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Coach operator TransAcácia Turismo's I-Shift journey

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Volvo’s innovative automated manual transmission. Brazilian coach company TransAcácia Turismo tackles varied terrain on its charters. For them, I-Shift has improved safety and comfort for both passengers and drivers. It has also led to significantly reduced fuel and maintenance costs.
A Volvo B420 on a bridge in Brazil
TransAcácia Turismo faces hilly regions, highways and roads that can be in bad condition on its operations.

Based in Maringá, in southern Brazil, TransAcácia Turismo is well-placed for chartering coaches for organised groups and companies offering excursions to busy tourist destinations. The Brazilian Pantanal – renowned worldwide for its varied wildlife and dramatic scenery – is within easy reach. Maringá is also close to Brazil’s Argentina and Paraguay borders, a popular region for fishing tourism.

Antonio Reinaldo, Owner, TransAcácia Turismo, explains: “Our main demand is for organised tours and many of our trips can be at least 500 kilometres long.”

Antonio Reinaldo, Owner, TransAcácia Turismo

Antonio Reinaldo is very familiar with the roads in the region. He started his family business in 1963, transporting cargo on trucks. It’s an operation that is still running today. The coach charter arm of the business was established much later in 1993, catering for group trips throughout Brazil and in the ‘Mercosur’, a common market area in the south formed by Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. In 2007, TransAcácia Turismo invested in five Volvo B420 coaches, all of which featured I-Shift, Volvo’s innovative automated transmission.

 

The coach charter arm of the business was established much later in 1993, catering for group trips throughout Brazil and in the ‘Mercosur’, a common market area in the south formed by Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. In 2007, TransAcácia Turismo invested in five Volvo B420 coaches, all of which featured I-Shift, Volvo’s innovative automated transmission.
 

When it first launched 20 years ago, I-Shift offered a unique proposition: automated gear changing with a manual transmission, offering a compact design and high efficiency. It works by using intelligent electronics to continuously monitor topography, speed, torque and weight, holding or changing gear when needed. The system also communicates with the engine, allowing it to adjust the revs and brakes for best performance and fuel efficiency.

"I-Shift really improves the overall driving experience," says Antonio Reinaldo.

For Antonio Reinaldo, the benefits of an automated gearbox that uses manual technology were very apparent from the start.

“The first thing I noticed was I-Shift’s ability to reduce fuel consumption, especially on hilly routes. The precision of the gear shifts means the engine works exactly as it should, and that is one of its biggest advantages.”

When TransAcácia Turismo introduced I-Shift, the drivers needed time to adapt to it. As with anything new, there were some doubts at first, but the benefits soon became very clear.

Antonio Reinaldo says: “Initially the drivers were concerned that the engine speed would drop when climbing hills, but in fact, the Volvo B420 knows exactly when to change gear. It has the technology to do that while optimising fuel efficiency.”

“The first thing I noticed was I-Shift’s ability to reduce fuel consumption, especially on hilly routes.”

He laughs and adds: “It did not take long for the drivers to come round. I-Shift really improves the overall driving experience. It’s quieter and it reduces how tired they feel after longer trips. I don’t think any of them would go back to what we had before.”

Nowadays, TransAcácia Turismo has a pool of around 20 drivers that are trained by the company. They tackle hilly regions, highways and roads that can be in bad condition, or even unpaved in more remote areas. Passenger comfort and safety is obviously a priority.  Antonio believes I-Shift has a role to play here, too.

“We often travel long distances when transporting tourists. The gear shifts on our Volvo B420s are very smooth and there are less vibrations. That makes it more comfortable for everyone. I-Shift also means the drivers don’t have to worry about changing gear or using a clutch. They can focus on what is going on around the coach, and that makes it safer.”

Over the years, TransAcácia Turismo has benefitted from reduced wear on the brakes in the coaches that feature I-Shift. The smoother gear shifts also result in a more robust transmission. This has led to lower maintenance costs and less downtime for the business.

Antonio Reinaldo says: “I-Shift has proved to be very durable, and the maintenance is done periodically by Volvo. There are no surprises. That is really important when you are carrying tourists and you have set departure dates.”

Over the years, TransAcácia Turismo has benefitted from reduced wear on the brakes in the coaches that feature I-Shift.

Looking to the future, Antonio Reinaldo is certain that I-Shift will continue to develop and improve to support his business. Like most coach charter companies, TransAcácia Turismo has been hit hard by the pandemic. It has only just started to resume normal operations now that the restrictions are being lifted. But Antonio Reinaldo is positive about the future.

“After being at home for so long, people want to travel and be out in nature. Our tour operator customers are already seeing a demand for outdoor activities and trips. With our comfortable Volvo coaches and proximity to the Pantanal, we’re in a great position to offer just that,” he says.


TransAcácia Turismo

Established: 1993

Main business: Organised group tours and excursions, mainly to tourist destinations, fishing areas and business events.
Sister company: TransAcácia Transportadora offering cargo transportation
Location: Maringá, in north-western Paraná, a state in southern Brazil
Volvo coaches: 5 Volvo B420s and 1 Volvo B270

I-Shift's main benefits

  •  Increases fuel efficiency and, in turn, reduced environment impact, particularly in conjunction with Volvo I-See.
  • Less noise and vibrations and a smoother ride for everyone.
  • Software options for a range of applications.
  • Continuously developed and improved via software updates.
  • Robust hardware with lower maintenance costs and less downtime.
  • Improved safety as it allows the driver to concentrate on traffic conditions.
  • Improved driveability and less physical strain on the driver.

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