Driveline Elements

The key elements of the Volvo Hybrid are:

•    D5E 4 cylinder 5 litre Volvo diesel engine to Euro 5 emissions level with SCR exhaust aftertreatment
•    Volvo ISAM Integrated Starter Alternator Motor electric machine to provide parallel operation of diesel and electric power
•    Volvo I-Shift 12 speed automatic transmission
•    Lithium-Ion Battery Energy Storage System, rated at 600 Volts, water cooled
•    Electrically-driven Air Compressor, Hydraulic Pumps and AC/Air Chill compressor

The chassis module is very similar to that of the existing Volvo B9TL Double Deck.  Many proven Volvo components can be identified from the front end through to the drive axle, driveline and rear suspension for maximum service commonality.

The Hybrid Vehicle Management System includes the software “brain” of the vehicle and this interfaces with the regular Volvo diagnostic functions.

The ISAM unit is integrated in the clutch housing between the diesel engine and the gearbox, this allows for combining the power inputs of both motors in the simplest way. In a parallel hybrid, the vehicle can be driven by both the diesel engine or the electric motor or any combination of the two.

This means that the diesel engine can be downsized from that of a conventional bus, and at the same time the electric motor can also be smaller, because it does not have to provide the maximum power level on its own. Combining the two sources provides the power needed to climb steeper hills or for maximum acceleration.

The strategy for managing the hybrid system prioritises fuel efficiency and therefore reduced emissions of carbon dioxide. At the same time, the range of gear ratios in the transmission means that the diesel engine can operate in its most efficient range more of the time.

It is also possible to operate in purely electric mode – at bus stops for example – to minimise local air quality emissions in sensitive areas: the bus can pull away from the bus stop in quiet electric mode and engage diesel power as the system requires for maintaining battery charge. Normal braking can drive the ISAM unit in alternator mode to achieve regenerative braking/energy recovery to charge the battery and this is another key step to reduce fuel consumption.

Driving the auxiliary systems with electric motors also saves energy because the load can be delivered when needed most – as with power steering where the most power is needed at low speeds so matching the demand avoids wasteful operation.

Thorough Development and Support

The Volvo parallel hybrid system has been under development for some years, as can be seen in the presentation of a development vehicle at Euro Bus Expo in 2006. During that period, single deck and double deck test buses have been undergoing a comprehensive development programme centred on Volvo’s Hällered test complex in Sweden.

The next step will be the in-service operation of six Double Deckers in London and a Single Deck bus in Sweden. As well as defining the best control strategies for the vehicles to deliver the best results, this operation will also give operators, drivers and maintenance staff the practical experience needed ahead of volume introduction.

The Arriva London vehicles will be taken care of through the Volvo Truck and Bus Centre at Enfield, as the hybrid package and much of the chassis will be on a Contract Maintenance agreement. In addition, Transport for London are supporting the programme.

The Potential Benefits

The Volvo Hybrid Concept should deliver significant savings in fuel consumption – potentially up to 30% – and corresponding reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas contributing to man-made global warming.The more effective use of the diesel engine will result in reduced emissions of NOx and Particulates, two key pollutants in urban areas.

The Hybrid bus will be quieter in operation because of the reduced use of the diesel engine. Passengers will also experience a smoother ride because of the characteristics of the electric motor and, in turn, service and mechanical maintenance demands should also be reduced because of the smoother operation.


Future Plans

Volvo Buses will be following the introduction of the hybrid system in Single and Double Deck buses with an articulated vehicle in the future.

Looking longer term, a parallel hybrid has the potential to also deliver fuel savings on intercity and express routes – although savings may not be as significant as on a citybus, the longer distances travelled in express services still result in significant fuel savings. There is therefore considerable potential for greater sales volumes in the future.

Speaking at the show, Steve Dewhurst said, “We see the new Volvo B5L Hybrid Double Deck as one of the most important developments in recent years. Whilst diesel-only powered buses are likely to continue to be the bedrock of bus fleets for many years to come, hybrid vehicle projects which can prove their commercial viability will be watched with great interest by operators in cities throughout the British Isles.”

Translink add to Volvo order-book

Volvo Bus have confirmed an order for 45 B7RLE single-deck buses with ADL Enviro 300 bodywork for Translink, as well as confirming current Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus double-deck orders.

Volvo Bus)

Volvo B7RLE ADL Enviro 300 (Photo: Volvo Bus)

PRESS RELEASE

Orders totalling more than 200 vehicles confirmed at this week’s Euro Bus Expo show have underlined the market-leading position of the current Volvo bus range in the British Isles.

