IRIZAR i6S UN­VEILED IN OZ

It was paella and chorizo all ’round as san­gria-filled glasses toasted Span­ish bus maker Irizar’s stun­ning i6S lux­ury coach body of­fi­cially launch­ing for Asia-Pa­cific, in Mel­bourne re­cently.

ABC (Australia) - - CONTENTS - WORDS / IM­AGES FABIAN COT­TER

We at­tended a fancy func­tion in Mel­bourne to cel­e­brate the of­fi­cial launch of the new Irizar i6S body. A stack of in­dus­try heavy­weights and iden­ti­ties made the trek to check it out. Fabian Cot­ter re­ports.

MIX­ING stylish Euro­pean i8 coach looks with an ADRwidth-com­pli­ant prod­uct for lo­cal use based on the cur­rent suc­cess­ful i6 body­work, the new i6S looks trim and taut and comes avail­able in high-deck 3900mm height.

At an of­fi­cial gala cer­e­mony at the Mel­bourne Ex­hi­bi­tion and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, re­cently, as the spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to the ven­er­a­ble i6 coach body that first launched in Aus­tralia in 2012, the I6S al­ready had an ‘or­der in­take’ of around 20 units, with six of them landed in Aus­tralia.

“So far Dysons, Aus­tralia Wide Coaches, Sid Fogg’s, Com­pass Tours, Al­ston Coaches and Around Town Tours are the first ones to re­ceive the new i6S,” ex­plained Irizar Asia-Pa­cific gen­eral man­ager, Daniel Cas­tro.

“We hope to con­firm many more or­ders after the launch; some

re­mark­able op­er­a­tors are now shift­ing to Irizar,” he added.

So why the i6S now? Cas­tro says 2018 is a very im­por­tant year in Aus­tralia for Irizar.

“It is 12 years since we have pro­duced the first Irizar coach for Aus­tralia in 2006. The Irizar i6S is land­mark be­cause it is the first model com­pletely de­signed for Aus­tralia, with the ex­pe­ri­ence that we gath­ered along the past 12 years,” Cas­tro said.

“In 2006 we de­liv­ered one unit in Aus­tralia, 2018 will be our record with 95 units. In 2019 we fore­cast over 100 units. To date, more than 750 Irizars are on Aus­tralian Roads. Ocea­nia is fig­ur­ing in the top 10 mar­kets, in vol­ume, within the Irizar Group.

“Irizar in Aus­tralia is owned by Irizar Spain. We are a fac­tory branch that started in 2015 with just two em­ploy­ees and to­day we em­ploy 30 peo­ple, across four states,” he said.

GLOBAL OUT­LOOK

The i6S was first launched in Europe in 2016. Con­ti­nen­tal Amer­ica got it in 2017, Ocea­nia and Africa in 2018.

Cur­rently, there are more than 2,500 Irizar i6Ss on roads all around the world – hall­mark­ing it as proven tech­nol­ogy, it would seem. In 2017, there were record sales of this model with more than 500 units de­liv­ered in dif­fer­ent mar­kets, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

“The Irizar i6S is to be the new ‘top of the range’ for Irizar in Aus­tralia. It is only avail­able in the high-deck ver­sion, 3900mm. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that for our cus­tomers the Irizar i6S will co­ex­ist with our Irizar i6 char­ter and school ver­sions,” Cas­tro said.

SHE’S GOT THE LOOK

The new i6S in­her­its ad­vances of the i8 de­sign in the Irizar Group with the adop­tion of straight lines and the V-shape con­cept, the com­pany says.

Op­er­a­tions and TOC (to­tal cost of own­er­ship) were the fo­cus of the new de­sign, ac­cord­ing to Cas­tro. First is the fuel sav­ing.

“The i6S has spe­cially de­signed air con­di­tion­ing. The project en­com­passes the de­sign of air ducts con­cern­ing in­su­la­tion and air­flow. The con­densers have re­ceived a front air in­take, which im­proves the ef­fi­ciency at speed and re­duces the elec­tric con­sump­tion,” Cas­tro said.

“The new thermo-in­su­la­tion also en­hances cli­mate sys­tem per­for­mance year round. Ev­ery stan­dard light in the new i6S has now been re­placed (above the i6) by LED low-con­sump­tion lights. The anti-fog­ging sys­tem de­signed by His­pa­cold does not run the air-con­di­tion­ing com­pres­sor at all times, pro­vid­ing even bet­ter econ­omy in win­ter.”

Then there’s the op­er­a­tion cost. Key to this is spare parts com­mon­al­i­ties with the i6. All glass pan­els and sec­tions and air-con­di­tion­ing parts are the same for both mod­els, he says.

New ad­vance­ments also in­clude driver com­fort im­prove­ments. There’s a new dash, with re-po­si­tioned driver con­trol panel. The fi­bre­glass parts were re­placed by in­jec­tion-moulded pan­els (lighter and more durable), and there’s a new front area with wider-ac­cess steps. Long-dis­tance trav­ellers in par­tic­u­lar will like the new toi­let area, which has been re-de­signed to a more com­pact lay­out – pro­vid­ing greater in­ter­nal space and op­tion for a men’s uri­nal and baby change ta­ble.

SEAT­ING COM­FORT

“Sty­leride and McCon­nell are our his­tor­i­cal part­ners and we’ve been able to build ex­cel­lent re­la­tions with them along the years, work­ing on spe­cial projects,” Cas­tro said.

“The new kid on the block is Sege seats [a Turk­ish seat man­u­fac­turer], which is gain­ing some mo­men­tum sell­ing their prod­ucts. At the mo­ment, seats are a cus­tomer’s choice and we are happy to col­lab­o­rate with all man­u­fac­tur­ers.”

IN­SIDE TECH

“The i6S is fully Mul­ti­plexed and works with Ac­tia equip­ment de­signed and man­u­fac­tured in France,” Cas­tro said.

“The sys­tem en­com­passes a con­trol panel [seven-inch touch­screen com­bined with switches] and three nodes. All the soft­ware in­tel­li­gence is de­vel­oped in-house.”

Left:The band wowed the crowd.

Above:The launch re­sem­bled the scene of a stylish night­club. Op­po­site:The new Irizar i6S lux­ury coach body was of­fi­cially launched for the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion at the Mel­bourne Ex­hi­bi­tion and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

Top L to R: Irizar Asi­aPa­cific gen­eral man­ager, Daniel Cas­tro; Ad­dress­ing the au­di­ence.

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