|Years in operation||Dec 2018–|
|Transmission||Volvo AT2412E I-Shift|
|Accessibility||Low Floor & Wheelchair-accessible|
|Emission Standard||Euro VI (EGR + SCR)|
The Volvo B5LH (also known as the Volvo BRLH or B5L Hybrid) is a low-floor, twin-axle, diesel-hybrid city bus chassis built by Volvo Buses for both single-deck and double-deck buses. The bus is commonly fitted in Europe as a double-deck bus, with bodywork options from Wrightbus, ADL and MCV.
50 units of the Volvo B5LH single-deck bus were procured by the Land Transport Authority in 2017 as part of efforts to build a more environmentally friendly public bus fleet. These buses are bodied with the MCV Evora bodywork (stylized as eVoRa) and entered service from December 2018. Read more about the procurement process here. Initially, these buses were incorrectly referred to as Volvo 7900 Hybrid buses in Volvo press releases; they are in fact different from the completely-built-up integral bus offered by Volvo.
European and Australian bus operators are primary customers of the Volvo B5LH, particularly in the United Kingdom where more than 1,100 vehicles have entered service since its introduction in 2009. The Volvo B5LH is also the basis for the Volvo 7900 Hybrid integral bus, which is deployed in the UK, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Estonia, Poland, as well as Colombia.
Volvo B5LH buses made its revenue service debut with SBS Transit on 10 December 2018, running on Bus Service 272, while the revenue service debut with SMRT Buses was on 21 December 2018 on Bus Service 920, 972 and 973.
Related Article: Volvo B5LH – Chassis and Technical Overview
Pre-production units of the Volvo B5LH were manufactured in 2008, with serial production commencing in 2010. Like the Volvo 7900 Hybrid, was initially offered with a Euro V/EEV diesel or CNG engine in both rigid and articulated bus variants. The Euro VI engine range was offered starting from 2013.
As its name implies, the Volvo B5LH runs on both diesel and electricity (more specifically, a parallel hybrid drivetrain), which achieves up to 39% fuel savings and reducing NOx/PM emissions by almost to 50%. By using electricity to power the bus during periods of high energy demand, less strain is put on the combustion engine, hence lowering fuel consumption and emissions.
The standard 10.5-metre Volvo B5LH variant is available in both LHD and RHD models and the chassis can be extended if required. A current 18.0-metre articulated variant is also offered.Volvo Hybrid System - Technical Details (Click to expand)
In the Volvo B5LH, electricity is generated during cruising and regenerative braking, and stored in lithium-ion battery cells. The energy in the batteries is released to assist the engine in powering the vehicle. Hence, the engine is less strained while accelerating or going up hills, reducing fuel consumption.
The Volvo Hybrid Driveline is the core of the parallel hybrid system, comprising of four main components: the Euro VI diesel engine, the I-SAM motor, the automated gearbox and the energy storage system. The Integrated Starter Alternator Motor (I-SAM) is key to the hybrid process, combining a motor/generator with a Powertrain Control Unit and a DC/AC Power Electronic Converter (PEC) to convert the electrical energy into mechanical energy and vice versa in-between periods of motoring and regenerative braking.
In a parallel hybrid drivetrain, the combustion engine and the electric motor are connected to the transmission independently. During periods of high energy demand, both the electric motor and the combustion engine power the transmission This differs from a series hybrid drivetrain, where the bus is propelled exclusively by the electric motor, and the internal combustion engine is connected to an electric generator which converts the energy produced by the internal combustion engine into electric power for the motors.
In Singapore, 50 units of the Volvo B5LH bodied with the MCV eVoRa bodywork were procured by the Land Transport Authority in 2017 as part of efforts to build a more environmentally friendly public bus fleet. Read more about the procurement process here.
