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VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

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VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby MotorOmnibus8562 » Tue May 14, 2019 6:09 pm

Australiasian Bus and Coach wrote:BREAKING: MARCOPOLO-OWNED Volgren has begun its move into zero-emission vehicle technology, starting its first ever electric bus production onto a BYD e-bus chassis, it’s reported recently.


Volgren has access to a range of electric bus technologies and types, including electric rigid, articulated and bi-articulated (rubber-tyred tram) buses, the company says.
Touted as Australia’s largest bus body builder, Volgren says its prototype will be completed by the middle of June, 2019, and will include 324kWh of batteries, enabling a range of more than 250 kilometres on a single charge.

According to the company, the depleted batteries will take 4-5 hours to fully replenish with the use of a charger, a system commonly known as overnight or depot charging.

Volgren Business Development manager Jon Tozer says the company has been investigating electric vehicles for more than five years and the prototype itself has been a full 12 months in the making.

"We’ve known for some time that the bus industry was about to go through its biggest transformation in three or four decades. And we wanted to approach this shift with the best information at our disposal. We wanted to understand the products, the technologies and the solutions available in the market before beginning our work in earnest.

"In the case of this first electric bus, we wanted to ensure that we built on a known quantity. We didn’t want to conduct a science experiment, or work with a conglomerate of part suppliers attempting to provide a solution. We wanted something that will work from the start."

COST MATTERS
Tozer says while the initial capital cost of the bus will be higher than a standard diesel, that’s not the full story.

"When you take into account the significant operation saving in maintenance and energy costs per kilometre - as well as the significant fall in the cost and increase in energy density of batteries over the last few years - we’re nearing the point where total cost of ownership will soon be the same as it is for a diesel, if it isn’t already."

And although the news of the prototype is just off the presses, the industry response has been positive, says Volgren.

"More operators and agencies are looking to zero emissions buses for the first time and, since announcing this build, we’ve been encouraged by the interest we’ve received from government and private operators."

"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 bodies. "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 electric buses."

PROVEN TECHNOLOGY
Tozer says thanks to its long-standing partnership with Swiss manufacturer Hess and other OEMs, Volgren has access to a range of electric bus technologies and types, including electric rigid, articulated and bi-articulated (rubber-tyred tram) buses. It also has access to a multitude of proven charge and battery technologies already in operation around the world.

"To further assist operators, Volgren has partnered with businesses that can provide infrastructure installation, grid connections and upgrades and funding and leasing models on the bus, batteries or infrastructure. We’re helping them close the loop as they shift from a diesel bus to an electric."

Tozer says the first bus will become available to the market in August after a month of testing, which will be undertaken by Volgren’s engineering department.

"We’re looking forward to the new chapter in the history of the Australian bus industry and being able to offer our customers the latest technology. Volgren is open to discussing in detail our project and future solutions available to market with operators."


Looks like Volgren is starting to build an electric bus.....
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby MotorOmnibus8562 » Fri May 17, 2019 7:12 am

Another news article:

[quote=''Renew Economy"]
Australian bus builder Volgren to produce its first all-electric vehicle

Michael Mazengarb 15 May 2019 0 Comments
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The Driven

Australian bus body manufacturer Volgren has commenced production of its first ever electric bus, as part of what the company hopes is a larger transition to zero-emissions transport.

The milestone is the culmination of a five-year development period for Volgren, which has sought to be pro-active in shifting to all electric buses, while wanting to ensure passengers enjoy a reliable service.



Volgren says it is Australia’s largest producer of bus bodies and has previously partnered with major chassis manufacturers including MAN, Volvo and Scania.

“We’ve known for some time that the bus industry was about to go through its biggest transformation in three or four decades. And we wanted to approach this shift with the best information at our disposal.” Volgren business development manager Jon Tozer said in a statement.

“We wanted to understand the products, the technologies and the solutions available in the market before beginning our work in earnest,”

Volgren will complete its first prototype electric bus in June, with an operating range of 250km. The prototype will be produced at Volgren’s Australian headquarters in Dandenong in Victoria.

The bus will be equipped with 324kWh of battery storage, that can be charged in four to five hours between routes upon returning to its depot.

The first bus will be ready for its first passengers in August, following a period of testing by Volgren engineers.

Due to the falling cost of battery technologies, Volgren believes the bus market is on the cusp of being cost competitive with existing diesel fuelled options.


While all electric buses still have higher up-front purchase costs, significantly lower operating costs, including reduced fuel costs, mean that electric buses will soon be cheaper over the full life of the vehicle, if not already.

