Volgren has become the first Australian manufacturer in the country to successfully deliver a bus body on the new Euro 6 Volvo B5LH Hybrid.
Designed and engineered in partnership with Volvo Australia, the completed prototype is the first of eight Euro 6 Hybrids that will be delivered to longstanding customer La Trobe Valley Bus Lines.
Michael Kearney, Volgren’s Product Engineering Manager, said the completed prototype breaks new ground in bus body design and manufacturing assembly processes.
“From very early on we knew this wasn’t going to be your average build.”
“Our engineering team worked closely with the Volvo development team based in Sweden; sharing design concepts and refining the design of both the body and chassis,” Kearney said.
These meetings continued weekly all the way through to completion of the prototype unit, making certain that each stage of the design was validated and complied with Australian Design Rules.
“The design and construction of the Euro 6 Hybrid bus is quite different [to a traditional bus], with high voltage battery packs, radiator, air compressor and associated equipment all mounted in the roof,” Kearney explained.
With the majority of Hybrid components in the roof, those responsible for engineering, manufacturing and production had to rethink the assembly line. In fact, Kearney said, innovative changes were developed to accommodate the new build process to enable the Euro 6 Hybrid to fit within the factory processes normally dedicated to the assembly of diesel buses.
Kearney said the build for the Euro 6 was an exciting challenge for Volgren’s engineering and production teams, at a time when the industry appears to be on the verge of a significant transformation.
“Environmentally friendly vehicles are becoming an ever-increasing focus for society, and products such as the Euro 6 hybrid place us in a great position to support the bus industry in their realisation, and pursuit to save up to 40% in fuel, and cut emissions by half.”
That’s a sentiment supported by a recent order of 50 Hybrids for CDC in Victoria, a tipping point moment Volgren CEO Peter Dale has seen coming.
“We’ve long held the view that the next five to ten years will bring about more change than the bus industry has undergone in the last 30 years. We’re seeing that change all across the world. And now it’s starting in Australia and being led by forward thinking bus operators such as Latrobe Valley Bus Lines and CDC Victoria,” Dale said.
“Volgren has always specialised in the design, development and application of new technologies. We’ve introduced many revolutionary bus solutions to the market – starting with aluminium. We pride ourselves in 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 the Euro 6 Hybrid.”