These buses were registered between 1 November 2018 and 19 March 2019 as SG3000T to SG3049D.
|Basic Technical Specifications|
|Engine||Volvo D5K240, 5132cc
Power/torque rating of 240hp (177 kW) @ 2200 rpm | 900Nm @ 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
|Motor / Battery||Volvo I-SAM Electric Motor, paired with Li-Ion batteries
600V AC permanent magnet motor, rated at 160 hp (120 kW) /800Nm max and 94 hp (70 kW) / 400 Nm continuous
Acts as a generator to recharge 600V / 4.8 kWh lithium-ion batteries during braking
|Transmission||Volvo AT2412E I-Shift gearbox
Twelve-speed automated transmission
|Bodywork||MCV eVoRa Bodywork
Assembled in Egypt, and shipped to Singapore fully assembled
|EDS||LECIP Electronic Destination Sign|
|PIDS||LECIP OBC-VISION Passenger Information Display System
LED text displays, LCD display screens and interior speakers
|Passenger Capacity||28 seated + 56 standing (with 2 wheelchair bays)
|Additional Specifications||SMC Transit door systems
Valeo REVO-E electric air-conditioning system
Mobileye 630 & Mobileye Shield+ Collision Avoidance System
TNT Surveillance Golden Eye Anti-Fatigue System
Volvo I-Coaching Telematics
FOBO Ultra Wireless Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
Hella Aglaia APS-R-PoE Automatic Passenger Counters (Entrance & Exit doors)
USB Charging Ports
As a diesel-electric hybrid bus, the Volvo B5LH combines a conventional internal combustion engine and an electric motor for its propulsion system. The small, 5.1-litre diesel engine is supplemented by the Integrated Starter Alternator Motor (I-SAM) system, which draws electricity from onboard Lithium-Ion batteries and supplies it to the propulsion motors during periods of high energy demand. Energy is delivered directly to the drive train via a set of 120kW permanent-magnet motors, and the batteries are gradually recharged when cruising and through regenerative braking. The I-SAM electric propulsion system thus reduces the workload on the diesel engine, resulting in better fuel economy and lower vehicular emissions.
Another unique feature of the bus is the Volvo AT2412E I-Shift semi-automatic transmission originally developed for trucks, where the bus executes manual gear changes automatically, without any input from the driver. The bus accelerates in ‘steps’ very similar to a manual transmission, but the optimized transmission keeps the acceleration smooth.
New requirements imposed by the LTA for new buses include an enhanced Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) comprising LED text displays, LCD display screens and interior speakers. In addition, an exterior-facing display screen and an external speaker is included. An Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), driver fatigue detection system, high-definition CCTV cameras, and passenger counters at entrance and exit doors of the bus are just some of the additional specifications required by LTA.
Buses were first spotted in Singapore in late August 2018, and registration commenced on 1 November 2018 (with SG3003K – SG3005E to SBS Transit, while SG3007A, SG3009U & SG3016Z to SMRT Buses). The last units were registered on 19 March 2019.
One chassis unit is housed at the Bus Technical Specialist Certification Centre (BTSCC), located at Ulu Pandan Bus Depot and used for technician training. ComfortDelGro-owned Metroline operates Volvo B5LH double-deck buses in London. SBS Transit is also part of the ComfortDelGro group.
When delivered to Singapore (and exhibited in IAA2018), these buses were painted in an incorrect shade of green. All Volvo B5LH buses were subsequently repainted in Singapore to a lighter shade of green matching LTA’s standard Lush Green.
Check out Volvo B5LH – Chassis and Technical Overview for a technical coverage of the Volvo B5LH.
These buses are bodied in Egypt by MCV, sporting the eVoRa bodywork.
The Volvo B5LH is designed with its drivetrain components flushed to the left of the chassis to accommodate a full-low-floor design and a third door at the rear right-hand-side of the bus (for left-hand-drive markets). As local units do not have a third door, this space is occupied by normal seats.
Several engine components, such as the air filter and intercooler, are mounted vertically, occupying the width of 2 seats at the rear of the bus.
The roof of the bus is enlarged to conceal several hybrid bus components. The 600V hybrid batteries are at the front; the air conditioning unit is in the middle. The rear houses the air intake, radiator, and air compressor.
The bus features 28 permanent seats. Being a low-floor bus, the bus offers step-free access from entry/exit doors until the last row of seats.
Like most single-deck buses in Singapore, the Volvo B5LH buses are 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.