This story was first published on our EV-focused sister site The Driven. Click there for the full story.[/quote]
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby lunchbox » Fri May 17, 2019 9:47 am

Hope it has a fully flat floor, there being no tailshaft or diff to warrant those stairs!
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby TA3001 » Fri May 17, 2019 1:09 pm

Is this all caps thread title really necessary?
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby tonyp » Fri May 17, 2019 1:41 pm

lunchbox wrote:Hope it has a fully flat floor, there being no tailshaft or diff to warrant those stairs!

There's still a driveshaft but on one side under the seats. It also needs a portal axle to be low floor.
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby MotorOmnibus8562 » Fri May 17, 2019 4:28 pm

TA3001 wrote:Is this all caps thread title really necessary?


Sorry, The title of the article on the website was like that :/
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby Tongans101 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:40 pm

tonyp wrote:
lunchbox wrote:Hope it has a fully flat floor, there being no tailshaft or diff to warrant those stairs!

There's still a driveshaft but on one side under the seats. It also needs a portal axle to be low floor.


It does not have a drive shaft. Its based on the BYD K9 chassis which has two motors both mounted on the rear Portal Axle Hubs. There will be no flat floor however as there are two battery packs mounted behind the rear axle. Similar to the Gemilang Bodied (BYD) Electric buses that were trialled in Canberra and currently running around Brisbane and Sydney Airports.
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby MotorOmnibus8562 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:36 am

I saw a photo of The bus on Facebook wearing Transdev logos
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby OLYMPIAN » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:26 pm

MotorOmnibus8562 wrote:I saw a photo of The bus on Facebook wearing Transdev logos

Hi are you able to tell which Facebook group was it?
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby MotorOmnibus8562 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:50 pm

I think it was one of the Victoria enthusiasts groups, I don’t remember which one it was....
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby Leyland B21 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:33 am

OLYMPIAN wrote:
MotorOmnibus8562 wrote:I saw a photo of The bus on Facebook wearing Transdev logos

Hi are you able to tell which Facebook group was it?
It's the Bus Enthusiasts Victoria group and yes the Bus is in trials with Transdev Melbourne

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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby tonyp » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:08 am

You'd have to join the group to see the photo. There seems to be nothing from Transdev, PTV or Volgren. All very secret compared to NSW where there's plenty of coverage. Maybe Transit Graphics or ABC will eventually come up with photos?
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby Tongans101 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:34 pm

tonyp wrote:You'd have to join the group to see the photo. There seems to be nothing from Transdev, PTV or Volgren. All very secret compared to NSW where there's plenty of coverage. Maybe Transit Graphics or ABC will eventually come up with photos?



Its a secret because the bus does not have DoTaRs Approval. The Chassis SARN is not updated for the larger Tyres and there is no IPA for a BYD chassis Variant. Only way it can be on the road is for an engineering trial for 12 months or through NHVR PBS system.
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby Mitch » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:14 pm

A quick search will find you a photo.

https://twitter.com/declanmartin75/stat ... 6199491584

Thanks,
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby tonyp » Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:49 am

Tongans101 wrote: Only way it can be on the road is for an engineering trial for 12 months or through NHVR PBS system.

Mitch wrote:A quick search will find you a photo.

https://twitter.com/declanmartin75/stat ... 6199491584

It seems to be on a public road here! ;)
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby Daniel » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:57 am

Tongans101 wrote:Its a secret because the bus does not have DoTaRs Approval. The Chassis SARN is not updated for the larger Tyres and there is no IPA for a BYD chassis Variant. Only way it can be on the road is for an engineering trial for 12 months or through NHVR PBS system.

It’s not registered, so perhaps they are awaiting the BYD approval to come through. The Volgren body SARN has been updated as at 7 August.
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby Bus Suggestions » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:29 pm

Australasian Bus and Coach: TAKING CHARGE – VOLGREN-BYD ELECTRIC BUS PROTOTYPE

A changing world means adaptation is crucial when it comes to staying ahead. In a realm of rapidly advancing bus manufacturing, Volgren takes charge and levels up in the game with its new BYD-chassis prototype electric bus.

“The challenge in moving forward will be the rationalisation and introduction of large-scale EV fleets and the management of charging infrastructure to accommodate large volumes of vehicles,” Jim Jones, Volgren’s commercial manager, said.
Fight or flight? It’s one of those things where we think we know which one we’d choose, but often it’s only when put into certain scenarios do we ever really find out which one makes us move.

