Volvo B8L

Volvo B8L
SBST Volvo B8L Demonstrator
SBST Volvo B8L Demonstrator
Manufacturer Volvo Buses
Bodywork Wrightbus
Years in operation 2017 –
Operators SBS Transit
Technical Data
Length 12 metre
Engine Volvo D8K350 EU6
Transmission ZF EcoLife 6 AP 1400 C
Accessibility Low Floor
Emission Standard Euro VI (EGR + SCR)

The Volvo B8L is a low-floor double-decker city bus chassis built by Volvo Buses since 2016. It is the intended successor of the Volvo B9TL still currently in production. Two known prototypes are known to have been produced; the other previously operated in Hong Kong with Kowloon Motor Bus.

The B8L model designation indicates its (Bus chassis, 8-litre engine, Low floor) configuration. The bus is registered SG4003D and allocated to SBS Transit. It entered revenue service on 2 April 2018, operating on Bus Service 94.

Design:

The Volvo B8L was conceived as the Euro VI (“Euro 6”) successor to the highly popular tri-axle Volvo B9TL which had been in production since 2002, an evolutionary step in line with rigorous emission standards within Europe.

Volvo’s new range of Euro VI-compliant diesel engines, the 5.1-litre Volvo D5K and 7.7-litre Volvo D8K, were launched in 2013 and found their way into new bus models, such as the Volvo B5TL (diesel) and Volvo B5LH (diesel-hybrid) double-deck city buses, and the Volvo B8R (coach) and Volvo B8RLE (low-entry) single deck buses. Volvo Buses would subsequently release more models of buses would to further strengthen their model offering in line with the Euro VI adoption.

However, in Asia (and particularly Singapore and Hong Kong), demand for the tri-axle Volvo B9TL remained strong where Euro VI emissions regulations (or their equivalents) had yet to take effect. In preparation for eventual Euro VI adoption, the Volvo B8L chassis was developed as a replacement for the tri-axle Volvo B9TL which only met up to Euro V emissions standards. Production of Volvo B9TL has yet to officially cease.

The Volvo B8L was formally launched to the Asia-Pacific market on 25 January 2018 and currently only produced as a 12-metre bus. The drivetrain comprises a Euro VI-compliant Volvo D8K engine with 280, 320 and 350-horsepower options. Transmission offerings have so far only included ZF, and is likely compatible with Voith units.

As the drive axle has shifted from the rear axle (in the Volvo B9TL) to the middle axle, rear axle steering is now offered as an option for the Volvo B8L. The Alexander Dennis Enviro500 and MAN A95 both use the middle axle as the drive axle.

The B8L is also known to be compatible with the Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork range produced by Wrightbus. The Hong Kong model is bodied with the second-generation Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork, while the Singapore model is bodied with the newer, third-generation Gemini 3 bodywork. A third known unit was bodied in the EvoSeti bodywork by MCV and delivered to Kowloon Motor Bus in 2018.





Volvo B8L:

Volvo B8L Chassis
Volvo B8L Chassis

The first Volvo B8L in Singapore was one of two prototypes produced for initial testing ahead of mass production. The first unit entered trials with Hong Kong bus operator Kowloon Motor Bus in 2017. The Singapore unit was first exhibited at the Seletar Bus Depot Carnival in January 2018.

The first B8L produced, operating in Hong Kong, is fitted with a Volvo D8K350 paired with a ZF EcoLife 6 AP 1600 C transmission. The higher transmission torque rating of the Hong Kong unit (1600Nm versus 1400Nm for the Singapore unit) was in response to the more challenging terrain encountered in Hong Kong.

On 15 December 2017, the Volvo B8L was registered, bearing the registration plate number SG4003D and chassis number YV3U2U529HA184195. The bus was formerly equipped with an automatic wheelchair ramp supplied by SMC Transit, but was removed prior to entering revenue service and replaced with a manual wheelchair ramp.

Basic Technical Specifications
Engine Volvo D8K350 EU6, 7698cc
Power/torque rating of 350 hp (258 kW) @ 2100 rpm / 1400 Nm @ 1200 – 1600 rpm
Emissions control Euro VI-compliant
Engine combines Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), hence requiring diesel exhaust fluids such as AdBlue
Transmission ZF EcoLife 6 AP 1400 C gearbox
Six-speed automated transmission
Bodywork Wrightbus Gemini 3 Bodywork
Assembled by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland, shipped completely-built-up (CBU) to Singapore
Passenger Capacity 55 Upper Deck Seating + 29 Lower Deck Seating + 53 Standing = 137 total
Other features LECIP Electronic Display Signage (EDS), Orange LED Matrix
SMC Transit doors (leaf entrance doors, outward-swinging exit plug doors)
Denso air-conditioning
Mobileye Shield+ Collision Avoidance System
Volvo Bus I-Coaching
USB Charging Ports at selected seats
Removed: SMC Transit automatic wheelchair ramp (operated from driver’s cab)

As compared to its predecessor (the Volvo B9TL), the Volvo B8L features an in-line engine layout which is unique to its double-deck chassis range.

With this new in-line engine, Volvo have finally deviated from their long-time layout of incorporating a transverse engine with angle drive. It originated with Leyland Atlantean, and continued with the Leyland and then Volvo Olympian and finally to the B9TL which remains in production. The simplified in-line drivetrain, coupled with the high efficiency of the Euro VI diesel engine, offer lower emissions and longer service intervals.

The Volvo B8L has also positioned its Diesel and Adblue tanks on the right side of the bus. The engine incorporates Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to manage emissions levels in line with the Euro VI standard for heavy vehicles.

