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January 30 2018
By Mel Holley

Mel was routeONE magazine’s Editor until autumn 2018. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.


Volvo launches B8L tri-axle

Volvo Buses has launched a new tri-axle double-deck chassis for Asia Pacific. The Euro 6 B8L, which replaces the B9TL, was launched in Hong Kong during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover on 25 January.

The B8L is manufactured in Borås, Sweden, and pre-production chassis have “already been widely tested” in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The B9TL sold 4,000 chassis in the Asia Pacific Region.

Powered by Volvo’s D8K engine the B8L delivers 350hp and 1,400Nm of torque between 1,200 and 1,600 engine RPM.

The engine is mated to an automatic ZF 6AP1600C transmission.

With more auxiliaries powered electrically than before. The package “delivers new standards in fuel efficiency, reduction in noise and lower emissions,” says Volvo.

“Volvo Buses has proud history as a supplier to many of the most challenging applications for public transport in Asia Pacific. With the B8L we are providing a new chassis that has been thoroughly tested in tough local conditions,” says Håkan Agnevall, President of Volvo Buses

“In response to our customer’s input we have simplified the driveline”, says David Mead, Vice President Asia Pacific, Volvo Buses. “Key to the new design is the direct drive layout with the 8 litre engine and automatic transmission designed to be in-line. This provides a more efficient driveline sure to set new standards for fuel efficiency in this segment.”

In addition to the driveline, the B8L delivers; lower overall weight, a tighter turning circle and all new axles and suspension providing outstanding ride quality, improved driveability and higher levels of vehicle performance.

The B8L also delivers when it comes to the total cost of ownership. Extended service intervals, use of common Volvo Group spare parts and revised service regimes allow for a reduction in the overall cost of maintenance. Coupled with the fuel savings already proven in vehicle trials the total cost of owning a Volvo B8L will be lower than for previous models.

The new B8L continues Volvo’s focus on safety with a number of features included as standard equipment. Electronic Stability Control (ESP), Electronic braking Systems, (EBS), anti-slip, acceleration limiter and hill start-aid all come as standard on the chassis.

“Our new B8L product demonstrates our understanding of the demands of Asia in the high capacity double deck segment”, says Mead. “The overall package we have created shows our experience in this area and allows us to deliver a product to our customers that will set new benchmarks for performance, safety and reliability in this segment.”

Volvo Buses has commenced training for dealers, distributors and operators in Asia Pacific to ensure that the new Euro VI technology is understood. “We have one of the most experienced team of dealers and distributors in the region, ready to continue their heritage of providing world class service to our customers”, says Mead. “Our service teams in Hong Kong and Singapore represent some of the most experience double-deck specialists anywhere in the world.”

Helping to “keep watch” on the units will be Volvo’s proven suite of connected services, connecting every vehicle to customers, service points and Volvo Buses. The ability to manage vehicle performance, provide remote diagnostics and collect operational data allows Volvo to provide advice to customers, quickly identifying areas of improvement or saving. The B8L can also be fitted with Volvo’s I-Coaching module, a dash mounted device priding instantaneous feedback to driver about their performance.

Key customers from the Asia Pacific region were asked to join the development process to provide feedback and input on the harsh operating conditions in Hong Kong and Singapore. The customers were able to provide input based on their experience and visit Volvo’s development teams in Sweden at key points of the product development process.

One of the customers who worked with Volvo was SBS Transit from Singapore.

“SBS Transit is delighted that Volvo Buses is introducing the state of the art, Euro VI B8L Double Deck bus.

“We are pleased to have contributed a key part in the development process of this product. Based on our experience of operating over 1,100 units of the Volvo Euro V Double Deck, we were able to give inputs to further enhance the performance of the new Volvo Double Deck product. Our heartiest congratulations to Volvo Buses,” said Mr Gan Juay Kiat, CEO, SBS Transit Ltd (Singapore).

On January 25 2018 over 100 customers, supplier partners and Volvo staff from all over the Asia Pacific region joined Volvo Bus’s top management for a launch event in Hong Kong.

Held in the Volvo Ocean Race village as part of the Hong Kong stopover, customers were treated a presentation seminar and dinner hosted by Håkan Agnevall, President Volvo Buses and Akash Passey, Senior Vice President Business Region International.



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