The world’s first Euro 6 double-deck natural gas powered bus is ready to undergo two months of tests ahead of delivery to the British market, slated for later this year. The bus, developed by Scania and assembled in the United Kingdom by mi Vehicle Integration Limited and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), recently arrived at the Port of Gothenburg before being driven more than 400 kilometres to the Scania Technical Centre in Södertälje.
The bus was developed in response to customer demand, after the success of Scania’s single-deck model in the UK. The first order for five double-deck buses has been confirmed by Reading Buses, which already maintains a fleet of 34 Scania single-deck renewable natural gas (RNG) buses and was the first UK operator to begin running the single-deck variant in 2013.
“There is a significant interest with operators throughout the UK, and a number of serious inquiries are being processed by Scania Great Britain and Alexander Dennis,” explains Mark Oliver, Bus and Coach Fleet Sales Manager for Scania Great Britain.
According to Oliver, a major challenge in developing the product was modifying the fuel system to ensure that the bus offers an acceptable range for operators. Fuel tanks for single-deck gas buses are often placed on the roof of the vehicle, a solution that, due to height restrictions, was not possible on the new double-deck model.
Like many diesel-powered double-deckers, some of the bus’ fuel supply is stored underneath the stairs behind the driver. However, the majority of the gas is stored in a new compartment behind the upper passenger area.
This wasn’t the only additional challenge for the development of the innovative bus, as engineers also had to fit the gas engine into the double-decker’s smaller engine compartment and deal with increased heat output, according to Tudor Clipii, assignment manager for the project.
While in Södertälje, the bus will undergo numerous tests in which, among other things, the engine software and fuel consumption will be optimised.
In addition to being quieter than diesel models, the renewable natural gas bus will also produce much lower carbon emissions. “We’re pleased that we’ve got a vehicle that uses fuel from a low-carbon, sustainable fuel source, in both single and double deck models,” said Oliver.