THE REGION IS THE SECOND MARKET FOR eBUSES IN THE WORLD
Colombiabus newsroom – William Marroquín
The electrification of commercial vehicles, especially for passenger transport, could gain a new dimension throughout Latin America, anticipating the transformation processes in technologies aimed at mass mobilization. The change must happen quickly because the region is, in terms of production, the world’s second-largest market, with around 55,000 buses a year, behind only China, where 200,000 units are produced a year.
It is also important to mention that of those 350 vehicles that roll in the South American giant, 302 are trolleybuses and the majority are old. Only 48 are battery powered. It is true that, from the middle of last year to the present, several new initiatives for 100% electric and gas buses were launched, but it is still very little, mainly because these projects are for road transport or industrial chartering and not for the collective urban and in large centers.
This importance in terms of world production is causing the main international organizations and manufacturers to focus their attention on sustainable mobility projects in different countries and anticipate the introduction of clean technologies, which will benefit the whole of society. Countries like Brazil where, despite being the largest bus manufacturer in Latin America and representing approximately half of the total volume, there is a lag in the application of clean technologies. Today, Brazil is only the fourth country on the continent in number of registered clean technology buses, with 350 vehicles. It is behind Chile, with about 820 buses, Colombia, with 590, and Mexico, with 410 units.
This boost in the electrification and adoption of clean technologies, such as gas, among others, was highlighted in the launch, last September, of Busworld Latin America, the main business event in the passenger land transport sector, which for the first time Once, it will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2022, bringing together the main manufacturers and companies of the continent.
Latin America accounts for 17% of global volume and has become the world’s second-largest market for land transportation. “This growth must continue. We believe that buses are the key to solving mobility problems around the world ”, points out Vincent Dewaele, CEO of Busworld International. For the executive, the holding of the event for the first time in Argentina reinforces the objective of bringing together the entire world community of passenger land transport and not only bus manufacturers, suppliers and service providers. “The holding of seminars, knowledge exchange initiatives and the presentation of new technologies in vehicles will allow the exchange of experiences with other more developed countries to ensure efficient, sustainable and quality transportation for all in Latin America,” he emphasized.
PRODUCTIVE DEVELOPMENT SEEKS TO REACTIVATE TRANSPORTATION
Colombiabus newsroom – William Marroquín / Gobierno de Argentina
The Ministry of Productive Development and the Banco de la Nación Argentina launched a financing line with a discounted interest rate for the purchase of medium and long-distance buses manufactured in the country. The objective of the line is to accompany the reactivation of companies that offer transport and tourism services, and to further contribute to strengthening the local bus manufacturing industry.
The line for the renewal of the medium and long-distance bus fleet will offer credits of up to $50 million for small and medium-sized companies (up to USD500,000 per company) and a maximum of $250 million for large companies (2.5 million dollars per company), with a payment term of 36 months, a 6-month grace period and a discounted interest rate of 22% for SMEs and 24% for large companies.
The discounted interest rate seeks to improve access and credit conditions for small and medium-sized companies, so that they can finance their investment and working capital needs at competitive interest rates. The Secretariat of Entrepreneurs and SMEs awards credit quotas to Financial Entities through bids or specific agreements.
Entrepreneurs can process the credit in any of the banks participating in the operation, who carry out the credit analysis of the company and in case of qualifying as a credit subject, they grant loans at a discounted rate, which allows them a reduction of points in accordance with the financial conditions of the line. It is practically the same operating model that development entities such as Bancóldex or the BNDES of Brazil apply in Colombia.
The measure is carried out thanks to the contribution of the Banco de la Nación Argentina and the Ministry of Productive Development through the National Fund for Productive Development (FONDEP), which accompanies the financing by subsidizing the rate provided by the financial entity. The tool seeks to boost the production of the national manufacturers of bodies of these buses, and update the fleet of this type of vehicles.
Argentine SMEs, manufacturers of medium and long-distance bus bodies, are among the sectors most affected during the economic crisis that unleashed the coronavirus pandemic. These activities, which have begun to recover thanks to the progress of the vaccination campaign and the launch of initiatives such as the Pre-Trip, are the main demanders of medium and long-distance buses.
