SHANGHAI – Busworld Asia 2010 was held in Shanghai New International Expo Center on May 6-8, under the theme of “Green Bus, Green City.” Taking up a total area of 25,000 square meters, leading busmakers including Yutong Bus (Yutong), Higer Bus (Higer), Huanghai Bus under SG Automotive Group (Huanghai), Zhongtong Bus (Zhongtong), Youngman Automobile (Youngman), Bonluck Bus & Coach (Bonluck), China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock (CSR Bus), etc. participated in the event with their latest products.
Yutong, China’s largest busmaker brought seven new energy bus models to its 1,218-square-meter stand. “Our theme, ‘New Energy Brings the City Better,’ marches both the theme of Busworld Asia 2010 and the World Expo in Shanghai, and all vehicles exhibited are green energy products,” a Yutong’s spokesperson said. The company showcased three key products at the show: the ZK6100EGAA, ZK6125EGAA and ZK6180MGQA9 buses. The ZK6100EGAA, a 10-meter pure electric tour bus with zero emission, represents Yutong’s interpretation of the trend in the touring bus market. Meanwhile, the busmaker’s 12-meter hydrogen fuel cell-lithium battery hybrid bus, ZK6125EGAA, claims to have 300 km driving range at full charge. The model is scheduled for test operation in Henan Province, where Yutong is based. The automaker was also the first to develop an 18-meter hybrid bus in China, the ZK6180MGQA9. The vehicle, a dual-mode hybrid BRT coach with capacitor batteries, is marked to save 30 percent of fuel consumption comparing with standard diesel models.
Higer, from Suzhou of Jiangsu Province, chose to promote its cooperation fruits with Scania AB. Wang Xinliang, director of brand management in Higer, explained that although new energy vehicles might not take over the mainstream market any time sooner, the automaker would like to present its strength in development. The two models, A95 KLQ6127D and Scania-Higer A90, were displayed at Scania’s section. Higer equips Scania-Higer A90 with imported Scania chassis and engine, and A95 KLQ6127D Scania K380EB 4×2 chassis and DC1213 engine under State IV emission standards.
Zhongtong, based in Shandong Province, showed its diversity by introducing five vehicle models for city buses, inter-city coaches and hybrids.
Youngman, from Jinhua in Zhejiang Province, set the tone for high-end tour coaches by borrowing experience from the west. The company’s newly-developed tour coach JNP6126 underwent an interior transformation. The internal space of the bus was divided into four functional zones for driving, conference, maintenance and multiple functions.
Huanghai brought products made in both its Dandong and Changzhou facilities to showcase six pure electric bus models. The CHH6120EV1 on display is an electric bus with an infinitely variable speed transmission, an intelligent energy storage system and digital panels, as well as a vehicle controlling unit with functions of data collection and processing and self-diagnosis.
First-time exhibitors include Joylong Automobile, FAW Bus and Shushi Bus. However, Xiamen King Long United, Xiamen Golden Dragon and Ankai Bus, all considered top players in the row, were absent from Busworld Asia 2010.
Comments from analysts
Liu Fengjun, head of Huanghai research and development center: There can be more implementations of electronic technologies and new material in the future. There is a trend of the adoption of on-vehicle electronic technologies and controlling system in busmaking. For example, the bus local area network based on CAN technologies, is able to provide supervision functions including tire pressure monitoring, fuel consumption management and fault indication. By connecting the CAN system with internet, there can be a timely update of traffic information, to avoid traffic jams. Yutong and Higer both popped up the idea of intelligent buses, and Huanghai is also working on related research. Busmakers are more aware of the demand of light-weight vehicles with lighter but stronger and more eco-friendly materials as replacements. Another trend not to miss is that many automakers have shown products in different market segments, such as Yutong’s school bus and airport shuttle bus.
Yang Lihui, industry expert: Product competition has switched from design to manufacturing technologies. There are five factors to review a bus model: market positioning, manufacturers’ product layout, exterior looks, interior designs and manufacturing details. Domestic bus making technologies have reached a bottleneck where innovations can be difficult. The competitiveness of products now lies on the craftsmanship during manufacturing. Bus exhibitions have been marginalized in terms of showcasing new products and make connections with clients.
Hu Fengfei, department of marketing at Youngman: There are changes in market structure. Busmakers’ focus has switched from technology-oriented to the understanding of market potentials, for which the popularity of new energy buses and tour coaches has made demonstrations. Influenced by the competition between road and rail passenger transportation, bus producers started to develop product lines with varieties. There has been a rising trend to launch tour coaches and new energy vehicles.
Li Wei, chairman of Bonluck, pointed out that the exhibition has seen a decline on participating OEMs due to a wide choice of similar events in China. He was also concerned that there have not been enough clients from potential markets in South Africa, Australia or the Middle Eastern countries. Meanwhile, Wang Xinliang, director of brand management in Higer Bus, also expressed his concern over the low professional viewer numbers.