Seats were supplied by Vogel Industries of Malaysia (Model: System 750/3) in Blue, with priority seats in Maroon.
As part of new LTA requirements, the bus features two wheelchair bays, both located opposite the exit door. They each accommodate one passenger-in-wheelchair (PIW), and are also equipped with USB charging ports. A seatbelt is also provided for wheelchair users and the securing of prams.
Priority seats, which are indicated in Maroon seat covers, occupy the seats between entry and exit doors, as well as the first row behind the exit door. The maroon colour theme extends to the wheelchair backrests.
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. Metal stanchion poles and handlebars are coated in Turquoise, supposedly for better identification for the visually challenged.
Yellow bus stopping bell-pushes are located around the bus cabin, mounted to stanchion poles, with a section the stanchion pole around the bell also coated in yellow to aid with visual identification. Emergency hammers are located on pillars in-between windows.
The turquoise display unit on the bottom left is the New Onboard Bus Equipment (NOBE) fare collection system controller. Above the NOBE is the Trapeze Common Fleet Management System (CFMS) display unit. The gear selector, door controls and the handbrake lever are located on the right of the driver. A CCTV monitor, located above the driver, assists with monitoring of the surroundings. The Electronic Display Sign (EDS) controllers are co-located with the CCTV monitor above the driver.
The Volvo B5LH buses come equipped with the Golden Eye Driver Anti-Fatigue System, supplied by TNT Surveillance. The camera unit is installed on the top of the dashboard.
USB Charging Ports
The bus is equipped with USB charging ports for all seats on the side panels of the bus. A single charging port has room for two USB cables, rated 5V. The ports are similar in design to the ones used on the Alexander Dennis Enviro500 (Batch 2) and the Volvo B8L buses.
Passenger Information Display System (PIDS)
New LTA specifications demand the provision of Passenger Information Display Systems (PIDS) for commuters. One roof-mounted interior display panel is mounted above the centre aisle, near the exit door of the bus. A second, exterior-facing panel is placed near the entrance door, next to an Electronic Display that shows the bus route number, destinations, and the next few MRT stations that the bus serves.
In addition, the interior of the bus also features two LED Colour Text Displays which shows the service number, destination, and name of the next bus stop. They are mounted at the front and rear of the bus.
Wheelchair accessibility is offered via a manual wheelchair ramp installed at the rear door. New LTA specifications also call for two wheelchair bays on new buses in line with providing for an ageing population. They also offer more standing space, as well as room for unfolded prams.
Both wheelchair bays are located opposite the exit door, and each accommodates one passenger-in-wheelchair (PIW). A unique feature of these buses is the aisle-facing foldable handlebar at each wheelchair bay, which can be manually deployed and stowed depending on the needs of the passenger.
The handlebar unlocks by concurrently pulling out the side locking plunger, and pulling the handlebar off the top grey bracket. This would allow the handlebar to be lowered into a horizontal position. To stow the handlebar, raise the handlebar into the holding bracket and push the side lever into the handlebar locking position.
Each wheelchair backrest contains a foldable seat that doubles as a rear-facing seat for one person. These seats do not contribute to the licensed seating capacity of the bus.
An automatic passenger counter (Hella Aglaia APS-R-PoE) is installed above the front and rear doors. Also a new specification required by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), this feature enables the gathering of more accurate passenger loading data.
IAA 2018 Exhibition
One completed unit for Singapore (Chassis Number YV3T1U221JA191117) was showcased at the 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, Germany in September 2018. This unit was later registered SG3001R on 19 March 2019.Photos (Click to expand)
Civil Defence Academy Loan
One unit of Volvo B5LH, SG3042Y, was loaned to the Civil Defence Academy in late January 2019 till March 2019 for Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) training purposes. Throughout the loan period, the bus was not registered.
A Volvo B5LH Chassis is housed at Ulu Pandan Bus Depot as part of the Bus Technical Specialist Certification Centre and used for technician training. It was exhibited at the Ulu Pandan Bus Depot Carnival.
Check out Volvo B5LH – Chassis and Technical Overview for more chassis pictures, with labelled components.
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