Given the growth in tourist activity and the aging of the bus fleet during the last two years, the financing line will help boost the production of the national manufacturers of these bus bodies, and update the fleet of this type of vehicles.
About 65 years have passed, since a rear-end front-engine chassis (tromp on type) went out of production at the Mercedes-Benz plant in São Bernardo do Campo (State of São Paulo). Since then, the brand has focused on offering transportation solutions that run on streets, avenues and highways in Brazil and Latin America, with the most complete line, from minibuses to large buses.
Its outstanding pioneering position led the brand to become a leader in the sale of buses in the national market, with an emphasis also on exports to Latin American countries and other continents. Currently, it is the largest manufacturer in the sector in Brazil, being Daimler’s World Competence Center for the development of Mercedes-Benz bus chassis. Chassis are also sent from the plant to markets such as Africa and Asia.
The brand offers customers the most complete line of buses in the Brazilian market, consisting of LO and OF models with front engine, OH family and O 500 with rear engine. They are micro, conventional buses, standard, super standard, articulated and super articulated, which translate into solutions for all the demands of urban public transport. While for the road, models of short, medium and long distances are available for both the road and rental segments, with more than 500,000 units sold throughout the history of the plant.
Reference in active safety
New technologies advance and the brand has increasingly become a market reference in active safety for road buses. For 2018, the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system was introduced, available on the O500 series buses (RS, RSD and RSDD). Using sensors at the front, the adaptive autopilot helps the driver keep the bus at a safe distance from the vehicle in front. In an extreme emergency situation, if the driver does not react, the system acts, automatically braking the vehicle to avoid the impact.
O 500 road buses equipped with the Active Safety Package also include AEBS (Automatic Emergency Braking System), LDWS (Lane Warning System), TPMS (Tire Pressure and Temperature Monitoring System), hill start, retarder, auxiliary engine brake, suspension with anti-tip system, ABS, traction control, EBS (electronic brake system), electronically controlled air suspension, ESP (electronic stability control), steering rear axle (for versions 6X2 and 8X2) that focuses on greater stability, disc brakes and power mode, a feature that offers more safety when overtaking.
Also focused on offering solutions for bus users, Mercedes-Benz has a team specialized in massive urban public transport systems, such as BRT, lanes and dedicated lanes. The Company thus has extensive knowledge to propose and discuss solutions to the demands of bus mobility, working together with different areas of society.
As a Daimler Group company, Mercedes-Benz do Brazil has all the knowledge to work with electromobility in Latin America and is prepared to provide an appropriate solution to the reality of each country. This will happen at the right time, considering the technological, economic and commercial viability, the partnership with the bodybuilders and the support in terms of infrastructure for all customers.
Colombiabus newsroom – Charlie Rodríguez/Joseba Mendoza
The renewal of public transport vehicles in the Colombian capital continues, and its citizens are experiencing the most important incorporation of vehicles in its history. It has been two years when bi-articulated, articulated, gas standards, electric buses and midibuses of various types have been incorporated into the ranks of the main passenger transport operators in Bogotá.
This time, the turn is for the zonal component, which receives 110 new units of the Marcopolo New Senior 600 urban model, mounted on the Mercedes-Benz Of917 chassis, capable of carrying up to 50 passengers inside between sitting and standing. New vehicles that will facilitate the movement of passengers in the most remote parts of the Colombian capital, thanks to their compact dimensions that allow them to turn with more solvency in the narrow streets of the city’s neighborhoods.
A TESTED AND PROVEN MODEL
The forward door midibuses became an industrial trend during the early 2010s. Although Marcopolo had in his portfolio the successful Senior model, suitable for the bodywork of front engine chassis, the formal configuration of the same, having an aerodynamic front glass, it did not quite fit the new trend of midibus configuration, with the access ahead of the front axle. In response, they presented the luxurious Audace model, a derivation of the Brazilian model of the same name, incorporating luxury finishes and the design philosophy of the 7th generation.
