The challenge is open: today SBY organizers released the list of candidates. Nine vehicles are competing, three for each category (Urban, Intercity and Coach). The Urban section has been reconfirmed as an “electric bus only” land.
City buses all electric
Among city buses, indeed, the challenge will be between three battery electric vehicles: Mercedes eCitaro, Irizar ie tram and Heuliez GX 437 Elec. Last year the award was delivered to a trolleybus, the Iveco Crealis In Motion Charging.
The eCitaro is the first full electric bus ever launched by Mercedes, and has already been ordered and partially delivered in several German cities (Hamburg, Berlin, Mannheim, Wiesbaden).
Heuliez is one of the three awarded brands for the maxi tender held by RATP. Furthermore, 49 units of GX 437 Elec will be operated by Qbuzz in the Netherlands. The Irizar ie tram is running in Barcelona and in Amièns, on a newly launched BRT operated by Keolis.
Gas is the ‘boss’ of intercity category
In the ‘Intercity’ segment, the finalists are Scania Interlink LD LNG (fuelled with liquid natural gas), Iveco Crossway Natural Power in Normal Floor version (CNG fuelled) and, finally, the mild hybrid Solaris Urbino 12 LE Lite Hybrid unveiled last year. The latter is the only intercity candidate not equipped with a gas engine.
Among coaches, the Mercedes Tourismo Safety Coach will face the VDL Futura FHD2 (in the new version featuring ZF Traxon) and the Scania Interlink MD LNG. the first LNG coach in the world.
Eight countries in the jury
The jury represents eight European countries. The network, indeed, consists of Mobilités Magazine (France), Busfahrt (Germany), AUTOBUS (Italy), OV-Magazine (Netherlands), InfoBus (Poland), Infotrucker (Romania), Carril Bus (Spain) and, as a new entry, Bus and coach professional (UK).
The shortlist is the result of a first selection, SBY organization points out. Each juror submitted its candidates, and the vehicles that achieved more nominations (three per category) were included in the finalists list. Now the jurors will proceed with the second step, carrying out a detailed evaluation of the shortlisted vehicles according to SBY criteria. The criteria are split in the following areas: Engine, Transmission, Safety, Comfort, Sustainabiliy.
Sustainable Bus Award is based on a cross-cutting idea of sustainability, intended as the ability to establish a positive image of the vehicle to the eyes of the general public. Several aspects can come into play, such as safety, comfort, noise, recyclability of components and the general environmental commitment of the manufacturer.