New 16-tonne bus from BharatBenz

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Daimler India Commerical Vehicles has introduced a 16-tonne bus under the BharatBenz brand.

Story and Photos by:

Anirudh Raheja

With an aim to tap the fast growing inter-city bus segment in India, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) has launched a new 16-tonne bus that measures 12 m in length. Adding to the company’s bus portfolio, which consists of a 9 m long BharatBenz bus (for school, staff and tourist application), and a multi-axle Mercedes-Benz luxury coach, the new 12 m long bus is available as a rolling chassis, and a fully-built vehicle. The fully-built vehicle complies with AIS 031 CMUR Bus Body code, which mandates roll over safety of up to 28 degrees. The 16-tonne BharatBenz bus is claimed to have a roll-over safety capability of up to 48 degrees. Featuring an ‘aluminique’ body fabricated without welds, particular attention has been paid to keep the centre of gravity low. This is said to lower the chances of the bus toppling over. Expressed Markus Villinger, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India, “Using ‘aluminique’ body has helped us to reduce weight by one-third in comparison to the weight of an all steel body. Lower weight boosts fuel economy.”

Powering the 16-tonne bus is a six-cylinder 6373 cc DE175 BSIV compliant turbo-diesel engine that is situated at the front. The drive to the rear wheels is through a G85 six-speed manual gearbox and a live axle. The bus chassis is of the ladder type, and has its front frame support brackets developed from cast metal to offer better protection to the driveline in case of a frontal impact. Producing a maximum power of 238 hp, and a maximum torque of 850 Nm, the bus is equipped with wider brake linings. “With localisation of over 90 per cent, we are looking forward to sell over 1000 buses against 500 buses sold last year,” averred Villinger. Equipped with ‘Glide’ air suspension that includes stabilisers and double-acting telescopic shock absorbers, the 16-tonne bus, for lower operating costs, offers oil drain interval of one-lakh kms for the engine and gearbox. Fitted with tilt adjustable steering system, the bus contains Daimler’s proven Bluetec technology. The SCR system on the bus includes an aqueous urea tank of 60 litres. The AC is a 32 kW unit from Spheros Motherson. Guaranting comfort with 790 mm legroom and a 2×2 seat layout, the bus, available with 43+driver and 39+driver seating configuration, is fitted with anti-skid top layer vinyl flooring and fire retardant materials. Built at DICV’s Chennai plant, having a 1500 units capacity, the 16-tonne bus has seen its maker tie up with six body builders in India. Of these, JCBL has gone ahead and built a sleeper coach on the bus platform. “As the market continues to grow, we will also offer new bus models. We will also introduce a 16-tonne rear engine bus later this year,” signed off Villenger.

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S-CCI Golden Cruiser procures BharatBenz trucks

Automotive engine anti-freeze coolant manufacturer, S-CCI Golden Cruiser, has procured four 30-tonne tankers built on a BharatBenz truck chassis. The company now has 10 tankers of 30-tonne each, and are used to perform the task of ferrying coolants as well as the base material, Mono Ethylene Glycol, which is used to manufacture coolants. Instances of contamination after hiring tankers prompted the company to build its own fleet. This would enable the company to meet the stringent requirements of the customers (OEMs) according to S K Singh, Director, S-CCI Golden Cruiser. The company is a supplier of anti-freeze coolants to OEMs like Tata Motors, Marut Suzuki, Honda and many others. A joint venture between, CCI Corporation, Japan, and an Indian entity, S-CCI Golden Cruiser has built a fleet of 18 BharatBenz tankers, three 30-tonne tankers from AMW, two tankers from Tata Motors, and a fleet of five tankers of capacities ranging from two-tonne to 20-tonne from Tata, Mahindra and Ashok Leyland, under its logistics vertical. This vertical ensures just-in-time delivery.

BharatBenz opens a dealership at Tuticorin

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Daimler India Commercial Vehicles has inaugurated a dealership at Tuticorin in the state of Tamil Nadu to cater to its brand of BharatBenz trucks and buses. The dealership will also cater to the Mercedes-Benz brand of luxury coaches DICV manufactures in India. The dealership at Tuticorin is the 12th dealership DICV has launched in the state of Tamil Nadu. It marks the fourth BharatBenz touch point in the region by Jayraraj Trucking. Illustrating rising demand for BharatBenz products in the industrial belt of Tamil Nadu, the company, it is clear from the new dealership, is pursuing quality for a better ownership experience. Apart from laying stress on fully-built trucks and efficient buses, DICV has been also laying stress on a one stop shop experience for its truck and bus buyers at dealerships. Jayaraj Trucking already has a dealership point each in Tirunelveli, Trichy and Madurai.

BharatBenz Financier Conclave stressed on easy finance.

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. (DICV), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG recently held the BharatBenz Financier Conclave in Mumbai. About 200 representatives, both from DICV’s partners and Daimler executives are known to have actively participated in the whole exercise. Aimed at improving DICV’s existing financial solutions for customers of BharatBenz truck and buses, at the conclave, Erich Nesselhauf, Managing Director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles emphasised on the need to offer innovative financing solutions for the company to be able to achieve substantial growth. Nesselhauf acknowledged the 25 banks and Non-banking Financing companies (NBFCs) known to have partnered DICV. Apart from these external financiers, DICV’s customers can also approach BharatBenz Financial, the independent financial services arm of the company for finance, insurance and service related needs. 

