The European Commission has started its largest road-bound transport project so far: "European Bus System of the Future" (EBSF). It is meant to make bus transport in cities even more attractive – and this also includes taking care of the environment and increasing passenger capacities and numbers. Relevant pilot projects have meanwhile been introduced in seven different European cities; among them a route with the MAN bus Lion's City GL, which operates as a test vehicle in the Hungarian capital Budapest.The articulated bus is fitted with a DIWA.5 automatic transmission from Voith.
The EBSF sub-projects in which MAN participates focus on improved passenger transport and handling. Over a trial period of several months, the Lion's City is used on an eleven-kilometer route, which is of vital importance: it provides the connection to the two major tram routes and a metro line. Every weekday, some 26,000 passengers use this bus route with its 46 stops in both directions. Depending on the traffic volume, the average speed of the buses is 15 to 20 km/h. Swift passenger flows and short halting times are therefore essential in order to reduce the lead times between stops. As a result, service cycles can be increasedand the public transport facilities in the city center are further improved.
When selecting a suitable transmission for the test vehicle, MAN and the operator BKV decided in favor of the DIWA.5 automatic transmission from Voith. The transmissions have been designed specifically for city bus applications and they lend themselves perfectly to the futuristic traffic project for several reasons: DIWA transmissions provide higher comfort as they allow smooth acceleration across a speed range, where other units need 2 to 3 gear changes. This has a positive impact, especially when traveling on congested urban roads with frequent stops and start-ups and frequent interruptions caused by heavy traffic volumes.
The topography-dependent gear-shifting program SensoTop ensures additional fuel savings. All gear-shifting points are optimally adapted to the topography under consideration of the load conditions. The transmission control recognizes instantly whether the vehicle is driving on a level route at full load, or whether it is driving on an upward gradient at part load only.
In order to meet the requirements of the EBSF project, a special vehicle has been designed, which is simultaneously meant to increase the comfort and the safety of the passengers. The result is an 18.75-meter articulated bus powered by an ecofriendly 320 HP (235 kW) six-cylinder diesel engine. The horizontally installed D20 Common Rail engine complies with the Enhanced Environmentally Friendly Vehicle (EEV) emission standard. The passenger room of the bus was designed on the basis of scientific research using simulation programs regarding optimum passenger flow, flexibility and riding comfort. The investigations were carried out by the Spanish "Centro de estudios e investigaciones técnicas de Gipuzkoa" (CEIT) and the German "Fraunhofer Institute for Traffic and Infrastructure Systems.
Voith Turbo, the specialist for hydrodynamic drive, coupling and braking systems for road, rail and industrial applications, as well as for ship propulsion systems, is a Group Division of Voith GmbH.