Volvo Buses India Launches 15-metre Sleeper Coach With Lower TCO

T Murrali
24 Nov 2021
08:00 AM
2 Min Read

The bus comes with electronically controlled air suspensions, electronic braking systems with pneumatic backup and a steerable rear-axle.

Volvo Bus

Volvo Buses India (VBI), part of VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV), launched on Tuesday its first fully built multi-axle sleeper coach built on B11R chassis priced at INR 1.5 crore. The company said it has received an order from Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for eight coaches. The bus maker has begun applying for tenders in the 9-metre electric bus segment under the Eicher brand. 

VBI has developed about 15 prototypes, for Volvo and Eicher brands, during the pandemic-induced muted sales and production cut. Some of them will become production models and might hit the roads in the near future. 

According to VBI, the benchmark sleeper bus body platform can also be applied to the Volvo B8R range that includes 12m and 13.5m chassis. 

With its 11-litre D11K engine, imported from Volvo’s mother plant in Gothenburg, Sweden, the bus can run continuously for over 20 hours, enabling the fleet operators to optimise its uptime, and to improve the operating economy. 

Sharing his experience from South Africa, Akash Passey, President, Bus Division, VE Commercial Vehicles, said he had witnessed customers running buses hauled by similar engines for 1,900 km daily. He said the 15-metre bus reduces total cost of ownership (TCO) and improves operating economy because of its higher ticket fare and capability to run long distances for longer time and the life span of 17 years, though for city buses it is 25 years, with standard maintenance.

While the higher fare for sleeper coaches help better operating economy, the 52-seater version gains from the lower diesel consumption per passenger. 

Volvo D11 Engine


The engine features a turbocharger and intercooler backed by common rail technology, delivering 430hp of power at 1,700-1,800 rpm. It delivers a maximum torque of 2019Nm at 1,008 – 1,400 rpm. Mated to a 12-speed I-Shift gearbox with an automatic gear changing system, the transmission responds to the gear changing faster with minimum interruption in torque delivery during changes and wide-ratio span. In addition, it is integrated with a compact hydrodynamic retarder VR3250. All these features make the vehicle deliver improved fuel economy and long service life. The engine also contains a dual fuel filter and water separator with a heater and electrical priming feature. 


With a kerb weight of 16.45 tonne (with 90% fuel, spare wheel and tools), the coach provides 12.5 cu.m of personal luggage space for each passenger and a fully sealed saloon area. The interior features fire-retardant grade fabrics, plywood, cushions, and ABS surfaces for safety.

Other features include electronically controlled air suspensions and electronic braking systems with pneumatic backup.  

Volvo 15M coach


The coach, fully compliant with all relevant automotive standards and norms, has been developed on Volvo B11R chassis (originally 14.5 metres) by extending the rear overhang by half a metre and height by about 280mm to accommodate 39 berths against 34 berths in the 13.5-metre equivalent bus. 

The seater version is also offered in the 15-metre configuration. However, the company made no changes in the powertrain or mapping as it wanted to play on the standardisation between the sleeper and seater coaches, not only in production but also in after sales service. 

The rear overhang increases the engine compartment volume, helping better thermal management and managing the NVH characteristics. 

The vehicle is provided with a steerable axle at the rear for negotiating sharp curves easily.

According to Passey, about 50 - 60% of the bus transportation is back to pre-COVID levels, and for the industry to recover, it would be a good start if it witnesses sales of 50 to 100 units of sleeper buses a month. The market size of the coach (including seater and sleeper) segment was around 6,000 units before COVID. Moreover, the all-India tourist permit announced by the Union government enables the fleet operators to run interstate buses, he mentioned. 

The 15-metre bus, “the fruit of the synergy between Volvo Bus India and VECV, adds a new dimension to long-distance transport,” he said. The bus has enabled the company to offer customers a bouquet of products to choose from, Passey added.  

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