Whilst the new Volvo B5L Hybrid Double Deck may have stolen the headlines at the show, the current Volvo bus line up – the Volvo B7RLE Single Deck and the Volvo B9TL Double Deck, which are now available with four and three body choices respectively – continue to rack up important orders, maintaining their positions as the market-leading products in their respective classes.

Volvo B7RLE – versatile, durable and economic

Volvo’s low entry single deck citybus, the B7RLE, is part of the B7R family – Volvo’s best selling chassis worldwide. Renowned for its versatility, economy, durability and reliability it’s easy to see why the B7RLE is a truly competitive, efficient chassis – ideal for any urban environment. Two examples of the Volvo B7RLE are on the Volvo stand at Euro Bus Expo.

The Volvo Wrightbus Eclipse Single Deck is now a mainstay of the FirstGroup fleet and the example featured – destined for service with First Leeds – has the tried and tested 7.1 litre Volvo D7E Euro 4 engine rated at 290hp coupled to the ZF 6 speed automatic gearbox.

The Wrightbus Eclipse bodywork features 44 seats and ACIS RTPI system, guide arm compatibility and ten camera CCTV system. A newly face lifted Eclipse 2 is also displayed on the Wrightbus stand, one of 10 Volvo B7RLEs poised to enter service with Lothian Buses.

Another long-standing Volvo customer, Transdev Blazefield, has ordered 19 Euro 5 compliant Volvo B7RLE Eclipse 2s for their Burnley & Pendle operation, whilst Warrington Borough Transport have ordered 12 similarly specified vehicles – their first of this combination – as part of their fleet upgrade programme, which are due to go into service on a variety of routes around the borough in June next year.

In addition to the 27 Volvo B7RLE Eclipses delivered in the summer to trentbarton for their Rainbow 5 service between Derby and Nottingham, a further 14 of the new Eclipse 2 bodied B7RLEs will be delivered in the New Year for their Calverton Link service running from Nottingham. GHA in Wrexham have also taken three of the Ballymena-bodied Volvo single decks.

A second Volvo B7RLE  is displayed on the stand, this time Euro 5 compliant and featuring the ADL Enviro 300 bodywork, which forms part of an order for 45 vehicles for Translink, It has 55 seats with 3&2 seating in the rear section.

The Volvo B7RLE is also available with body options from Plaxton in the guise of its Centro model and now, for the first time – Optare with its newly launched “Esteem” model.

Rotola plc has purchased 33 Volvo B7RLE single decks for use on its Diamond Bus Network in the Midlands, twenty-two of which feature the Plaxton Centro bodies and have gone into service on a number of key routes in the Black Country under the ‘Black Diamond’ brand. The remaining eleven B7RLEs have Wrightbus Eclipse bodywork and are entering service in partnership with Worcestershire County Council under the ‘Red Diamond’ brand.

Kent County Council
will be the first operator to put the new Volvo/Optare single deck combination into service with a total of six such vehicles. Whippet Coaches are hot on their heels, with three due to enter service on the Cambridge busway in 2009 – a further 10 Volvo B7RLEs with Wrightbus Eclipse bodies, operated by Stagecoach and fuelled by bio-diesel are set to join them.

Volvo B9TL – leader of its class

Over 500 Volvo B9TL Double Decks have been registered in the UK alone this year, and with body options available from Wrightbus, ADL and Optare further orders in the pipeline are likely to cement its leading position, both in the UK and Ireland.

The Isle of Man
will see their first ever new Volvo bus when 11 Wrightbus Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL Double Decks enter service on the island in early 2009.

Across the Irish Sea,  a batch of 10 B9TL Geminis are currently being delivered to Bus Eireann, whilst Dublin Bus is currently taking delivery of 50 Volvo B9TLs with ADL Enviro 400 bodywork, with a further 50 to follow, and their first ever Wrightbus double decks will enter service in the Irish capital before the year end.

London sighting tour operator Big Bus have recently taken delivery of 10 Volvo B9TL Double Decks with Optare Visionaire body work – three of which are open top, with the other seven “half top”. The Euro 5 compliant vehicles are being deployed on all three of the companies “hop-on hop-off” tour routes which take in many of the capital’s tourist sights.  A further order for 10 has been confirmed for delivery during 2009.

Speaking at the show, Volvo Bus Sales Director Phil Owen said, “Our product range and the comprehensive options available is attracting new customers as well as retaining existing Volvo operators. “We are committed to providing the best in customer service – from the initial quotation to the vehicle handover and support through the life of the vehicle, with an emphasis on being able to recommend the best driveline configuration for a particular application to maximise performance and optimise fuel return.”

