Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles today stepped into a new segment of buses with a new Coach & Sleeper bus range. So far, VECV had light-, medium-duty buses and a long-distance chassis. The new product, on the other hand, Eicher 6016 R LPO 12.4 m is a complete factory-built bus of which the driveline and chassis will be built at the VECV plant at Pritampur, Indore and the body at Volvo Buses body building Hosakote facility near Bengaluru. The facility earlier only built Volvo Bus bodies, but it will now also manufacture bodies for Eicher front-engine luxury buses. The new buses will come in configurations of 43 pushback seats or as a sleeper coach that can accommodate 30 passengers.
Since the merger of Volvo India into VECV less than a year ago, the company has been offering connectivity in all of its trucks and buses and so the new Eicher bus also features connectivity. On-board telematics ensures benefits like GPS location, electronic ticketing, fleet management and also vehicle diagnostics.
We had a chat with Akash Passey, President, Bus Division, VECV, who tells us that the new bus will be Eicher’s finest bus in India with a design etiquette from Volvo. The company is targetting sales of 5,000-6,000 buses in the air-conditioned premium front-engined bus segment, which is currently serviced by Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland. Moreover, Eicher’s will be the first factory-built bus in this category. The target market will be long-distance fleet operators.
Volvo Eicher will be launching more new products in the next six-wight months, including electric and city buses.
For a wholesome public transport system
Further to our conversation, Passey describes what can be done further to improve public transport in India. He begins by pointing out that China has six buses for every 1,000 people, the same statistics in India stand at one bus for 1,000 people. This highlights the scope improvements in public transport, especially buses.
“What is important is to meet the needs of the end passenger. Sometimes the buses are overladen, sometimes the buses have three-four steps, which makes it difficult for some people to get in. Plus, public transport needs to include last-mile connectivity. A person cannot decide to travel from A to B on a bus if there is no solution to reach C. Therefore, with our product range of small, medium and large buses, we intend to create a full portfolio over and above what we have so that we can be the most meaningful player in public transport segment.”
For a wholesome public transport system that pays attention to last-mile connectivity, Passey explains that partnerships will be very relevant in the near future citing an example of several European cities that use a travel card that can be used to pay for various modes of public transport, including ferries and electric two-wheelers.
More about the new Eicher bus
The range built on the Eicher 6016 R LPO 12.4 m chassis is equipped with a 5.1-litre VEDX5 engine derived from Volvo Group’s global powertrain family. The engine is capable of delivering 210 hp and flat torque of 825 Nm at 1,200-1,600 rpm.
The fully air-conditioned Coach seats 43 passengers with best-in-class 11.3 cu.m luggage space.
Sleeper version offers 30 berths and offers 6.5 cu.m of luggage space. Berths are separated by full-height partitions to ensure privacy and security.
The Eicher 6016 R LPO 12.4 m chassis is designed for improved structural strength and has a corrosion-free fuel tank and high-capacity alternator.
It gets features like Cruise Control, Fuel Coaching, Mbooster+ and Intelligent Engine Protection System.
The coach offers a theatre-type saloon seating, pushback seats and LED ambience. The bus include USB ports, reading lights, speakers, AC louvers and infotainment systems as standard.
The dashboard is designed in line with global benchmarks and incorporates controls that are positioned and oriented for easy accessibility.
The new range is supported by Eicher buses pan-India service network with over 500 touchpoints which offer a one-stop-shop for both chassis and body service requirements. Further, Lifetime Support Solutions, ensure seamless and hassle-free experience across the ownership period.
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