In a move designed to reduce its carbon footprint and drive down operating cost, UK bus company Reading Buses is to invest GBP 3.5m (USD 5.5m) in a fleet of 19 natural gas-powered buses developed jointly by Scania (Great Britain) Limited and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL). They will be the first Scania-ADL gas buses to enter service in the United Kingdom and will operate on a variety of services in and around the Reading area.
Based on the 12-metre Scania KUB 4×2 chassis, the vehicles will be powered by Scania’s 270 horsepower EEV 9.3-litre five-cylinder, energy-efficient lean burn gas engine, which is capable of operating on either Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Bio Natural Gas (BNG / biomethane). The engine offers high efficiency and low fuel consumption with no need for exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). It is based on the same platform as Scania’s modular-build 9.3-litre diesel engine, which limits the number of new components required for the low entry gas chassis to around 40 items.
The vehicles will feature single-deck 40-seat Enviro E300NG bodywork, designed and engineered by ADL, Scania’s gas bus development partner. A third company closely involved in the project is Gas Bus Alliance (GBA), which will provide infrastructure and fuel supply to Reading Buses.
Robert Davey, ADL’s Commercial Director, says: “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do as a business and providing a raft of green, alternative solutions remains top of our agenda. This landmark partnership with Scania tackles the challenge of neutral emissions and improved air quality head-on and we are delighted to be working with them. Collaboration is the name of the game if we are to harness best-in-class technology and bring it to market in a way that makes sense for manufacturers and operators. As ever, Reading is in the vanguard of those pioneering new technology and operating excellence.”
Scania has produced gas-powered vehicles for almost 100 years, with one of the earliest recorded examples being buses adapted to run on producer gas during the First World War years. Scania first produced a dedicated gas bus engine in 1940. In more recent times the company has supplied in excess of 3,800 gas engines for various applications in a number of countries worldwide. These include fleets operating in the Swedish municipalities of Uppsala, Malmö and Helsingborg as well as vehicles in Madrid, Spain and Brisbane Australia.
Under Reading Buses’ contract with the GBA, a kilogramme of bio-methane will be injected into the national gas grid for every kilogramme of gas used by each vehicle in the company’s new fleet. As such, the entire operation qualifies for carbon-neutral status.
(This article compiled using information from a Scania (Great Britain) Limited press release)