Busworld Preview: Clean transport future

Busworld 2023 comes after the 2021 event was cancelled due to COVID concerns Busworld 2023 comes after the 2021 event was cancelled due to COVID concerns (Photo: Busworld)

Busworld 2023 marks the return of the popular biennial event, after the 2021 trade fair was cancelled due to COVID concerns. Numbers from the 2019 show were encouraging, with almost 40,000 visitors from 143 countries gathering in Brussels to interact with 511 companies and 309 display vehicles.

Billed as ‘the largest bus- and coach-only B2B exhibition in the world’, Busworld serves as a platform for the latest launches from bus, coach and minibus manufacturers. In 2019, OEMs from 37 countries presented their latest vehicles at the Brussels expo; the top three countries represented were Turkey, Germany and China. In addition, the show hosts a series of body builders and component suppliers.

Busworld 2023 will also include a series of market-specific presentations, covering such topics as Driver Safety, Digital Mobility Solutions and the Future of Coach Tourism. There is also a round table looking at problems related to driver shortages. These events are free of charge, while a ticketed ZEB (Zero Emissions Bus) Conference will run concurrently with the show.

Volvo 9900 took the Grand Award Coach prize in 2019 Volvo 9900 took the Grand Award Coach prize in 2019 (Photo: Volvo Buses)

Presentations will also be made to the winners of the Busworld Europe Vehicle Awards. In 2019, the Van Hool Exqui.City 18 Fuel Cell – Pau Design took the Grand Award Bus prize, while the Volvo 9900 claimed the Grand Award Coach. This year, exhibitors have been invited to enter a new category, the Busworld Europe Digital Awards which, as the name suggests, will feature related systems from digital solutions providers.

At this year’s awards, finalists in the bus category include:

Anadolu Isuzu CitiVolt 12m

Arthur H2 Bus 12 m

Ebusco 3.0 12 m

Higher Fencer F1 Integral EV

Iveco by Heuliez E-Way, MCV C127 EV

Mercedes-Benz eCitaro

Temsa LD SB E

Van Hool ExquiCity (induction)

VDL Citea

Yutong U18

Zhongtong N12.

What to see

While the hydrogen-powered Van Hool award winner in 2019 previewed the general direction of technology development, four years later virtually all OEMs taking part in Busworld 2023 will be showing models featuring low- or zero-emission powertrains. These models can help transit authorities reduce inner city air pollution levels, while the quieter powertrains allow operators to offer improved passenger comfort.

Solaris Bus & Coach, now part of the CAF Group, has its headquarters in Bolechowo-Osiedle, near Poznan. The Polish OEM reports that based on 2022 figures it holds an 11.2% share of the European market for zero-emission (electric and hydrogen) buses. In Hall 5, Stand 502, the company will present the new Urbino 18 articulated model.

Electric and hydrogen versions of the Urbino 18 will be on show. The electric version features a new drivetrain architecture using two drive axles which incorporate four 125 kW motors. Energy is supplied from the new Solaris High Energy battery packs. Mounted on the roof, these have a total capacity in excess of 550 kWh. The packs can be recharged at the depot, or they can take power via a pantograph system.

The model’s articulated body is said to make driving easier on demanding routes, while the high power output is ideal for hilly terrain.

Solaris Urbino 18 electric Solaris Urbino 18 electric (Photo: Solaris Bus & Coach)

Another entry to the zero-emissions bus market set to be displayed at the upcoming trade show is the Safra HyCity; on display in Hall 9, Stand 955, the new model range will replace the out-going Businova lineup.

The HyCity bus is the product of a development programme dating back to 2011. While the French OEM has released few specific details about the new entry, a key feature is the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. In addition to emissions-free operation over an estimated 350 km, this allows the 12-metre, three-door vehicle to have a fully-flat floor.

A response to customers looking to setup ‘hydrogen ecosystems’, Safra reports that it has already received orders for about 20 vehicles. The company will now look to extend production space and increase workforce numbers to support additional volumes.

Batteries and engines

Supporting the Mobility of Tomorrow, in Hall 4, Stand 424, powertrain manufacturer FPT Industrial will highlight three new powertrain products.

These include the eBS37 EVO, a 37 kWh battery pack intended for use with minibuses. The packs have an energy density of up to 140 Wh/kg and up to an eight-year warranty. The second new entry is the new eBM5, the first battery management system from FPT.

The packs were produced in partnership with Reefilla, a Turin-based startup offering the predictive mobile charging service for commercial fleets and private users. eBS37 batteries no longer suitable for traction applications will be delivered to Reefilla, which will recover modules and more than 50% of internal components. These will be used in mobile power banks for recharging electric vehicles.

FPT Industrial will also show the Euro 6 Step E-compliant N67 NG engine, said to feature best-in-class performance capabilities including delivery of up to 285 hp and 1250 Nm of torque. The natural gas engine also reduces CO2 emissions by up to 15% versus equivalent diesel engines, while multipoint stoichiometric combustion helps to reduce fuel consumption and engine noise.

Green production

Under the banner headline ‘Experience tomorrow’s mobility, today’, Dutch company VDL Bus & Coach will offer more details about its newly energy-neutral plant and zero-emissions models at Busworld 2023. At Busworld, VDL can be found in Hall 6, Stand 605.

Located in Roeselare, Belgium, the plant is a part of the company’s sustainable mobility strategy, which includes a full lifecycle assessment of finished vehicles. The refurbished plant now features a series of green energy initiatives, including a roof-mounted solar panel array, underfloor heating and ‘green’ roofs.

VDL Citea LF-122 VDL Citea LF-122 (Photo: VDL Bus & Coach)

Already a finalist in the Bus award category at Busworld 2023, the new VDL Citea LF-122 is already rolling off the line at Roeselare. First shown in 2022 at the InnoTrans show in Berlin, Germany, the 12.2 metre model features an all-new platform and electric drivetrain.

The standard drive uses a floor-mounted 306 kW NMC (lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide) battery pack mounted in the floor (max capacity is 490 kWh). AxTrax AVE electric axle motors are from ZF.

With a maximum capacity of 110 passengers, the model further features a single-piece side panel. This helps to reduce vibration and related noise, improving the passenger experience.

Looking forward, the company will also show its VDL Futura platform, a showcase for the technology which could feature on future long-distance and intercity transport.

Supply side

In addition to OEMs, a series of suppliers will be showing their latest introductions at Busworld 2023. Based in the Netherlands, Ventura Systems (Hall 6, Stand 628) delivers bus and coach door and access systems to a series of OEMs, including Scania, Heuliez Bus, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Bus.

At the upcoming trade show, the company will be displaying a series of its latest products from its portfolio, including rapid sliding doors, plug sliding doors, inward gliding doors and wheelchair ramps.

Brussels Expo Brussels Expo (Photo: Busworld)

Door systems from Ventura feature on about 360 new electric buses scheduled to be launched into service over 2023 in Oslo, Norway. These include 183 Solaris Urbino 18.75 m electric buses, which in total incorporate about 730 Ventura door systems. Many of these are plug door systems which use the company’s LED passenger communication system, integrated lighting strips which show red or green to highlight passenger boarding status.

Busworld 2023 will be held at the Brussels Expo from October 7 to 12.


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