He added, “Whether it’s product information, driver training, soft products or after sales service, we want Volvo customers to feel that they truly are getting the best.”

New Volvos for Ballincollig

Volvo Bus)

Ballincollig Coaches new Volvo B7R coaches (photo: Volvo Bus)

PRESS RELEASE

Ballincollig Coaches of Co Cork have just taken delivery of two Volvo B7R Sunsundeguis.

Purchased as part of a programme of fleet modernisation, the new coaches will be used for touring throughout Ireland and also into Scotland.

The family run firm had not bought Volvo for some years but were impressed by the B7R/ Sunsundegui combination. “It’s very stylish looking so helps to create the right impression; it’s very comfortable; and there’s great luggage space – all of which is perfect for our requirements,” explained Managing Director, Donal O’Callaghan. “Add to that the fact that the Euro/Sterling rate is so favourable to us at the moment, there was no excuse not to buy!”

Specified with Volvo’s D7C 7.1 litre common rail fuel injection engine rated at 290hp, combined with a ZF six-speed gearbox, the 53 seat coaches feature full double glazing, air conditioning, DVD player and reversing camera.

Ballincollig plan to use them on incoming tours which make up a large part of their business. “We shall be very busy over the next few months, particularly with French and American students requiring sightseeing tours, and these coaches really are ideal for the task,” said Donal.

Established 20 years ago, Ballincollig’s 15-strong fleet ranges from six seaters to full size executive coaches. The company runs its own programme of two to three day short breaks and seven to ten day tours. In addition, a variety of specialist breaks are arranged for incoming tourists, ranging from historic sightseeting and pilgrimage tours to short breaks for fishing, golf, gardening and art enthusiasts.

Wright ready for Eclipse 2 launch

The Northern Irish based bus builder Wrightbus is getting ready to launch the Eclipse 2, the latest version of its best-selling single-deck city bus model.

Neil Renilson, Chief Executive of Transport Edinburgh and Mark Nodder Wright Group Managing Director view the new Wrightbus Eclipse 2 prior to its debut at Euro Bus Expo 2008.

(LtoR) – Sam McLaren, Wrightbus Commercial Director: Neil Renilson, Chief Executive of Transport Edinburgh and Mark Nodder Wright Group Managing Director view the new Wrightbus Eclipse 2 prior to its debut at Euro Bus Expo 2008.

PRESS RELEASE

Neil Renilson, Chief Executive of Transport Edinburgh, visited the Wrightbus production facility at Ballymena today (Tuesday 21st October) to get a special preview of the new-look Wrightbus Eclipse 2 Single Deck bus.

The Eclipse 2 – featuring new styling and a host of other refinements – is the successor to what has become one of the leading single deck buses in the British Isles. Ten of these new-styled vehicles are currently in the final stages of production for Lothian Buses as part of an order for a total of 60 vehicles placed by the Edinburgh-based bus operator last year.

All ten of the new Wrightbus Eclipse 2 single deck buses have been built on Volvo B7RLE Euro 5 chassis and have been specified with 38 Lazzerini Practico seats, have a facility for a wheelchair including an electronic ramp and also feature a seven camera LOOK CCTV system.

The new single deck buses are an integral part of Lothian Buses’ on-going fleet renewal process, aimed at improving the city’s public transport services and making it completely wheelchair accessible by 2010. Once deliveries are completed, Wrightbus will have supplied Lothian with nearly 300 vehicles in over four years, and will account for almost a third of the entire Lothian fleet.

Speaking during his visit, Neil Renilson said “I am delighted today to get a first look at the new Eclipse 2, with the Eclipse 1 already a familiar sight on a number of Edinburgh key bus routes. The new styling and specification enhancements to the Eclipse 2 further add to its excellent reputation with passengers and drivers alike and are very much in line with our strategy of having one of the most modern fleets in operation anywhere in Britain today.”

Welcoming the Lothian Buses CEO to the Ballymena facility, Wright Group Managing Director Mark Nodder said, “We are thrilled that Neil has been able to take time out of his busy schedule to pay us a visit. Since placing their first order with us some four years ago, Lothian Buses has become an important and much valued customer of Wrightbus and I am delighted that Lothian will be first to take delivery of this new generation of Eclipse product.”

