Busworld Southeast Asia was staged in the Indonesian capital from October 5th to the 7th, 2022. First held in 2019, this leading industry event was officially opened by Dr. Hendro Sugiatno, Director of Land Transportation, with the Republic of Indonesia Ministry of Transport. The gala opening event, featuring a colourful cultural performance by a local dance troupe, also included a welcoming speech by Mr. Baki Lee, President Director of GEM Indonesia. Mr. Vincent Dewaele, General Manager of Busworld International along with Mr. Jan Deman, Managing Director of Busworld Foundation, also welcomed guests and exhibiters.
All spoke of the welcome rejuvenation of Busworld Southeast Asia after the COVID-19 hibernation. Mr. Dewaele remarked that it was important for all those working in the industry to support each other. He added that the Indonesian market has a lot of potential as well as some challenges. He reaffirmed the importance of global bus transportation with the announcement of Busworld Latin America, to be staged in Argentina in 2023. This, he said, was a definite indication that the global bus market was improving.
Mr. Lee also made reference to the economic situation, specifically the Indonesian economy. He stated that the economy appeared to be resilient despite the uncertainty in many other parts of the globe. He mentioned that the local economy was expected to grow by 5% this financial year and the fact that coachbuilders were receiving new orders for buses, was very encouraging.
Mr. Dewaele also commented that there is huge growth potential in Indonesia, with a similar population size to the United States. “Indonesia is also protective of its local input with a policy of Indonesian first where possible. While chassis parts can be imported, the bodywork for coaches and buses must be finished in Indonesia. The industry is quickly adapting to E-bus technology too,” he observed. He also commented that while the event is very Indonesian-oriented, the event will become more regional in the near future. He also thinks that the expo will garner more attention from regional players who will be attracted to the innovations that are occurring in the Asian bus industry.
E-buses vs Conventional Buses
There was considerable interest in E-bus technology and innovation. The Indonesian Government is actively pursuing the introduction of E-vehicles with Transjakarta, for example, having a plan to be fully electrified by 2036. However, not all industry players are as enthusiastic, with the main concerns being the lack of current infrastructure for generating power, providing a network of recharging stations and the availability of clean, sustainable, alternate and renewable energy sources.
Not all exhibitors displayed such buses, but E-buses were exhibited by companies such as Tentrem, Zhongtong, Golden Dragon and Laksana.
The Tentrem E-Innobus IEV-12-B355 is a 12 m-long bus with advanced battery technology including, an air-conditioning integrated cooling system. The vehicle has a carrying capacity of 60 (37 seated and 23 standing) and is powered by a lithium iron phosphate battery with a recharging time of two to three hours. It is the only fully-Indonesian E-bus available in the market, with 20 units already operational in Denpasar, Bali.
Zhongtong Buses and its Indonesian partner, Mobilindo Armada Cemerlang, showcased its 6 m-long Electric Bus Mode LCK6606EVGA36 which is a box-like vehicle with a maximum speed of 69 km/hour. It is powered by a lithium iron phosphate battery that drives both the motor and the air-conditioning. It has a carrying capacity of 25 including the driver, 12 seated passengers and 12 standing up. Zhongtong also displayed the 12 m-long LCK6126EVGRA1with a maximum speed of 69 km/hour. It has a carrying capacity of 33, plus a driver.
While Zhongtong is concerned about the availability of recharging infrastructure, they have had discussions with a power supplier who claims they can quickly install charging and power-generating units.
Golden Dragon displayed two E-buses; one was the 6 m-long, Allstar Electric Compact Bus Type XML6606JEV Bus CBU A/T with a capacity to transport a maximum of 24 passengers over a distance of 122 km. This includes a driver, 13 seated and ten standing. It has a ground clearance of just 120 cm and is powered by a lithium ferro-phosphate battery with a charging time of just 30 minutes.
The larger Golden Dragon unit was the 12 m-long XML6126JEVJOC3, low-entrance bus powered by a similar battery but with a capacity of 250 km and recharging time of one hour.
Innovation and Technology
New Armada showcases several buses at the exhibition including the Skylander with its dynamic design bodywork. One of the innovative features on this 12 m-long (also available at 13.5 m) coach is the LED screen at the rear exterior of the bus with the capacity to show those vehicles following the bus, the road conditions upfront. This is helpful for vehicles when they plan to overtake the coach.
Along similar lines, Stonkam Co. Ltd. provides a better view of the world by the use of cameras and electronic mirrors for driver and passenger safety. It has been in business for ten years and provides super wide-angle monitors and even radar to help vehicle operators monitor traffic. This was the company’s first time at the exhibition and company representative, Angela Li, commented that Indonesia was an important market. She was happy with the visitors to their stand and received at least 70 strong leads.
Sinar Continental, operating as Regency Transport, produces fabrics for coach and bus seats. Nathanael Koshan, a representative for the company, was also very positive about Busworld Southeast Asia 2022 as they received many strong enquiries from bus operators in Indonesia, Malaysia and India. The company has developed an anti-dust mite fabric that it is currently testing. COVID-19 has increased the need for such specialised materials. The expo presented an opportunity to show existing customers the range of their fabrics as well as show bus operators, the possibilities that exist. The expo is especially important for bus operators in the more remote parts of Indonesia. Staff were surprised at how quickly business had returned after COVID-19.
A Strong Future
Event organiser, Mr. Lee from GEM, was delighted with Busworld Southeast Asia and with the thousands of attendees who came through the exhibition. “The exhibitors were all very impressed with the exhibition and the quality of visitors. They told me that valuable business was conducted and that this was encouraging for everyone,” he concluded.
Mr. Dewaele from Busworld said that the event was very successful and that the future for Busworld Southeast Asia is encouraging. He remarked that the next event, Busworld Southeast Asia 2024, will commence planning in the near future with May 2024, the projected date. “This event is perfect for a developing market like Indonesia and I was very impressed with the quality of the products, the designs and the finish of all the buses that were on display,” he remarked. He also commented that one of the advantages of events such as this is that knowledge can be gathered from around the world and shared by all industry players. Public transport was hard hit by COVID-19, but Busworld Southeast Asia has proven that ridership is coming back and public transport is improving every day.