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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.