A Wrightbus Eclipse 2 Single Deck bus destined for service with Lothian Buses will be one of three vehicles to be exhibited by the Wright Group at next month’s Euro Expo Show 2008 in Birmingham.

World Debut for Wright’s Hybrid Streetcar

WORLDWIDE DEBUT FOR NORTHERN IRISH BUILT STREETCAR RTV

Wright Streetcar RTV (Wrightbus)

Wright Streetcar RTV (Wrightbus)

 

 

 

 

StreetCar RTV – new generation of Rapid Transit Vehicle from the Wright Group, makes its worldwide debut at the APTA Expo 2008 in San Diego California this week (5th – 8th October), in association with technology partner the ISE Corporation.

Exhibited in the stunning new livery of the “ACE Downtown Connector”, the 62ft (18.7m) long, 30 tonne GVW articulated Rapid Transit Vehicle (RTV) is the first of 50 such vehicles that have been commissioned by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada.

Wright Group’s StreetCar RTV is at the heart of a whole new initiative to attract existing commuters away from their cars, as well as provide fast and efficient transit for the high numbers of tourists who visit Las Vegas and the surrounding area. The ACE Downtown Connector rapid transit project is the first phase in an overall project to eventually provide a high speed transit connection from downtown Las Vegas, through the resort corridor.

A centrepiece worthy of any integrated Rapid Transit system, StreetCar RTV successfully transfers the key attributes and technologies of a light rail service onto the road. It has a distinctive light rail-like appearance, with a slanted front windscreen and large, seamless windows giving it a sleek, modern design. With three wide doorways facilitating easy access for all users, StreetCar RTV offers low floor boarding and level floors throughout for efficient passenger flow.

Powered by a state-of-the-art Hybrid Electric Drive System developed in conjunction with the ISE Corporation and Siemens, StreetCar RTV is the first Series Hybrid-configured articulated vehicle in the US, providing a highly fuel-efficient mode of transport with exceptionally low environmental impact.

StreetCar RTV is a development of the StreetCar concept successfully launched in the UK in 2005, with a specification customised to RTC of Southern Nevada’s exacting requirements. As such, it is unlike any other bus in operation. With a modular chassis, the Siemens (ISE) Electric Hybrid Drive System is based on a Cummins ISL engine and features water-cooled Nickel Metal Hydride batteries and also incorporates for the very first time in transit buses, highly efficient permanent magnetic technology which creates a highly efficient motor.

Incorporating a Carrier Avantac all-electric, modular air conditioning system, Streetcar RTV has an innovative vehicle packaging and layout, featuring three wide doors which allow unimpeded boarding and alighting, a sealed driver’s compartment, integrated telematics and Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI), WiFi as well as ambient lighting. Further innovations include two wheelchair positions, one of which is rearward facing in full compliance of legislation and three interior bike racks – improving the both the exterior aesthetics and aerodynamics of the vehicle.

 

Room for three bikes (Wightbus)

Room for three bikes (Wightbus)

 

The safety and security of the StreetCar RTV’s 104 passengers at maximum capacity (44 seated) is enhanced by a Panic button, with live video feed from CCTV cameras capable of being relayed both back to its operational base as well as the Local Police Department.

Speaking at the launch of the StreetCar RTV at San Diego, the Wright Group Managing Director Mark Nodder said, “Each element of the StreetCar RTV has been designed and engineered to set new standards in public transit. Taking a radically different and totally innovative approach to every aspect of the mode, it has challenged every aspect of the traditional concept of the bus.”

He added, “From its hybrid propulsion system, dramatic exterior styling, total rethinking of the driver’s workspace and the redefinition of the passenger experience, StreetCar has redefined the category from BRT – Bus Rapid Transit to RTV – Rapid Transit Vehicle”.

The first of a $55m contract for 50 vehicles for RTC of Southern Nevada’s ACE Downtown Connector system, StreetCar RTV is built at the Wright Group’s Ballymena production facility in Northern Ireland. As with all Wright Group products, StreetCar RTV has undergone an extensive programme of testing and proving to ensure that it can withstand the rigorous daily demands in even the most extreme operating environment or conditions. It is fully supported by the Wright Group’s Customcare organisation, which provides parts and technical support wherever a vehicle may be in operation.

Chief Executive of the ISE Corporation Rick Sander commented, “We are proud to play an integral part in this ground breaking project, which has seen many US corporations such as ourselves develop and apply innovative technologies to provide a whole new concept in passenger travel. As leaders in our field, we firmly believe that hybrid fuel system technology has huge potential in many market sectors in this country and beyond, now that it is a proven economic proposition.”