Exterior

The external appearance of the bus is adapted from the Gemini 3 bodywork produced by Wrightbus. Previously fitted to two-axle double deck buses such as the Volvo B5TL and Volvo B5LH, SG4003D is the first time that the Gemini 3 bodywork has been fitted to a three-axle double-deck bus.

The Volvo B8L is also the first public bus in Singapore to bear the Gemini 3 bodywork and its highly distinctive exterior features make it unique. Most notably, glass windows throughout the length of the staircase is a novel feature to be introduced here.





Interior:

Lower Deck

The lower deck of the bus features 29 permanent seats. Being a low-floor bus, the bus offers step-free access from entry/exit doors until the last row of seats. A staircase behind the driver’s cab connects the lower and upper decks.

Like most double-deck buses in Singapore, the Volvo B8L bus is configured with two doors: an entrance door at the front, and an exit door in the middle. The entrance doors are conventional inward-swinging leaf doors, while the exit doors are outward-swinging plug doors. They are supplied by SMC Transit and are pneumatically operated.

Opposite the staircase, there are four side-facing priority seats, reserved for elderly and handicapped passengers, and passengers travelling with young children. They are indicated in red seat covers.

The wheelchair bay behind the staircase and opposite the exit door accommodates one passenger-in-wheelchair (PIW) and is also equipped with a USB Charging port. Two straps with buckles are also installed as part of a restraint system for wheelchairs or prams; a separate stroller restraint system was trialled months prior to the launch of these buses.

Volvo B8L (SG4003D) - Wheelchair Bay with belt restraints
Volvo B8L (SG4003D) – Wheelchair Bay with belt restraints

Grab poles and hand grips are located on both sides of the aisle. All seats also have hand grips to provide commuters with additional support.

Bus stopping bell-pushes are located around the bus cabin, mounted to stanchion poles. Emergency hammers are located on the bus pillars.

The seating layout at the rear is similar to the MAN A95 and the Alexander Dennis Enviro500 buses, with facing seats in-between wheel arches and more facing seats at the last row of the bus, which seats 5 passengers.

As opposed to the ubiquitous use of leathery synthetic seat covers, the seats on SG4003D use a fabric material which come in two color tones: a base color of red or yellow in the middle, and beige trim on the outsides. This color scheme is similar to SBS Transit’s original specifications for its Volvo B9TL buses.

Upper Deck

The upper deck of the bus is laid out in a conventional four-abreast seating, and a central aisle running the length of the bus.

There are 55 seats on the upper deck. Grab poles run the length of the aisle for commuters moving around the bus. All seats also have hand grips to provide commuters with additional support.

Bus stopping bell-pushes are located around the bus cabin, mounted to stanchion poles. Emergency hammers are located on the bus pillars.

Staircase

The staircase allows for passenger movement between the lower and upper decks of the bus. The Gemini 3 bodywork design gives sweeping glass panels throughout the length of the staircase, allowing for excellent visibility in the day. A seat counter on the lower deck displays the number of available seats on the upper deck.

The staircase is designed with two flat staircase landings (“straight staircase”), a feature common in newer buses by eliminating cornered steps. However, unlike the Volvo B9TL, there is no ‘cushioning’ installed along the protruding edge of the upper deck to prevent commuters from bumping their heads into it.

Prior to entering revenue service, the lower part of the glass panels (underneath the handrails) were covered up.

Driver’s Compartment

Designed for the Asia-Pacific market, the Volvo B8L is presently only available as a right hand drive bus.

The turquoise display unit on the lower left is the New On-board Bus Equipment (NOBE) fare collection system. Just above that is the mount for the Trapeze Common Fleet Management System (CFMS) display unit which has yet to be installed. The handbrake lever, door controls, lighting controls, and the automatic wheelchair ramp controls are located on the right of the driver. The Engine Fire Suppression System trigger button (in red) has been relocated to the left of the steering column. The automatic ramp has since been removed prior to entering revenue service, and replaced with a manual wheelchair ramp.

Mounted on the panels above the bus driver are the CCTV monitor, Electronic Display Sign (EDS) controller, a surveillance camera and air-conditioning vents. A storage bin for the bus driver’s personal belongings is located behind the driver’s seat.

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12 thoughts on “Volvo B8L

  • 28 January 2018 at 8:32 AM
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    Wonder why Volvo produce much lower torque than ADL or MAN..

    Reply
  • 14 January 2018 at 10:56 AM
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    This bus was spotted on the roads (mostly at the eastern side of Singapore) doing tests (most likely road tests or driver familiarisation).

    Reply
    • 28 January 2018 at 8:20 AM
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      Idk… But whenever it was spotted, its along service 107 route… From hougang int, appearing at potong pasir and serangoom, to appearing at shenton way int, it is way too coincidental.

      Reply
      • 17 February 2018 at 11:08 AM
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        The bus was also spotted plying Geylang Rd which is not along the route of Service 107.

        Reply
  • 11 December 2017 at 10:57 AM
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    Bus is currently parked at Braddell Bus Park at the ComfortDelgro maintenance area. You can see it if you head to the maintenance area within Sparks Car Care.

    Reply
  • 20 November 2017 at 7:14 AM
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    With this new, in-line engine, double deck chassis design Volvo have finally gone away from the transverse engine with angle drive – a layout that originated with Leyland Atlantean, and continued with the Leyland and then Volvo Olympian and finally to the B9TL, currently in production.

    Reply

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