After four years of HIGH anticipation, the wait proved worthwhile! Ashish Bhatia navigates the flourishing landscape of greener bus and coach mobility.

Busworld International returned to its roots, setting the stage for a successful edition in Brussels right from the outset. The 2023 edition presented in all its grandeur with the towering Atomium symbolising scinetific progress. The flagship building was among the constants from the 25th Anniversary Edition of the mega bus and coach fair in 2019. This year the fair recorded a footfall of 40,120 visitors from 111 countries, hosting a whopping 350 press members from 111 countries. Mieke Glorieux, Managing Director of Busworld Europe thanked all exhibitors, visitors and speakers for their loyal participation. “We are eternally grateful for the confirmation of your trust and enthusiasm after four years. And most importantly we’ll be back in two years this time!” she exclaimed. The leg muscles faced a workout marathon in the colossal 75,000 sq. m. exhibitor spread out, conquering 7.8 kms of aisle tours alone. 526 exhibitors from 38 countries made their presence felt.

This year also marked the milestone of 182 brand new inclusions in the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) exhibitor list from different regions around the world: Ermisbus from Greece, Gelushi from Egypt, Habas from Turkey, Ikarus from Hungary, JBM from India, Rampini from Italy, Quantron from Germany, Skoda from Czech Republic, Steyr Automotive from Austria, TAM from Slovenia and VagBus Bus from Romania. The blend of the new exhibitors in the mix lent to a wider reach and a greater impact than in the past exhibitions with a total of 75 bus and coach manufacturers (up from 66 in 2019). 222 vehicles were on display across the inner exhibition halls with 29 demonstration vehicles parked outside for a handsome experience of the latest features and advancements. Turkey led the exhibits with 96 companies, Germany with 79 companies, and China with 61 companies. The signature Busworld touch rekindled old memories as it allowed for soaking in deep insights about the future of bus and coach led mobility.

The European ZEB Conference and the Busworld Digital Awards were the other marquee inclusions this year. The European ZEB Conference, for instance, coincided with Busworld Europe. The conference drew from past editions held across venues in Paris (2021), Online (2020), Cologne (2018) and London (2016). The fifteenth edition drew in 450 attendees from the zero-emissions stakeholders. A noteworthy collaboration between Busworld Foundation and ZEB, it put the spotlight on zero-emission long-distance coaches.

20th Busworld Vehicle Awards

Continuing with the old tradition of physical vehicle awards that have been a major draw at the event, this year, the role of digitalisation, an increasingly significant one, had the jury focus on the category of digital solutions. A separate jury judged the participation of the digital exhibitors and the nominees responsible for heightening the productivity of the buses and coaches. They made a compelling case for the jury and the competition levels were high. The 20th Busworld Vehicle Awards honoured excellence in Safety, Ecology, Comfort, and Design.

Bus Category

  • The Grand Award Bus: Mercedes-Benz eCitaro
  • Runners-up (alphabetical order): Anadolu Isuzu Citivolt and Ebusco 3.0
  • Label of Excellence DESIGN: VDL Bus & Coach Citea New Generation
  • Label of Excellence COMFORT: Mercedes-Benz eCitaro
  • Label of Excellence ECOLOGY: Ebusco 3.0
  • Label of Excellence SAFETY: Anadolu Isuzu Citivolt

Coach Category

  • The Grand Award Coach: Setra S 516 HDH
  • Runners-up (alphabetical order): MAN Truck & Bus – Neoplan Tourliner L and Van Hool T16 Astron
  • Label of Excellence DESIGN: Yutong T15 E
    Label of Excellence COMFORT: Setra S 516 HDH and Van Hool T16 Astron
  • Label of Excellence ECOLOGY: Yutong T15 E
  • Label of Excellence SAFETY: Setra S 516 HDH

Digital Awards, the first edition

This year the maiden edition of Digital Awards within the Digital Mobility Solutions Conference, another first at Busworld was received well by the stakeholders of the industry. It was admitted that the world of buses and coaches cannot exist without all the digital solutions that contribute to being as safe, efficient and operational as possible. Marc Vanhoutte, Chairman of the Busworld Awards explained, “It was a necessary add-on to the existing Vehicle Awards and we received a lot of positive feedback on it. The signal was clear that Busworld has its eyes on the digital bus and coach transformation”. Co-Chairman Thorsten Wagner, Editor-In-Chief of the German magazine ‘Bus Blickpunkt’ added, “Digital is the future of bus and coach! It is fascinating what happens on the market and we loved to define the winners together with all the different expert jury members.”

The Digital Awards were divided into four different categories:

‘Digital On-Board Comfort’ comprises everything from new entertainment systems to Human Machine Interface (HMI) Solutions, that make the voyage experience for passengers as well as drivers more enjoyable and comfortable.

