New double-decker bus features DENSO’s A/C system

DENSO’s global market leader status in developing and manufacturing advanced Air Conditioning systems has been underlined with the debut of the Caetano Invictus in the double-decker market. The low-entry Scania vehicle has been developed to satisfy a Translink tender, but will be available to retail customers.

Caetano and Scania have furthered their relationship with the announcement of a ‘dual first’, as an Invictus double-deck body on a low-entry chassis has just been unveiled at the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont Estate in Belfast.

A batch of 12 coaches measuring 13.2m with seating for 76 and worth approximately €5.8m has been built for Northern Ireland bus operator Translink. The buses will shortly enter service on route 212 between the province’s two largest cities, Belfast and Londonderry.

Caetano has long been associated with the fleet market thanks to its established arrangement to supply the Levante single-decker for the UK’s National Express work; Translink’s 12 Invictuses follow this lead. Each bus is expected to cover 200,000km per year. Caetano has also revealed that a 14.2m version is being considered.

Francisco de Magalhães, Caetano International Sales Advisor and Scania Bus and Coach Fleet Sales General Manager, Mark Oliver, confirm that interest in the Invictus has already been received from other operators, both fleet and retail.

A new chassis

Caetano has no plans as yet to build the Invictus on other chassis.

“The first Invictus has been to our plant at Södertälje in Sweden for thorough comfort testing, and the results were excellent,” says Mr Oliver. “We were very surprised at just how well it performed.”

Scania won the Translink tender – which was contested by a number of other manufacturers – with what Mr Oliver describes as “a very competitive price.”

The coaches have largely been funded by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Departments for Regional Development and Enterprise, Trade and Investment through the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme.

DENSO’s expertise

Caetano has manufactured the 12 Invictuses for Translink to a high standard. They have 57 seats upstairs and 19 on the lower deck when not configured to carry a wheelchair, all finished in real leather and with three-point belts, and are fitted with USB charging points and Wi-Fi.

Mr de Magalhães points out that despite the ‘family’ look shared with other models, the Invictus is an all-new coach. Very few parts are common between models. Instead, the Invictus’ engineering concept is based more closely on the double-decker bus body built on Scania chassis and sold to two Hong Kong operators in the recent past.

However, the Invictus does share the DENSO air-conditioning system, albeit with two compressors rather than three, by using the unique (fuel saving) variable stroke technology.

Translink paid very close attention to this part of the specification, and the rear-mounted unit provides 36kW of cooling capacity and 20kW of heating. Mr de Magalhães points out that the DENSO unit has proved reliable in the testing Hong Kong climate, and that it has “no worries whatsoever” about its suitability for European coach use.

The driver has his or her own separate climate control system, and heating of both saloons is also provided by perimeter radiators.

Operator’s view

Translink Head of Bus Fleet Engineering Paul Slaney has been heavily involved with the Invictus since the tender was awarded around a year ago.

While none of the 12 have yet seen service, Mr Slaney says the operator’s first impressions are good, and he also pays tribute to the level of co-operation between Caetano, Scania and Translink.

At the end of January, it was confirmed that a follow-up order of six further coaches would be built, again featuring the same A/C system, demonstrating Translink’s confidence in DENSO as a world-leading provider of automotive air conditioning.

Find out more

Further details of DENSO Aftermarket’s A/C systems are available online at A/C systems page, on TecDoc or from your local DENSO Aftermarket sales contact.