Afriway, coming your way
A new dawn is about to break for Iveco buses. GAVIN MYERS gets the scoop.
Iveco South Africa’s is ready to surprise bus operators and customers when its new AFRIWAY commuter bus makes its debut at the Southern African Bus Operators Association (Saboa) annual conference in March. Previewed at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show as the 180E, the new AFRIWAY bus has undergone extensive development and testing to make it “a bullet-proof, class-leading product”.
Ray Karshagen, head of the bus division at Iveco South Africa Works, explains that the AFRIWAY has been subjected to ongoing durability testing at the Gerotek testing facility outside Pretoria.
“One vehicle has completed 60 000 km of Reliability Growth Testing (RGT), equating to 580 000 km in normal operating conditions. Another of the test buses unfortunately rolled while on test. The structure stood up very well and the driver walked away unscathed,” Karshagen says.
Numerous buses have been run with selected customers in arduous unpaved road conditions in the Limpopo and Northwest Provinces, in a mining operation in Zambia, in contract services in Mpumalanga and from sea level to high altitudes in Kwa-Zulu Natal. “We have monitored the ‘total cost of ownership’ and bus reliability, and the results will pleasantly surprise owners and operators,” Karshagen smiles.
The AFRIWAY has been developed for commuter operations, mining services and construction staff transport. The standard 12,3-m long 4×2 bus will accommodate 65 seated and 28 standing passengers. Tare weight comes in at under 10 000 kg in this specification – to the benefit of fuel consumption and licence fees. The chassis carries an 11 500 kg manufacturer-rated rear axle and parabolic spring suspension that enhances ride comfort.
The driveline is based on the Eurocargo truck. The Euro-3 TECTOR 6 engine remains over the front axle as this presents numerous benefits when compared with the traditional front-engine bus configuration.
“In the case of a front-end accident, the engine and cooling system remain out of harm’s way, minimising the need for mechanical repair. The engine cooling is also improved, due to more effective air circulation around the wheel arches. Weight distribution is enhanced for better stability, as is the angle of approach – an important consideration for rural applications,” Karshagen notes.
A nine-speed ZF manual transmission and a Voith Diwa remote-mounted automatic transmission are available. “The prototype bus fitted with the automatic transmission has shown vastly improved fuel consumption results when compared with other bus models. The market has been moving to automatic transmissions to reduce driver fatigue in stop-start operations,” says Karshagen.
The body and chassis are built in the same facility in Rosslyn using specialised manufacturing tools and jigs as well as assembly processes refined by CNH Industrial. The company can, therefore, offer a two-year bumper-to-bumper factory warranty on the complete bus chassis and body. A three-year or 300 000 km (whichever occurs first) warranty covers the chassis driveline.
“We believe that the ‘total cost of ownership’ of the AFRIWAY bus will be best-in-class and we are confident that the product will benefit operators and passengers alike, as it traverses the city, intercity and rural roads of southern Africa,” Karshagen concludes.