Verona, Italy, was the site of the Bus and Bus Business Show, held in December. This year the annual bus show was larger than in recent years, a reflection of the revitalized Italian bus market that it primarily serves.
Although the event is primarily a national bus show, there were a sizeable number of exhibitors from several European companies outside of Italy, making it a truly international exhibition. The attractive stands and the many buses also made the show very impressive, taking up three halls of the Fierra di Verona exhibition center.
Although Italian regulations do not allow buses larger than 12 meters, a number of long buses nevertheless were noted. However, many manufacturers also showcased smaller buses, as the centers of most Italian cities have very narrow streets making it necessary to operate buses as small as 7.6 meters. These buses are not van conversions or cutaways, but shortened versions of standard buses.
The Mercedes-Benz Cito, named the "Bus of the Year 2001," had a prominent spot on the Mercedes-Benz stand.
New technology was also evident, especially hybrid propulsion. The Italian bus builder Mauri and EPI (Eco Power Technology) had a hybrid drive bus with CNG fuelled gas turbine and batteries. A pure electric EPI power installation was also shown on a Cacciamali bus.
Another interesting power system, using a contactless electrification concept, was displayed by the German Wampfler firm.
Certainly a report on the Italian Show would be amiss if Irisbus was not mentioned. Irisbus grew out of Iveco of Italy, Renault of France and Hispano of Spain a few years ago, and has become a world leader in bus building. A variety of Irisbus models from small mini buses to the EuroCity urban buses and the EuroClass coaches.