Despite the acceptance of this vehicle, especially in the tourist segment of the market, the war in this category of bodywork was given more by price and practicality, than by luxury. It was so Superpolo decided to launch a product never seen before (not even in Brazil), called New Senior, capable of serving the inter-municipal, school and urban markets, with more favorable production costs, lower overall height, lower weight and greater modularity in the production process .
The 600 version of the New Senior (the one with the lowest platform) is the protagonist of this installment, and has received a series of adjustments to make its operation simpler, more comfortable, safer and above all, profitable. So much so, that in order to optimize the weight of the vehicle, facilitate access control and guarantee the protection of drivers against pathogenic threats such as Coronavirus, and vandalism attacks, now the midibuses return to the configuration original door between axles, leaving free the front space next to the driver.
Another interesting detail incorporated into the new units is the modularity of the side lining, with a view to reducing repair times due to minor collisions. In this way, the aluminum side sheet is sectioned into several parts, both in the central part and in the underside of the body. Thus, if a repair is necessary on the sides of the bus, only the affected part can be replaced quickly, without having to repair the entire side sheet. This results in less downtime for repairs and lower maintenance costs.
Another interesting detail on the exterior of the body are the asymmetric rear-view mirrors. In this way, the mirror on the right side is much further from the line of sight, than the one on the driver’s side, practically fixed to the access door. This allows a better visual, also reducing the cost of damage or repair of these accessories.
SIMPLE BUT SAFE
The Mercedes-Benz OF 917 platform is a new commitment by Daimler to offer more universal vehicles, thanks to the presence of Fuso as one of the group’s brands. It is a vehicle designed for the transport of passengers (there are no equivalents of this chassis with trucks of the brand), with a straight frame, mechanical suspension and a compact 4-cylinder in-line engine that delivers 170Hp at 2-500 revolutions per minute.
It is a simple mechanic, easy to coach, but also simple to operate, which is reflected in the driving area, where the instruments. Another interesting detail on the exterior of the body are the asymmetric rear-view mirrors. In this way, the mirror on the side is much further from the line of sight than the one on the driver’s side, practically fixed to the access door. This allows a better visual, also reducing the cost of damage or repair of these accessories. Thus, if an arrangement is necessary on the sides of the bus, only the part can be replaced quickly, affected, without having to repair the entire lateral lamina. This results in less downtime for repairs and lower cost of maintenance.
Thanks to the location of the engine, which is located at the front of the mobile, the rear area has been intervened to locate passengers with reduced mobility. The hydraulic lift for wheelchairs is installed there, which is incorporated into the exit ladder at the rear end of the bus, in addition to a space specially designed for the fixation of the disabled passenger. The exterior lighting is very well-defined in this model and is part of the active safety systems incorporated into the bus. The front area features easily replaceable round low and high lamps, as well as fog lights on the lower part of the front bumper. The low beams, upper delimiters, DRL light, as well as the taillights have LED technology.
A REVIEW FROM THE INSIDE
Although the regulations for body building are strict and give less and less room for creativity in the internal configuration of mass transport vehicles, it is the small details that they allow manufacturers to achieve differential points that tip the balance in their favor when it comes to choice by operators. In this case, the passenger lounge of the New Senior has been configured with 13 seats and space for 37 standing passengers, which have handles in metallic pipe with a non-slip finish along the aisle. Most of these handles are fixed to the bodywork thanks to an aluminum profile that runs through the saloon, avoiding drilling holes in the hood and roof trim.
Passengers with priority boarding have their blue seats duly differentiated, as well as the space for travelers with live help (guide dog), which have their special location. The renewal process is ongoing, and thanks to the operators who trust the national products, companies such as Superpolo continue to create jobs, both directly and for each of the suppliers that makes an effort to achieve safe and quality products.
Colombiabus newsroom – William Marroquin / Irizar eMobility
23 ARTICULATED BUSES IRIZAR AND SOLARIS WILL BE OPERATING
Nine zero-emission articulated electric buses built by Irizar, of the ieTram model and 14 Urbino 18 from Solaris that will soon arrive, have started the first 100% electrified line for high-capacity mass transport in Barcelona. It should be noted that recently, 46 light hybrid buses were also put into operation in the city.