For many, the flight doesn’t even really need to be the running away from something; just a propensity to complacently stay as is and keep doing what one does is more than enough to kill off success, a needed change, or even a dream. Yet for those who choose to fight – or to take up the challenge before the first unprovoked knock-out blow is landed – that’s just proper old-school, street-survival nous.

Volgren anticipated such a move – and it’s now produced its own electric bus body purpose built for it.



Constructed as a prototype on a BYD e-bus chassis, it’s allowed the Marcopolo-owned company to take a big step forward into a brave new electric world. An era where body weight and materials used may prove even more crucial as bus manufacturers – and, in turn, operators – strive to put as least drain and strain on an e-bus’s batteries as possible. And every bit counts, after all. The kilowatts, the pounds, the distances possible, the noise reduction, the pollution and carbon footprint, the journey’s comfortability, the ergonomics – the lot!

It is all tied into where the bus game is now; what operators and passengers are coming to expect in the modern interpretation of public transport travel – and if not now then in a fast-approaching future it soon will be.

Anticipating where a large chunk of its customer base is probably heading, in terms of types of buses needed for future fleets to meet ever-tightening governmental laws and restrictions, as the largest Australian bus body builder it was time to move with the times – not get left behind by them. Not a whole departure, mind you … but a discerningly smart enough move nonetheless.

SAW IT COMING
In July, 2019, Volgren completed the prototype of its first ever pure-electric bus, a product launch the company is describing as its most significant since it introduced the Optimus route bus in 2013.

The 12.2-metre vehicle is built on a BYD K9 electric bus chassis and features 324-kilowatt hours of battery capacity. It’s capable of travelling up to 300 kilometres on a single charge and will carry a total of 61 passengers; 39 seats and 22 standees, the company states.

Volgren has been investigating electric technology for more than five years and the prototype alone has involved 12 months of planning, research and engineering problem-solving, as well as partnership-building and discussion with BYD – not to mention the build itself.

Yet Michael Kearney, Volgren’s product engineering manager, says the wait has been worth it.

"All tests conducted on the vehicle were extremely successful. [It] has been extremely popular with all who have driven it," Kearney said.

"The instantaneous provision of torque ensures outstanding performance, while the absence of a transmission ensures a smooth, continuous ride through all speeds."

The new bus will provide an enjoyable experience for passengers, as well as drivers. And even those who aren’t using the bus will benefit from one benefit in particular: its comparatively silent running.

"The extremely quiet interior is also obviously evident. Interior and exterior noise testing demonstrated the vehicle to be substantially advantaged when compared with a diesel bus," Kearney explained.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING
There is a great deal of pride at Volgren that its first pure-electric vehicle body was not a brand new design, but a modified Optimus.

That’s not to say, however, that this project was merely a matter of Volgren placing its flagship product over BYD’s and getting the wiring right. Kearney explains that the electric vehicle body Volgren developed required a number of new parts, among them "...new moulded solutions for interior finish and fitout", as well as "...the introduction of a roof-treatment package designed to better integrate the roof-mounted EV equipment into the vehicle".

To understand how Volgren ensured these components – and the bus as a whole – worked precisely as it needed to, it’s best to go back to 2018.

"We began with some feasibility studies and reviews in early 2018, assessing the product layout, compliance with Australian Design Rules and other regulations, suitability for Australian customer specification and developing a preliminary understanding of the high-voltage systems and their integration," Kearney said.

In June of that year the company sent two design engineers to China to attend ‘familiarisation training’ with BYD.

"This process also included a review of issues elicited through the feasibility study and the provision of design and product information from BYD to enable commencement of detailed design."

Kearney says that for assistance with development of the aesthetic roof treatment they turned to Monash University’s Mobility Design Lab. It was a partnership Volgren knew it could count on, having worked with Monash University in the development of the Optimus Route Bus body earlier this decade.

PRODUCTION STARTS
Jim Jones, Volgren’s commercial manager, says he’s delighted by the relationship the company has struck with BYD. He says it offered "fantastic support" and was pleased that the Chinese company, like so many others who tested the prototype, gave it a ringing endorsement.

"BYD have been particularly impressed with the final result and we couldn’t have achieved that without our unparalleled design capability and flexibility. Yet this was no experiment for the team; it was just a case of good planning, design and execution," Jones said.

It was also a case of not needing to start completely from scratch. Volgren’s experience with non-diesel vehicles meant its engineers had skills and knowledge pertinent to design elements that proved critical to the electric vehicle build. BYD’s high-voltage system was one prominent example.

Another was roof loads. Kearney says body structures for hybrid (as well as compressed natural gas) vehicles, both of which Volgren has worked on, need to accommodate extra roof loads. Familiarity with this engineering concept stood them in good stead.

