SAO PAULO, Brazil, April, 2020 - With head offices in Rio de Janeiro, Caprichosa Auto Onibus has always been at the forefront of urban commuting buses technological advancements. In the quest for innovations to bring the business’s fleet to
a new level of development, the company decided to see how a fully automatic transmission performs in their vehicles.
In partnership with Allison Transmission, the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty automatic transmissions, the entire modification and customization process required installing two Allison 3000 Series™ automatic transmissions in two Mercedes-Benz buses — the OF 1418 and the OF 1722. In late 2010, the two buses set up their journey through neighborhoods and sub-districts of Rio de Janeiro.
“My father has always tried new technologies and solutions that may benefit our company,” said José Alberto Barboza, the Group’s CFO and son of José de Castro Barboza, the founder of the Group that includes the Caprichosa
Auto Onibus and Auto Viação Tres Amigos. “He chose to develop these prototypes in partnership with Allison to provide users with greater comfort, due to smoother seamless shifting. He also considered the benefits that automatic
transmissions could bring in reducing maintenance costs.”
Both models were built from new chassis and monitored by Allison engineers for all modifications and developments required during daily operation. The buses have always been operated on heavy traffic routes and, whenever possible, driven by the same drivers.
“We had many good surprises with these prototypes, one in particular is the lack of downtime. Except for some minor changes inherent to any modification, they perfectly adapted to the automatic transmissions. Drivers also work in a better mood,
are safer and less tired as they don't need to shift gears. This is very important for the company because this type of labor is extremely relevant in our segment. We also noticed that the passenger perception is that the automatic transmission
vehicle is more comfortable with no bumping at shifting,” said Barboza.
In the 1.1 million kilometers and nearly ten years of operation with the automatic transmission, the prototypes have stopped only once at 857,000 kilometers for corrective maintenance of naturally worn out parts other than the transmission. It is also important to note that, according to the company’s experience, a manual transmission bus after this same mileage will have stopped approximately 12 times to change the clutch, plateau, discs, etc. Meaning, these parts on the average need replacement at every 90,000 kilometers. A high cost for vehicle downtime, parts, and workshop services.
“Whoever fails to get updated falls behind and this is outrageous for any economic activity,” said Barboza. “There is no doubt that automatic transmissions are an evolution from which our industry cannot turn our eyes. After this experience with automatic prototypes, we bought ten Allison-equipped Mercedes-Benz OF 1721, custom made for the Group companies,” said Barboza.