Economy: Lead further extended with new technologies and assistance systems

Nov 7, 2022
  • Top-starting point: Top aerodynamics, perfectly coordinated drivetrain, comprehensive Omniplus service
  • PPC adopts the speed and gearshift strategy on almost all roads outside urban areas
  • Efficient on-board electrical system voltage reduces energy consumption
  • From Eco Driver Feedback to Driver Score: The driver trainer is always on board

Touring coach experts know it: One of the outstanding properties of every Setra touring coach is maximum economy. It will be further increased in the next generation of TopClass and ComfortClass HDH and HD models – a particular plus in economically difficult times with high fuel prices. The next generation of TopClass and ComfortClass further expands the efficiency with revolutionary assistance systems. Optional Active Drive Assist 2 enables semi-automated driving in all speed ranges in a touring coach for the first time. This means more safety – and more economy. The intelligent, fuel-saving cruise control Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) comes as standard equipment and is now even more powerful. With its extended map material, almost all roads outside urban areas in Europe are covered in addition to highways and major highways. And the new optional Driver Score assistance system continuously provides the driver with up-to-date feedback, including specific recommendations for action – for maximum driving economy.

Top starting point: Top aerodynamics, perfectly coordinated drivetrain, comprehensive service

It was an unmistakable bang: With a long roof vent at the front, a highly curved windshield, an aerotail with a tear-off edge and numerous other detailed measures, Setra TopClass 500 and ComfortClass 500 vehicles achieved a new record in their segment with a drag coefficient of cd= 0.33 at their premiere. In addition, the body was automatically lowered at highway speed to reduce the front surface area. A perfectly coordinated drivetrain from a single source with engines, transmissions and low-friction drive axles are further highlights.

Maintenance intervals of up to 120,000 kilometers or two years, the exemplary 24/7 service and the largest touring coach-specific service network in Europe provided by Omniplus. In addition, Omniplus On offers a wide range of digital services, including Omniplus Uptime, the permanent monitoring function of all essential functions in the touring coach. Industry experts also consider the high value retention of a Setra to be an important point. The next generation of Setra TopClass and ComfortClass is further expanding the lead.

PPC adopts the speed and gearshift strategy on almost all roads outside urban areas

The further developed and Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) predictive cruise control – standard in Setra TopClass and ComfortClass – integrates a driving style adapted to the topography into the automatic transmission and, in conjunction with the precisely coordinated gearshift strategy, enables noticeable fuel savings. With the new, optimized generation, the system is now even more powerful. PPC operates on country roads, considers intersections and traffic circles, and is networked with adaptive cruise control. Operation is already possible from a speed of 15 km/h.

Optimized and further developed for the future of intelligent driving, the PPC predictive cruise control is a prime example of digital networking for touring coaches. It draws on the topographical data of more than 95 percent of highways, major highways and intercity roads in many European countries. PPC always knows the current position of the touring coach and its upcoming route including altitude profile or gradient via GPS. Based on this data, the current and specified speed, the current vehicle mass and the data on engine output, torque and transmission, PPC regulates the speed and influences the gearshift strategy. EcoRoll is also used here: In worthwhile cases, the technology selects the neutral position of the transmission and thus allows the coach to roll more economically without drag losses. The engine continues to idle. The technology then re-engages the appropriate gear.

Improved PPC cruise control avoids unnecessary braking, accelerating or shifting on winding country drives and thereby helps the driver achieve a wear-free and fuel-saving driving style.

