Colombia has been a benchmark in the development of mobility solutions applied to massive, strategic and integrated systems that have been implemented both in cities in the country and in the Latin American region. Corridor project developments to improve the quality of travel for citizens, the number of passengers moving, and the high demands drive manufacturers to constantly think about how to respond to these challenges.
One of the main issues on the cities' agenda is to provide passenger transport solutions capable of meeting the demands of comfort, safety, inclusion, friendliness and respect for the environment. This is where bus builders must jointly develop solutions to bring better travel experiences on a daily basis.
And that has been understood very well in Colombia by the Marcopolo Superpolo, Scania Colombia and Vanti teams. The three companies, working hand in hand, have joined forces to present a new bus to move easily through the streets of any city; be safe, friendly and productive; with a low level of emissions and noise, all of them gathered in the Marcopolo New Senior van with bodywork on the Scania F280CNG chassis.
FROM COLOMBIA TO LATIN CITIES
This first gas-powered Marcopolo New Senior bus was developed taking into account the specifications of the Transmilenio system for buses with a capacity for 50 passengers. Although the Marcopolo Superpolo team is capable of creating urban mobility solutions with this bus to meet the requirements of any city.
It is a bus capable of delivering a range that exceeds 300 km in working conditions in Bogotá, thanks to the three tanks that can store the equivalent of 900 liters. These deposits are located in the lower part of the bus, on the left side, since the catalyst that works at a high temperature is located on the right side and is also responsible for preventing the largest pollutants from being released into the atmosphere.
“We located the gas storage tanks in the lower part, thinking in the future of massive systems in cities that need to equip air conditioning systems, they will be able to install it without any problem. It is a prototype that can carry up to 60 passengers, but the flexibility allows adjusting the capacity of the interior with fewer occupants, it has been a joint effort with the team of Scania engineers in Sweden, Brazil and the staff in Colombia” explains Juan Carlos Santamaría, engineering manager of Marcopolo Superpolo.
Externally, it has the appearance of a bus and not that of a small bus, to which the 9,900 mm length contributes, which allows for a large space to distribute the 22 seats and provide ample interior circulation, fulfilling the capacity of 50 passengers. The departure angles are greater than 11% forward and 8% backward, to avoid touching the lower part and the height is between 2.80 and 3.40 meters according to current regulations.
The lighting set, both front and rear, takes elements already seen in the New Senior and Torino models that have been delivered in recent months, both for internal combustion and electric chassis. At the front, the grilles stand out, which not only help to improve the cooling of the gas engine, but also give it a more aggressive and dynamic appearance.
To improve operating costs, the panoramic glass is split, although it has a defroster in the upper part, to allow users to better observe the destinations presented by the LED electronic route guide developed by Streamax, with information in color, according to each one of the zones in which Bogotá is divided allowing travelers a better identification.
Inside, 6 of the 22 seats are preferentially blue, with seats made of vandal-resistant material that also facilitate replacement and help control operating costs. An area is available for passengers who require live help and additionally has an area to locate a guide dog. These special seats are equipped with a seat belt.
In the back of the bus, there is a space for those who travel in wheelchairs, which connects directly with the elevator system that allows access to the vehicle for those with reduced mobility. Inside, cameras arranged throughout the passenger lounge capture what is happening so that in case of an emergency the authorities are notified.
To have a city travel experience up to current demands, the seats have USB ports to recharge devices, a screen that indicates the general information of the route, another LED indicator where the stops are presented, and the driver is separated from the passengers, thanks to a complete cabin division.
The operator has been quite isolated from the passenger area and due to the location of the engine, he can only access his command post through the door located on the left side, with its respective steps and support handles. Work has also been done to maintain good thermo-acoustic insulation in this area, for less exhausting days, and an exhaust fan was installed that allows the air in the driver's work area to be renewed.
Extreme conditions can reach around 26 °C which is often found in traffic, gridlock or stop-start situations. It is also equipped with fatigue detectors, which can warn of situations of operator deconcentration, so that fleet managers make decisions.
THE BET ON GAS
Scania has been present in Colombia for nearly 30 years and at the end of 2013, it began the development of solutions for passenger transport using natural gas as fuel. For the Swedish manufacturer, it is clear that the future of the mobilization of people and goods is zero emissions, but they have developed very successful models with gas, which they consider a transition technology, developing the first EuroVI bi-articulated gas in the world, together with Vanti, which was followed by this bus, also the first of its kind globally.
However, to date, nearly 1,800 buses run with this technology, which allows compliance with the Euro VI emission standard, providing comfort, performance and productivity. With very little noise, in addition to a very low amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere.
The Scania F280 chassis is the Swedish manufacturer's response to the needs of city operators, who in many cases require a short chassis to move through steep areas, neighborhoods with narrow streets and central areas. Its 9,300 cc engine produces 280 HP at 1,900 rpm and 1,400 Nm of torque between 1,000 and 1,400 engine revolutions, it benefits from sharing developments with other brand propellants, facilitating services and availability of parts.
The power is transmitted to the wheels through the fully automatic Allison T375R transmission, which was presented in 2019 during Busworld Europe. It is designed for urban applications, it is capable of supporting up to 360HP of power and 1,450Nm of torque, with five forward gears, ideal for routes with constant stops and starts, it includes the retarder to improve braking power and reduce wear of the main material of brakes. This gearbox also has self-diagnostic functions, fault code generation and system component life prediction.
Active safety is very well taken care of thanks to the EBS electronic braking, which acts on the ABS, the whole issue of traction and the power that must be applied to the discs on each wheel. Nor will there be problems for starts on slopes; for ride comfort, the air suspension provides smoothness and its height is electronically adjusted.
With the work of Marcopolo Superpolo, Scania Colombia and Vanti, the ability to develop solutions in the country to improve life in cities, which can be taken to neighboring markets, is demonstrated. This New Senior powered by gas will also help bring people closer to each other on a daily basis and lead them to the future; with comfort, safety and productivity.