The winner was MAN Truck & Bus and their new Digital Cockpit with SmartSelect. The new Digital Cockpit from MAN is a clear step into the HMI future. With its innovative ‘SmartSelect’ operation and the full integration of the new electric platform and the latest ADAS systems it helps the driver to concentrate on his/her job without irrelevant distractions.

Other nominees were:

Actia for ‘ACTiVi solution’ and Navaho Technologies for their ‘Navaho Transport Systems’.

‘Digital Operational Excellence’ is very important to manage one’s fleet in a way that combines efficiency and sustainability with telematics and other systems, that cannot be omitted today by any means.

The winner was Iveco Bus with ‘IVECO ON Heavy Buses Digital Services’. The IVECO ON Digital Services for Heavy Buses meets the needs of most PTAs and PTOs in terms of proactive maintenance and downtime reduction with specialised KPIs and trends available on online reports, as well as remote diagnosis and programming. The protection against cyber attacks is another focus of the system. Multi- brand data management with the ‘agnostic’ telematics system is possible as well as the integration of third-party app., which was the biggest reason to vote for this all-encompassing telematics system.

Other nominees were: TOTT UP for ‘GPS Training Partner’ and ZF Group for SCALAR.

‘Digitally Enhanced Driving’ is all about partially and fully autonomous vehicles and all the sub-technologies and tools they require to be able to perform.

The winner was Karsan with the autonomous e-ATAK. The Turkish OEM developed and produced the world’s first SAE-level 4 serial production autonomous bus. Together with the renowned partner ADASTEC, a software company, Karsan developed and implemented the software of the autonomous vehicle and the lidar and sensors applied to it together. The fully homologated midi bus has already been in operation since 2021 in the US and since 2022 in the EU (Norway), which makes it prize worthy in a very tangible way. It could be test-driven on the premises of Busworld Europe.

Other nominees were: Anadolu Isuzu for their ‘V2X-System and Daimler Buses for ‘Active Drive Assist 2’.

Last, but not least, the category ‘E-Mobility Management’ has been incorporated in the awards. Modern e-mobility is no longer about vehicles alone, but about whole systems to operate and charge a fleet of buses in a way that saves time and money.

The winner was ChargePoint/TWAICE for their ‘Battery Health Package’. ChargePoint and TWAICE as leaders in their fields of expertise teamed up to combine their unique strengths and bring the world’s first battery analytic solution that is seamlessly integrated in fleet management software to the market, independent from single OEMs. TWAICE brought their expertise in battery analytic, building on top of the ChargePoints Data Hub, and jointly integrating it into the ChargePoint system for maximum customer value. The all-encompassing and OEM-agnostic approach to an absolute focus topic in electromobility and battery safety convinced the jury to the full.

Other nominees were: MAN Truck & Bus for their ‘eManager’ software and Rampini for the hydrogen system ‘Hy4Drive’.

Innovations 2023, a new concept

Busworld Europe 2023 witnessed an exciting showcase of innovation, with companies competing for the prestigious title of “Busworld Europe 2023 Innovation.” The event saw a two-step process that engaged both the Busworld Awards jury and the visitors, culminating in the recognition of 10 outstanding innovations.

First, the Busworld Awards jury carefully defined a shortlist from the pool of participants, recognising the most promising and ground breaking innovations in the field. This initial selection process ensured that only the most noteworthy innovations advanced to the next round.

The second phase of innovation recognition involved the enthusiastic participation of the event’s visitors. They had the opportunity to cast their votes of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the respective participant booths. This interactive approach not only engaged attendees but also allowed for a broader perspective on what innovations truly resonated with the industry’s stakeholders.

Following this rigorous process, the following companies were celebrated as the top innovators and awarded the esteemed title of “Busworld Europe 2023 Innovation”:

  • 3 in 1 DRL/DI/POS combination light by Superlee Corporation
  • Athenia ENVI Heat Pump with R744 by Thermo King
  • CO2 Heat Pump by Konvekta
  • EcoBusRapidDesign by Ctrine Engineering
  • Eleather by Generation Phoenix
  • I6s Hydrogen Efficient by Irizar
  • JTSolar Glass by Jaakko Tuote Oy
  • Reflexcontrol by Saint Gobain
  • ServoE by Bosch
  • Twiliner Coach Seat by Twiliner