Starting in 2021, TMB, the Barcelona public transport authority published a tender, aimed at acquiring 210 green buses, of which 78 will be electric: 29 articulated buses equipped with pantographs for opportunity charging and 49 single-body buses with batteries and pantographs for night recharging in the portals.
Also, at the end of 2020, TMB Barcelona announced a work plan to improve the environmental quality of the city’s bus fleet, deciding that from now on, only a low-emission fleet or preferably an electric fleet will be linked. The goal is that by 2024, TMB’s fleet will be made up solely of gas, hybrid and electric buses.
The Irizar ieTram deployed in Barcelona, have 4 doors and capacity for 36 seated passengers plus a driver, an area for wheelchairs and another for those traveling with baby carriages. They are powered by an Alconza engine (an Irizar group company) and deliver 236 kW of power, with batteries also from Irizar eMobility. They can be charged in 4 minutes, using ultra-fast charging devices that are connected to the pantographs that are installed on the buses.
The vehicles have driving assistance systems to improve safety, and the exterior rear-view mirrors have been replaced by cameras that project the images into the driver’s cabin. For the comfort of travelers, air conditioning provided by Hispacold, USB outlets and Wi-Fi are included.
TMB currently operates 1140 buses, of which 350 are hybrids (most with diesel and electric engines) and 408 are powered by natural gas. The new hybrids for the moment were supplied by MAN and its Lion’s City model, together with Daimler with its CitaroG. The recent 46 hybrid buses plus the 23 electric buses had a total cost of 40.9 million Euros.
Colombiabus newsroom – Mobility Portal / William Marroquín
THE E-BUS PROTOTYPE CONTINUES NOW IN AREQUIPA
As time goes by, the progress and ambitions of the Peruvian bus builder Modasa are greater, with great dynamism in recent years when it carried out an important update of its portfolio. Additionally, in 2018, it incorporated its Iron Bus oriented to Latin American BRT trunks and continued in its process of continuous improvement of its luxury double-deck with the Zeus 4, and last but not least, it began to look for a space in the demanding market of Mexico.
2020, despite the pandemic, was an important year for the Lurín constructor, becoming one of the first bus manufacturers in Latin America to develop an electric model, its e-Titan. A vehicle where it had the support of Volkswagen, QEV Technologies and Engie as main partners of the project. Much has been said about this prototype about its arrival in Colombia and other markets, although for now they are still focused on their local market where one of them will be tested in the Arequipa integrated transport system and another in Lima with the same typology.
For the city of Arequipa, Modasa hopes that a second trunk will be tendered that would allow it to offer 150 buses and in Lima, the integrated system project is running where 100 units would be delivered. However, the manufacturer asks that the state be more involved in the development of new projects, since the operators are not considered credit subjects.
Due to the pandemic, social distancing, alternation and reduction of bus journeys, demand has naturally decreased significantly and operators have been forced to restructure debts, reduce investments, which has affected their strength and with it, financial institutions. Either they do not approve requests or they review them with greater caution.
For integrated systems, Modasa also proposes bidding schemes where the municipalities or the government are guarantors of the payment of the vehicles, as has occurred in the last processes carried out in Bogotá with Transmilenio in its trunk component or the most recent in Chile for the Red system. Taking into account that the nature of the operators is private, denoting the lack of state participation in the development of new transport models for cities.
Colombiabus Newsroom – Vivipra / William Marroquín
17 KING LONG BUSES JOIN FOR TRANSPORTATION IN MINES
The race for leadership in electromobility in public transport in Latin America is far from defining a winner, although it can be mentioned that some countries in the region have taken the lead in different segments of passenger mobilization. Chile is currently the country with the largest fleet of urban electric buses operating in the capital Santiago, although it will soon lose that distinction at the hands of Bogotá, which expects to have more than 1,500 vehicles of this type.
