Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CAPpings - India - Transportation -The All-Composite Corrosion Resistant Bus Comes To India

A composite bus is lighter, consumes less fuel and resists corrosion and damage better than steel-bodied buses. While the initial cost is higher, its maintenance is cheaper making the total cost of ownership attractive.

The All-Composite Bus Comes To India

A technology that can make passenger buses lighter and more efficient comes to India in its search for mainstream acceptance. The idea of a composite bus is as simple as it is compelling. In the manufacture of a conventional bus, a chassis or the basic framework to hold all the parts is made with steel. Then, a body is built on it using more steel. A lot of welding goes into binding everything together. In the end, we have a very heavy product that has thousands of independent components.

On the other hand, a composite bus body is just two moulds fused together. Engines, seats and other stuff are fitted into this shell. And voila, the bus is ready. But the irony is that the all-composite bus is not in the mainstream anywhere in the world. In fact, it has seen wide adoption only in the US state of California. From European nations to Korea, bus operators are warming up to this technology but are yet to make large-scale commitments. Even in the US, success has not been easy. The pioneer, North American Bus Industries (NABI), had to wait for nearly a decade before it got accepted in the market.

India is on the threshold of becoming one of the hottest markets for buses in the world. Economic growth has led to a whopping increase in public transport needs in its burgeoning cities. For long, the demand was for only about 30,000 buses a year but the graph has now taken a steep turn upwards. In 2010, bus sales in India reached a record 38,000. Industry experts expect the number to reach as high as 60,000 by 2015.

Much of this demand will arise for better quality, high-tech and luxury buses. Till recently, the market was dominated by rickety, noisy buses that broke bones. In many cities, commuting was a nightmare because too many people were crammed into too few buses that were poorly maintained. Cash-strapped state-run bus corporations bought the cheapest models available and never invested in modern technology, emission reduction or passenger comfort.

Article Source: http://forbesindia.com/article/big-bet/the-allcomposite-bus-comes-to-india/24892/1
Publication Date: 12 May 2012

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