This year was about taking in the reflections of the bus and coach manufacturers and turning the spotlight to ancillary suppliers in Europe. They collectively narrowed down technologies to mitigate climate change and addressed the demands of the future of mobility. The 2023 edition had the task for exhibitors cut out and they did not disappoint. At Busworld Europa 2023, MAN Truck & Bus, for example, showcased the latest NEOPLAN Tourliner claimed to have received a major technical upgrade with inclusions like the OptiView digital mirror-replacement system. To mark the 20th Anniversary of the NEOPLAN Tourliner, the OEM launched a high-quality Diamond Edition of the model. Daimler Buses came in with eight buses and coaches from Mercedes-Benz and Setra and brought along vehicles like the eCitaro G FuelCell for test drives in the outdoor area of the exhibition venue. It also lined up the premiere of a fully electric fuel cell eCitaro solo. The latest NMC3 battery, Brazilian eO500U city bus chassis, and the new Active Brake Assist 6 (ABA 6) emergency braking assistant besides the Preventive Brake Assist 2 and the new Sideguard Assist 2 kept the visitors engaged.

Solaris drew footfalls offering an experience of two zero-emission buses: the Urbino 18 electric bus equipped with a new generation of batteries, on a new driveline architecture and an articulated hydrogen bus. With a fleet of 11 vehicles, Iveco drew attention to its sustainable mobility journey this year. From the e-Daily minibuses and chassis, e-way new generation, to the Streetway Elec and Crossway Le Elec. It also highlighted its collaboration with FPT Industrial on the latest NMC Battery technology besides the integration with ADAS for European General Safety Regulation compliance. Irizar attracted the visitors with its “efficient” range. From the new i6S Efficient Hydrogen coach to the new i6S coach and the i8 coach. It also showcased the electric ie Tram. Otokar, Karsan, ZF, Eberspaecher, Tribus Group, Masats and JEMA Energy was among the other exhibitors with a noteworthy presence this year.

Busworld International concluded on a high and took the opportunity to announce that Busworld Europe 2025 would be hosted at Brussels Expo from October 04-09 with sales for existing exhibitors commencing in spring 2024. New exhibitors will have the opportunity to secure their spot from May 2024.


Karsan presented its 100 per cent electric product range. The company on the back of growth in its primary target market Europe is building on the momentum gained from products like e-JEST and e-ATAK. Okan Baş, CEO of Karsan, said, “We are uninterruptedly growing in Europe, our primary target market. We passed 2022 as the leader in Europe thanks to 100 per cent electric e-JEST and e-ATAK. Our rise continued in the first half of 2023.” The company in the over five-tonne segment ranked fourth in the market with a 6.7 per cent share. e-JEST, the electric minibus has topped the market for three years, attaining a 24 per cent share in H1-FY24. e-ATAK, in the electric midi bus class in Europe for two years, has attained a market share of 26 per cent in the same period. By the end of 2023, the brand presence will be extended to 22 countries with a total of 1,000 units. North America with 30 e-JESTs is the latest target market. It is expected to go up to 100 by the end of the year. A right-hand drive e-JEST model will be made available in the Japanese market where the company has set itself a target of 300 units over the next three years.

The company also exhibited the autonomous e-ATAK, and e-ATA Hydrogen models from its 100 per cent electric product range. In the case of the former (autonomous e-ATAK), the first electric autonomous bus carrying passengers in Europe and America had a demo run in the parking unit on the sidelines of the fair. The company is also piloting platooning with two to three or more eight-metre e-ATAK autonomous buses that would in effect operate as articulated buses. The company has also enhanced customer touch points with the 24by7 call centre, an online help desk, and a remote diagnostic system put in place known as the Karsan Flying Doctors. The company has also accelerated spare parts availability with hubs in Germany, Bursa and Italy. For extreme climatic conditions, the company is banking on advanced heat pump technology for minus-25-degree temperatures. The company is also focusing on weight shaving to the tune of 900 kgs through the use of recyclable, lightweight aluminium and carbon fibre materials soon.


JBM Electric Vehicles (India) created a buzz as the only Indian OEM to participate. It showcased the latest electric mobility offerings aimed at penetrating the global markets. Nishant Arya, Vice Chairman and MD, of JBM Group stated, “Our mission is to decarbonise city and intercity travel by creating new and sustainable global benchmarks.” The company engaged visitors with the unveiling of its electric luxury coach – ‘Galaxy’. It also launched its electric city bus – ‘Ecolife’. “We are delighted to offer clean, silent, energy-efficient and sustainable public transport solutions over the years. Public transport is a highly customised domain with each city and customer having specific requirements. We work closely with various stakeholders and customize our electric mobility solutions as per their needs,” Arya mentioned. The company succeeded at driving home the core product ethos of performance, safety and comfort with its showcase. It achieved its objective as a flagship company of JBM Group, a USD 2.6 bn global conglomerate with four decades of excellence in driving product innovation and value across automotive, buses and electric vehicles, EV charging infrastructure, and EV aggregates.