"We put particular thought into this design; we focussed on providing a high-strength, lightweight solution.

"Volgren’s patented Co-Bolt aluminium body solution provides designers with efficient and effective modular structural solutions. That enabled us to design an elegant, uncomplicated body structure for the electric vehicle."

The roof load challenge is important not just because it relates to perhaps the electric vehicle’s most indispensable asset – its battery – but because that asset inevitably (and for the foreseeable future) adds weight to a bus that simply isn’t there for a diesel.

"Road regulations restrict the gross vehicle mass at which a bus can operate," Kearney said.

"The challenge with current battery electric vehicles is the low energy density – we talk about kilowatt hours-per-kilogram or joules-per-kilogram – of energy storage systems (ESS) or batteries in comparison to diesel fuel. The result is a vehicle operating range that is intrinsically linked with vehicle mass."

WHERE TO NOW?
And here is one of the great hurdles holding Australia back as far as electric bus adoption goes: concern about infrastructure costs.

"Whilst there is a lot of excitement in the industry regarding zero emission buses, the reaction so far [to Volgren’s bus] has been cautious and methodical," admitted Jones.

"We are currently seeing a learning, fact- and information-finding approach. Not only regarding the technology available, but also how to best apply it and support it. The infrastructure around electric vehicles is a significant consideration."

Jones says the prototype has garnered a great deal of curiosity, but to date it has been limited to "expressions of interest and trial applications". He feels that may change as operators and governments start to delve more deeply into exactly what the very latest technology and products in the pure-electric field can offer.

"Getting the knowledge accurate and up to date on what is available is critical. Then it’s a matter of sorting out the claims from the reality."

"Operators need to find the right application for not only the vehicles but the infrastructure, to ensure any adoption is successful and viable. We need to do the research and make fact-based decisions," explained.

WELL-FOUNDED OPTIMISM
"The industry as a whole is now clearly cognisant of the availability of electric buses worldwide and recognises that this is the long-term future for Australian public transport. A number of trials are being planned or conducted throughout Australia and Volgren is ensuring that we are in a position to support bus operators throughout Australia in such trials," Jones said.

"The challenge in moving forward will be the rationalisation and introduction of large-scale EV fleets and the management of charging infrastructure to accommodate large volumes of vehicles," he added.

For now, in Australia at least, that large-scale procurement seems a little way off, but Volgren has taken an important first step for the Australian bus market.

And the company’s patience has paid off.

"The prototype has exceeded all expectations," Jones said.

"The execution of the design by our highly skilled Australian manufacturing team, with the support of our local component suppliers, has meant we nailed it."

SPECS
MAKE: Volgren

MODEL: Optimus electric

POWER: BYD K9 electric bus chassis with 16x BYD lithium ion phosphate (LFP) batteries, 2x BYD AC synchronous in-hub motors; Power - 300kW (2x 150kW), Torque – 1,100Nm (2x 550Nm), Top Speed – 90km/h

AXLES: ZF front, BYD rear

MISC.: BYD battery coolers, regenerative braking system, electric power steering, electric air compressor, BYD A/C charging standard - 80kW (380V/400V, AC, 3 Phase)

BODY ANCILLIARIES: Air-con – Thermo King E-1200 full electric heat-cool air conditioning; Seats – New City Light passenger seats from NB Trimming; Doors – electric saloon doors from Ventura Door Systems; rapid-sliding plug door to rear; TS155 compliant safety system; Safety – 2x Kline Fire fire-suppression system, SensaTyre tyre pressure and temperature monitoring system from Tyre Checkers, Fleet Safe Mobileye lane departure and accident avoidance system; Communications – Netcom NTC400 Wi-Fi system; Mobitec Consat passenger information system

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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby tonyp » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:56 pm

Great stuff thanks Bus Suggestions. I've already seen a photo of that lurid interior. I hope they will be handing out monochrome glasses to anybody riding the bus!

As usual, the drawing showing that empty space under the rear gangway begs the question of what's under there and why it can't be low-floor.

There's a bit of a seat loss in these electric buses due to that big cabinet at the back taking out a row of seats. That's why I think they do best as standee buses doing intense, shorter distance high-turnover work (with a double-leaf centre door of course). I hope Volgren has preserved its typical decent seat pitch (unlike Yutong).