However, in road mobilization, since 2019 the country became the pioneer in the incorporation of electric road buses, starting with a joint project between TurBus (one of the main passenger transport companies in the country), Vivipra (representative from the Chinese manufacturer King Long) and Copec Voltex (a division of Copec dedicated to electromobility). It has been followed by companies such as Tandem, Buses Hualpen, Viggo, among others, who use it on regular routes or to transport personnel.
A few days ago, a very important delivery took place commissioned by the Anglo-American mining company, which seeks to reduce the carbon footprint in all aspects and being the extraction of minerals, the main economic activity in Chile, it should be the leader in that energy transition. For this reason, the operator Transportes Hualpen launched 17 electric buses to mobilize the personnel that work in the mine, although the plans are quite ambitious, because it is expected to have 50 buses that will replace an equal number of diesel vehicles.
The 17 King Long XMQ6130EYWE5 buses with a length of 13 meters, with the capacity to carry 44 passengers that are transported to the Los Bronces mining complex, located on the edge of Valparaíso and the Metropolitan region of Santiago. They are equipped with a pack of 10 batteries that allow to accumulate 314KWh that grant an autonomy of up to 250Km without recharging. You can also save when riding between 5 and 10 km / h since it does not consume load, electric generators provide a maximum power of 350Kw (469HP).
They are equipped with all the comfort features of a road bus such as air conditioning, reclining seats with their seat belts, toilet, WiFi internet connection, electrical outlets and environmental entertainment screens for the well-being of the workers. On the other hand, the 17 vehicles have systems for mitigating Covid-19 transmitting agents, including the screening tower, gel dispensers, as well as separation of the driver and passengers.
También cuentan con el sistema avanzado de asistencia al conductor, que comprende el control de crucero adaptativo, las advertencias de cambio involuntario de carril y el sistema de frenado de emergencia automático. Adicionalmente se le incluyó el detector de fatiga y las cámaras 360 en el exterior y las que captan imágenes del salón de pasajeros. A través de los sensores instalados por todos los autobuses y la información que recoge el GPS se registran todos los parámetros de operación, permitiendo el monitoreo del vehículo a través del centro de control que está atento 24/7.
They also feature the advanced driver assistance system, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings and automatic emergency braking. Additionally, the fatigue detector and 360 cameras on the exterior and those that capture images of the passenger lounge were included. Through the sensors installed by all buses and the information collected by the GPS, all operating parameters are recorded, allowing the vehicle to be monitored through the control center that is attentive 24/7.
“This fleet will be a great contribution that will reduce emissions, reduce noise pollution and fuel consumption. In addition, it will provide greater comfort to our workers, since traveling in these buses is completely silent and without engine vibrations”, expressed Aaron Puna, Executive President of Anglo-American Chile.
This Chinese brand reaffirms itself as a leader in the segment of electric road buses in Latin America.
A few months ago, the MiBus system in Panama reported that it had approval to buy 35 electric midibuses and an additional 160 powered by diesel or natural gas. The process had some delays, following the recommendations of the Inter-American Development Bank and C40 Cities who carried out additional analyzes of technical, operational and financial feasibility that would leave the door open to incorporate more electric buses.
The results of these studies include recommendations such as evaluating a new scenario where medium and large units are combined based on the fact that, in some routes where they would be inserted, the medium ones would not be so profitable due to autonomy. The studies analyzed the operation with large buses and electric midis, in addition to buses with internal combustion engines.
“The acquisition will probably be in phases, for example 100 in the first and about 100 or 50 in a second and third stage. That is one of the details to be defined, but we are sure that it will be more than 35”. Indicated Luis Camapana, General Manager of MiBus
Another key issue is the financial scheme to guarantee the purchase of the buses, which must be defined for the presentation of the bidding conditions in April. It seeks to include acquisition and maintenance, or with an operating lease where MiBus continues as manager, and the contractor is in charge of supporting the buses in exchange for their monthly payment.
The charging infrastructure must be in charge of whoever provides the buses, responding for the electrical installations and chargers in a place that MiBus must assign. It should be remembered that the company is operating two 100% electric buses provided by BYD to evaluate the operation and performance of the units.