Backed by five engineering and design centres with multiple global manufacturing facilities and a presence in over 37 countries. The OEM boasts of an annual manufacturing capacity of over 20,000 buses, and positions itself among the world’s largest dedicated integrated ebus manufacturers. Its order pipeline of over 5000 ebuses in different geographies across various applications is a testimony. The offerings are backed by the JBM E-Verse – an EV ecosystem with end-to-end solutions for electric mobility. The company takes pride in being able to customise the ecosystem and its components to meet the needs of the operating pattern across geographies.


Temsa focused on a sustainability-oriented mobility strategy. At Busworld, the company showcased three different zero-emission models. The company displayed the ebus Avenue Electron. It also showcased the LD SB E, positioned as Europe’s first electric intercity bus. The company also unveiled an intercity hydrogen-powered bus, known to be developed in collaboration with Europe’s hydrogen OEM CaetanoBus. The bus with a 1,000 km range under the Joint Development Agreement is expected to combine the Toyota hydrogen fuel cell technology used in CaetanoBus for its city buses and leverage TEMSA engineers’ know-how in electric and long-distance buses. The bus could enter mass production in 2025. Temsa CEO Tolga Kaan Doğancıoğlu stated, “Today, we demonstrate our commitment to sustainability with a product range that includes 10 different vehicles, consisting of eight electric and two hydrogen-powered vehicles. The company is leveraging global platforms like CDP, SBTi, Global Compact, and Ecovadis. As the sixth manufacturer of the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) certificate for the Avenue Electron bus also on display, the company drew attention to the production facility powered by renewable energy sources. In 2023, Temsa attained a growth performance of 30 per cent in North America, increasing its market share to almost 20 per cent.

Rampini Carlo S.p.A.

In its maiden edition, the medium-sized Italian bus builder Rampini Carlo S.P.A in Passignano sul Trasimeno (IT) drew visitors’ interest by showcasing its full portfolio of zero-emission buses. Packaged in a compact size, the highlight of the showcase was the new hydrogen range extender midi bus Hydron. The bus is expected to go into production in 2024. The electric version of the eight-metre midibus Eltron boasted of a new design language called ‘Stile Energetico’. Leading Italian Design Studio Vernacchia is known to have worked on the design. The company also showcased the six-metre length model Sixtron capable of seating up to 28 passengers.


ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Solutions (CVS) division showcased the advanced new AxTrax 2 LF electric portal axle for low-floor city buses. Made available in two variants, the continuous power outputs of 260 kW and 360 kW and peak torques of 22,700 Nm and 37,300 Nm are on offer. With the more powerful variant, it is possible to achieve a climbing ability of 20% even for articulated buses of up to 29 tons with one driven axle. Staking its claim on the transition towards sustainable solutions, the new axle is claimed to offer improved performance. Its series production is scheduled to commence in 2025. “Adding AxTrax 2 LF to our comprehensive range of electric powertrains is a powerful expansion of our game-changing scalable and modular e-Drive kit,” stated Winfried Gründler, Driveline Systems Product Line Leader at ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Solutions division. Gründler reiterated ZF’s role in complete turn-key systems or components as a one-stop-shop to help electrify manufacturers’ vehicle platforms worldwide. The AxTrax 2 LF low-floor electric axle comes with two stand-alone Silicon Carbide (SiC) inverters and a high-performance electric control unit, that makes it an all-inclusive e-drive system for city buses. The design is compact to help OEMs optimise the space distribution for passengers or the batteries.


As transportation solutions evolve to more sustainable offerings, German company Eberspaecher has shifted focus to hybrids and battery-electrics. The new air-conditioning system for hybrid and battery-electric as well as conventional buses AC135 was presented for the first time at Busworld Europe in Brussels. Confident that the percentage of BEVs will rise in every global market, the company has fine-tuned its portfolio of thermal management solutions. Its new roof-mounted air-conditioning system AC135 is a lightweight construction claimed to offer lower consumption rates. The added advantages include short installation times and a small roof footprint due to the reduced length (the smallest version is only 1.88m). The single-piece design has been crafted carefully and addresses the requirement of easy access and serviceability.


Kempower known for DC fast-charging technology showcased its state-of-the-art EV solutions at the event. The company showcased the Kempower Satellite charging system, Kempower Liquid Cooled Satellite, Kempower Pantograph Down, and Kempower Movable Charger from its product portfolio. The modularity and scalability of the DC fast charging solutions are claimed to enable electric commercial vehicle fleet owners to scale up their charging infrastructure in tandem with their growing fleets. The Kempower ChargEye for Depot, the cloud-based charging management software, facilitates the safe and secure running of depots backed by reliability. Through dynamic power distribution, the charging capacity is dynamically distributed to ebuses at depots and charging hubs. The charging can be both monitored and controlled in real time.

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