Stagecoach, one of the UK’s biggest bus operators, has launched a six-week trial in Liverpool of a new hi-tech bus powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) – the first trial of the MAN-manufactured vehicle in the UK. The 12-metre single-decker EcoCity bus has an engine that is quieter than traditional diesel-engined vehicles and also has significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than standard buses.
The bus can also run on biomethane, a fuel already used by Stagecoach as part of a project in Lincoln, England.
The low-floor bus, which is right-hand drive for the UK market, is expected to meet the new Euro 6 engine emissions standards, which come into force on 1 January 2014.
While CNG fuelling infrastructure in the UK is in its infancy, there is no need for large stocks of fuel to be managed and stored in a bus depot, because gas is drawn from the national grid as required. For the purposes of this trial however, a Stagecoach spokesperson informed NGV Global News that the EcoCity bus will be fuelled by a portable rig supplied by MAN and the Gas Bus Alliance.
Stagecoach is already the UK’s leading investor in greener hybrid electric buses and the evaluation of the gas bus is part of the company’s wide-ranging commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.
Sam Greer, Stagecoach UK Bus Regional Director, said: “We are looking forward to testing the performance of the gas bus in Liverpool over the next six weeks. This will allow us to compare its fuel consumption and operating costs against other types of vehicles in our fleet. We continue to look at a variety of technologies to help reduce our carbon footprint and offer greener, smarter and better value transport to our customers.”
MAN has already supplied more than 7,000 CNG buses that now operate throughout the world. Fleets of MAN buses are already running on biomethane in both Sweden and the Netherlands.
Tony Griffiths, of MAN Truck and Bus UK Ltd, said: “We’re thrilled to have a major operator such as Stagecoach running these very important initial UK trials. MAN gas-engine technology has been well-proven throughout the rest of the world, and we are confident it can contribute a significant reduction in costs and emissions – both central to the future of passenger transport and the UK environment.”
Last year, Stagecoach Group was awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring and reducing its carbon emissions. It covers all of the Group’s bus and rail operations in the UK.