Let's hope it's not going to be a dog of a bus, being on a K9 chassis. :shock:
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Re: Volgren Starts Its First Electric Bus Build: BYD Chassis

Postby Linto63 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:22 pm

When in the UK a few months ago, where bus weights are included as part of the legal signwriting, noticed how much heavier electrics are than their diesel equivalents. Alexander Dennis, who are the largest builder in England, build its Enviro200 single deck body on a number of chassis. In its 31 seat + 1 wheelchair for, as an integral bus it weighs 7.8-8.0 tonnes, yet when fitted to a BYD chassis with the same capacity comes in at 11.9-12.0 tonnes. By way of comparison, 75 seat double decks come it at about 11 tonnes.

The weight quoted is the unladen weight which in theory means the vehicle has no fluids, fuel, water or oil when taken, although I would think it unlikely that the radiator and oil tank is drained before it is weighed and there is probably a bit of diesel on board. So in service a couple of hundred kilograms would be added when the fuel tank is filled, but even allowing for that, still a fair weight disparity.
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby moa999 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:06 pm

Same as in electric cars. Your Tesla Model3 battery pack (which is the most effeciency in kWh/kg) is 500kg so not a surprise its a few tonnes in a bus.

The Tesla Semi truck is expect to have a 5-6 tonne battery.
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby Tongans101 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:34 pm

tonyp wrote:Great stuff thanks Bus Suggestions. I've already seen a photo of that lurid interior. I hope they will be handing out monochrome glasses to anybody riding the bus!

As usual, the drawing showing that empty space under the rear gangway begs the question of what's under there and why it can't be low-floor.

There's a bit of a seat loss in these electric buses due to that big cabinet at the back taking out a row of seats. That's why I think they do best as standee buses doing intense, shorter distance high-turnover work (with a double-leaf centre door of course). I hope Volgren has preserved its typical decent seat pitch (unlike Yutong).

Let's hope it's not going to be a dog of a bus, being on a K9 chassis. :shock:


I think the interior is great. There should be more brave colours being used to brighten up the buses rather than the old fashioned, boring, dull, decrepit stuff around at the moment. The wood effect flooring is good too, there's been some good work done in various countries and its been found that type of interior reduces vandalism.

There is no empty space under the rear gangway!! directly behind the rear wheels are big batteries. In-between the wheels in the gangway are some air system components, electrical components, fire suppression components plus some other items. By all accounts the K9 chassis is operating very well whether it has a Gemilang Australia body or a Volgren body and they operate well in Europe too with the ADL E200 body on it.
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby Bus Suggestions » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:10 am

I'll be honest here, whoever ordered that tone of blue for the poles should really rethink their colour palette. Poles, IMO should really only be plain metal silver-grey or painted yellow, although the orange for the Tokyo Metro Government isn't too bad. Why that type of seat, I don't know but it's... ok. The seat fabric colours and design are nice. Why wood-panel-looking flooring on a citybus? I can understand it on a luxury-ish coach but an urban commuter bus should just use the 'standard' flooring, but in the end, it's all up to the operator... or is it? This is a Volgren prototype, so wouldn't this be all up to Volgren? Or is there an actual planned future for this bus, going to an operator with such lurid design choices?
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby TA3001 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:01 pm

I'll admit that it looks way better than any **ste**h interior! It would be great if we could have some Volgrens in Adelaide instead of 400+ poorly built rotboxes!
Last edited by TA3001 on Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VOLGREN STARTS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC BUS BUILD: BYD CHASSIS

Postby tonyp » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:51 am

Tongans101 wrote: its been found that type of interior reduces vandalism.

Maybe that's because it has been pre-vandalised! :lol:

Seriously, I think the reason for the different colour seats is colour-coding to delineate the accessible seats from the non-accessible seats. That in itself highlights the issue with the high floor at the back. BYD sells a low-floor chassis in Europe, I've seen photos of them. They have to, otherwise they wouldn't get a foothold in the market which has higher expectations than here.

While I can accept the disruption to the gangway level caused by a need (whether legitimate or otherwise) to put additional batteries under the floor, I don't accept that it's necessary to put other components under the rear gangway. The Europeans have managed to avoid doing so for more than 25 years now and, more recently, the Yutong E12 appears to demonstrate that we are quirky in Australia as it's low floor everywhere else in the world, but the Australian demonstrators are low entry and it doesn't seem to be down to batteries. It's not a RHD thing either as the ones running in UK have a fully low floor. Operators and agencies have lower expectations here, being not so focussed on functional efficiency as a mass transit vehicle and passenger-friendliness or accessibility (grudging minimum standard for the latter).

I was reading some discussion recently in the USA about why they don't have low-floor buses and the very same issues were mentioned - the agencies and operators are unconcerned about it so the manufacturers don't do it. I don't blame the manufacturers, it's the transit operating industry that has poor standards.
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