Mining deep

Article by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

The Indian-made BharatBenz 3143 deep mining tipper is set to change the way the deep mining tipper segment will be looked upon.

From behind the wheel of the new BharatBenz 3143 deep mining tipper, the view ahead is almost uninterrupted. It is a far cry from the trucks of yesteryear where the cabin was cramped and the driving position uncomfortable. Displayed at the AAI show at Hannover last year as a ‘Made-in-India’ product along with the left-hand-drive Fuso truck, the 3143 has begun rolling out of the Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) facility at Oragadam, Tamil Nadu. A commercial launch is scheduled later this year. Impressive is the attention to design and ergonomics. The day cabin flaunts good built, presents a good service of space. The large, sweeping dashboard may look a touch bland, it does not feel like it was built to a price. The modern instrument panel has two large dials. At the centre is a digital readout which indicates the gear the vehicle is currently in. If it is in the manual mode or the auto mode or if the differential-lock is engaged, and more.

Equipped with a 12-forward, 4-reverse G330 ‘Powershift’ constant mesh Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) that is operated by means of a multi-function stalk (paddle shift) on the steering column, the 3143 deep mining tipper that I am at the helm of, is filled with 28-tonnes of cargo. Enough to make me realise that this truck, referred to as Thunderbolt internally, is rated at 31-tonnes and equipped with a 29 cu. m. rock body from Satrac. The hydraulics are from Hydromass India.

Gearshift is activated by moving the multi-function stalk vertically. Moving it laterally activates or releases the exhaust brake. Pushing the ring on the stalk gets the transmission into neutral. A button at the end of the stalk also facilitates a similar function. It marks a world of change from manual transmission. With the gears positioned such that the first gear amounts to first-low, and the second gear amounts to first-high, highlighting the G330 transmission’s splitter arrangement, a switch on the centre console and part of a three-switch bank, enables the move to manual mode. Conversely, it also facilitates a move back to auto from manual. In the auto-mode, the transmission is sensitive to the push of the accelerator pedal and brake, thus shifting up or down. One of the three-switch bank is a switch for the air-conditioner. Not far from it and closer to the steering column, is the parking brake lever. On the other side are the HVAC controls.
If the cabin of the 3143 deep mining tipper reflects the amount of comfort an European driver has come to expect (most trucks in Europe are fitted with air-suspension), it is the quality perception that is carried over to the outside.

Subjected to extremely strenuous conditions and expected to operate for 22 hours in two shifts everyday, with the sole break for refilling fuel, deep mining trucks typically ferry overburden in a mine. Since three deep mining tippers come at a price of one dump truck, they are a preferred lot. Capable of ferrying 48-tonnes in-line with the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) regulations, and 31-tonnes according to CMVR rules, overloading of deep mining tippers is always a possibility. The need therefore is to withstand such conditions. Replacing Mercedes-Benz Actros, and with 90 localisation at the chassis level (powertrain is sourced from Germany), the 3143, according to Erich Nesselhauf, CEO, DICV, will be a game changer with its low acquisition cost and strong technological prowess.

To facilitate the nature of its application, the cabin of 3143 is situated 180 mm higher. Riding on 24-inch diameter wheels and off-road tyres the truck looks intimidating. A ‘Make-in-India’ ambassador according to Nesselhauf, it looks slightly different from the one that was displayed at the 2014 IAA show at Hannover, Germany. The 3143 thus has been treated to a facelift. The grille, in matt black is now more pronounced and wider. The BharatBenz logo is at the centre. It does not take long to find out that the cabin of the 3143 has been inspired by that of the Axor C. Contributing to an impression where even when standing still, the 3143 looks brutish, a dandy looking bumper includes the head lights (with daytime LEDs in them). At the bottom of the bumper is a scrub plate.

Walk over, and thick wheel arches painted in the same shade of grey as the bumper draw attention. Just aft of the cabin, and ahead of the superstructure is the hydraulics hardware. Structured on a chassis that is made from high-strength E500TM material, the 3143 deep mining tipper, ironically is easy to drive. There is no clutch pedal to deal with. All it takes is to step on the accelerator. In auto, it does not take long for the transmission to shift into 4th gear. Speedo needle shows 25 kmph. With speeds in mines for such trucks topping out at 40 kmph, the 3143, employing a 400 series engine in comparison to the 500 series engine found in the Actros, produces less power but more torque than that of the Actros’ engine. A mere touch of the brake pedal retards the machine, and leads to the transmission downshifting itself.

If a torture track leads to considerable axle articulation, which is easily accomplished, the 3143 was subjected to many ‘torture’ tests in Indian mines and at Daimler’s testing facility in Germany to ensure that a robust, reliable and efficient solution was arrived at. Development on the product started two years ago, and as part of a strategy to offer a highly diverse range. Also meant for export under the BharatBenz and Fuso brand, the 3143 gives the impression of being refined. Not much noise is filters in. Outside, I am sure, it is noisy owing to the viscous clutch fan, which creates quite a din. Powered by a 430 hp, 12-litre OM457 six-cylinder motor, this 8×4 truck, with a wheelbase of 4380 mm, has two front steered axles. The rear bogie arrangement contains Meritor axles with hub reduction.