Scania has developed a new coach for the European market in partnership with Chinese coach body builder Higer. The cooperation will produce further models in the future. The body was designed by Scania’s design department and then developed jointly with Higer. The Touring HD 12-m (39-ft) long body is designed to fit Scania’s K-series bus chassis and is available in two configurations: K IB 4x2 with independent front suspension and K EB 4x2 fitted with a live front axle.
“The coach is assembled on a dedicated Scania production line in China, enabling us to exert full control of all manufacturing and quality aspects,” said Melker Jernberg, Senior Vice President, Buses and Coaches at Scania.
Each is fully built up at Higer’s Suzhou plant in China, some 100 km (62 mi) west of Shangai. The all-steel monocoque construction complies with the European R66-01 regulation relating to rollover strength. About 500 vehicles a year are expected to be built initially. Scania expects production volumes to rise in time and for more Higer-built models to be added later.
Inside, there is seating for 49 passengers in reclining seats, each fitted with an integrated seatbelt. Stitched leather upholstery can be specified as an option. Two trim levels are offered, Comfort and Premium, and both include a WC cabinet mounted in the center section of the vehicle. A kitchenette is also available as an option.
Standard equipment includes roof-mounted air-conditioning and convector heating. All side and rear windows are double-glazed and tinted. Audio/visual equipment includes 17-in LCD monitors mounted at the front and midsection of the cabin.
Drive comes from Scania’s 12-L inline six-cylinder diesel, offered with power ratings between 380 and 440 hp (283 and 328 kW), certified to Euro-IV or Euro-V emissions limits. The driveline includes a choice of either fully automated or electronically controlled 12-speed transmissions, with or without overdrive. Besides the choice of independent or live front axle, the Scania Touring is equipped with air suspension and standard electronically controlled disc brakes with ABS.
Coinciding with the launch of this model, Scania has also completely revised the Opticruise automated manual transmission for bus and coach models. Since Opticruise was originally launched in the 1990s, Scania has retained a clutch pedal, unlike most rivals. The company has previously maintained that it gives greater control during maneuvering. Now Scania has followed the pattern adopted by most European rivals and replaced the clutch pedal with an automatic electrohydraulically activated clutch for the latest version of Opticruise.
Scania claims that new mechanical components have been introduced and the control software is completely new. There is a new maneuvering mode to provide the fine clutch control required. To provide smoother gear changes, the clutch is momentarily disengaged during shifts. The transmission will try to maintain speed uphill, making early downward shifts where necessary. The gear changes will also be adapted according to driving style, load, and gradient. Other changes include a new Power mode for optimum performance. Driver control of the transmission will remain unchanged, using a control stalk on the right-hand side of the steering column to select gear-change modes and operate the retarder.
For bus and coach use, Scania will offer Opticruise with either eight or 12 speeds with Euro-V and enhanced environmentally friendly (EEV) European compliant engines. As with the new Scania Touring coach, models fitted with the 12-speed version of Opticruise will be available with either overdrive or direct drive top speeds.