Report - Force Motors launches new Traveller 26, the world's largest monocoque panel van bus

17/10/2012 - 11:04 | ,   | Shoeb Kalania

Force Motors launched the new Traveller 26 in standard (left), school bus (middle) and air-conditioned (right) variants as -

Force Traveller 26 front endForce Traveller 26 school bus variant front endForce Traveller-26 AC variant

  • India’s most advanced 26 seater Bus
  • World’s largest Monocoque Panel Van Bus
  • Best in Class Fuel Efficiency - 15% more efficient than competitors
  • Safest drive in class: Disc brakes on all wheels

Force Motors Traveller 26 standard variant and AC variant interior

Force Traveller 26 cabinForce Traveller 26 driverForce Traveller 26 air-conditioning vents

The Traveller 26 is claimed to be the most advanced offering from Force Motors in the 20-30 seater segment. Some of the features are first in the segment, developed by the Pune-based manufacturer in association with local and international suppliers.

Force Traveller 26 standard and school bus variant

Force Traveller 26 standard variant rear three quartersForce Traveller 26 school bus variant rear three quartersForce Traveller 26 school bus and standard variant

The Traveller 26 is powered by a 4-cylinder 16 valve CRDI engine, which is made under license from Daimler AG., Germany. It produces a power output of 129PS @ 3,800 rpm and a torque of 295 Nm @ 1,600-2,400 rpm. It boasts of the highest power-to-weight ratio in its category of 18 kW per tonne as compared to 12kW per tonne of comparable models.

Force Traveller 26 rear view mirrorForce Traveller 26 driver controls

The engine is BSIII compliant, which means it cannot be registered in metro cities.

For the first time in India, Dual Mass Fly Wheel Technology has been used on an LCV in India. This absorbs low end vibrations and ensures smooth ride even at low speeds. A 5-speed synchromesh gearbox is claimed to offer low friction and smooth gear changes. The Clutch lining is specially designed for frequent start-stop operations that is experienced in city driving.

Force Traveller 26 school bus variant interior and exterior

Force Traveller 26 school bus rear door openForce Traveller 26 school bus cabinForce Traveller 26 school bus dashboard

The Traveller 26 offers best in class fuel efficiency, it is 15% more fuel efficient than comparable models. In actual world tests conducted by the company, the 26 managed a fuel economy of 9kmpl for highway use and 8kmpl during city use.

The Traveller 26 is the only 26 seater with monocoque construction offering good structural strength and unmatched durability. It is also the only vehicle in the segment to adopt the Cathodic ElectroDeposition Dip (C.E.D) painting process for primer application.

The company said this offers the highest levels of rust protection and car-like top coat finish and gloss retention.

Force Traveller 26 launch with Mr. Prasan FirodiaForce Traveller 26 school bus variant side

Ventilated disc brakes are fitted on all wheels, which is also a class first. Load Conscious Regulating Valve (LCRV) and electronic indicators for wear and tear of brake pads improve passenger safety.

Other segment firsts are lowest floor height for easy entry and exit, lowest centre of gravity, lowest NVH, wide body interior of 2.2 meters, a wide aisle and plenty of leg room.

The Traveller 26 is designed and engineered completely by the R&D team of Force Motors. It is entirely constructed of pressed steel panels and welded using automated robots.

Price of the Force Traveller-26 (ex-showroom Pune)

  • Standard – Rs. 10.87 lacs
  • School bus – Rs. 11.17  lacs
  • Deluxe (Air-conditioned) – Rs. 13.78 lacs

Initially the Traveller 26 will be available through 27 dealers in Maharashtra and Goa. A brief test drive proved that the Traveller 26 is a very good city commuter. The NVH levels were very low, very much like what we experience in a personal utility vehicle. Seating comfort was good for short journeys. Plastic quality and fit and finish in some areas can be improved.

The performance of the suspension and brakes were commendable.

Pointers from the press conference

  • More than 65,000 Travellers have been sold till date. Maximum numbers of Ambulances are based on the Traveller.
  • A CNG variant for the 26 is also in development and will be launched in the future.
  • A Hybrid model on the Traveller platform, showcased as a concept at the Delhi Auto Expo this year, is still in the concept stage and could see a release if there is backing from the government for such technologies.
  • The Traveller 26 could be launched in luxury variants that will have lower seating capacity and get goodies like air suspension, and better interiors. Optional extras such as ABS brakes will be launched next year.
  • Around Rs. 50 crores was invested in the making of the Traveller 26.
  • The 4X4 variant of the Force One will launch towards the end of 2012.
  • Force Motors would be launching a new premium MPV next year. This vehicle is also to be made under license from Daimler AG.
  • The company did not discuss the relaunch of the Gurkha.
  • Currently Force Motors supplies 100% of the engine and axle assemblies for Mercedes C, E, S and M Class models. Till date more than 28,000 engines have been supplied to MB India, warranties of which are supported by Force Motors.

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