If PPC is activated on intercity routes and the system identifies a coasting situation, the target speed and the reason for the speed reduction (curve, roundabout, right-of-way, stop) are displayed in the instrument cluster. Based on the stored maps, PPC automatically reduces the speed when entering towns, as well as ahead of bends on country roads with a narrow radius or obstacles such as roundabouts and stop or right-of-way situations. The driver then takes over the necessary stopping procedure. They can adapt the deceleration behavior to road events in five stages, depending on the current situation, from a dynamic to a particularly economical driving style. It can also set a curve speed factor in five stages in order to take into account the boundary conditions such as lane width and roadside structures. In this case, the range extends from a particularly passenger-friendly variant to a dynamic variant, for example when driving without passengers. PPC interventions can be overridden by the driver at any time by means of their own brake application or actuation of the accelerator pedal, so that the driver always remains in control. After having manually passed an obstacle manually, the driver has the option of switching cruise control back on, which then accelerates back to the set speed. In any case, the driver remains fully responsible for the safety of any passengers. The interaction between PPC and adaptive cruise control can also further improve fuel efficiency: ART continuously provides the system with information about vehicles ahead so that the intelligent cruise control system can plan the gearshifts and speed profile ideally and make the best possible use of the momentum of the vehicle for coasting phases.

Efficient on-board electrical system voltage reduces energy consumption

Even seemingly small things can have a noticeable effect. Previously, the on-board electrical system voltage had the goal of bringing the batteries to a state of charge of 100 percent as quickly as possible and keeping them there. From now on, the on-board electrical system voltage of Setra TopClass and ComfortClass will be selected according to efficiency factors. This means: In coasting phases, the charging voltage is increased in order to charge free energy into the battery. Conversely, the charging voltage is reduced in traction phases – i.e. when accelerating or when requiring high levels of output on uphill gradients. This relieves the strain on the alternators and thus reduces fuel consumption. If the batteries' state of charge drops below 70 percent, the function is deactivated and an optimized charging voltage is set for the battery. The function is deactivated at regular operating-hour intervals and the optimized charging voltage is applied for a certain period of time for battery maintenance and thus for the service life of the batteries. Efficient regulation of the on-board electrical system voltage reduces fuel consumption by around 0.3 percent.

From Eco Driver Feedback to Driver Score: Driver trainer is always on board

With Driver Score for greater sustainability: The new assistance system evaluates the current driving behavior according to numerous parameters as well as the use of the driver assistance systems and enables prompt improvement of the driving behavior through individual feedback and suggestions on the display. Driver Score provides the driver with important support. With practical messages on the display, they can continuously optimize their driving style. The system evaluates in four categories – acceleration, braking, balance and coasting.

Driver Score evaluates the personal driving style according to certain parameters for each of these categories. In the braking category, for example, the frequency of retarder use at the highest level instead of actuating the service brakes is evaluated or even the sensible sequence of braking. In the acceleration category, on the other hand, pressing the accelerator pedal or the engine speed is analyzed. With the next generation, the scope of monitored parameters will once again increase significantly. A step that makes efficiency tangible.

Based on the experience of recent years, developers have redefined the parameters for assessing the condition of the vehicle. Indications of low fuel levels, AdBlue and engine oil are also important for an efficient driving style. Driver Score also recognizes the influence of other categories that have an impact on cost awareness – for example, tire pressure. There is also feedback on the individual driving style. This is displayed to the driver while driving or optionally afterwards. In the form of a bar in the display, they receive practical information on optimizing the journey in the event of significant deviations from the ideal driving style. This ensures cost-conscious and efficient use at all times.

Making the most of vehicle systems – with Omniplus Expert Handling Training

New functions, complex technology – the innovative assistance systems in the Setra TopClass and ComfortClass place high demands on the driver. You have to understand them to benefit from them. Omniplus Expert Handling Training is a training course on how to make optimum use of all technological systems of the next generation of TopClass and ComfortClass. So that touring coach drivers are safer, more economical and more confident on the road.

Omniplus Expert Handling Training raises awareness among drivers of the safe, economical and ecological use of touring coaches. As a special service, driver training takes place where the knowledge is needed: on site at company premises. In addition to a theory part, the training program also includes test drives with practical instruction. Expert Handling Training can also be combined with other Omniplus driver training courses. And: All Omniplus driver training courses are recognized as further training within the meaning of the Professional Driver Qualification Act.