U.S. bus manufacturer DesignLine Corporation has completed all phases of the federal-required Altoona testing of its 45 foot compressed natural gas (CNG) coach bus, which has running in revenue service on NJ TRANSIT routes. NJ TRANSIT has given DesignLine the notification to proceed with the manufacture of 76 buses, the total number identified in the contract.
The CNG-powered bus offers the design elements of a coach bus coupled with the cost savings associated with natural gas propulsion. The resulting bus, called the ECOCoach, is an efficient, clean burning coach designed for over the road and intercity use. With the first Altoona-tested 45 foot CNG coach to reach the market, DesignLine says it is poised to capture a significant share of the emerging sector for CNG coaches.
“We couldn’t be prouder of our ECOCoach bus,” said Joseph Smith, President of DesignLine. “This bus was designed and built to meet every challenge that might come its way on the road, and completing the grueling and comprehensive Altoona testing proves we succeeded in that effort. This bus has been put through every test possible and has performed extremely well.”
The DesignLine ECOCoach CNG Commuter is powered by a Cummins ISL G320 Compressed Natural Gas engine, making it cleaner, safer, and less expensive to operate than a standard diesel bus. Fuel tank capacity is 8 tanks with 16,128 SCF @ 3600psi. Performance is very similar to a diesel-powered bus.
The Altoona Bus Testing and Research Center provides bus manufacturers and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) reliable and unbiased data regarding vehicles. The goal is to promote greater reliability and performance of new bus models. The testing covers a number of broad areas, including: safety, structural integrity and durability, reliability, performance, maintainability, noise, fuel economy, brake, and emissions.
“When I ran buses in New York City for MTA, the ever-changing and high cost of fuel was a constant challenge,” added Smith, former President of MTA Bus Company. “The availability of an Altoona-tested CNG coach bus now allows transit systems and bus operators to reap the savings associated with the significantly lower cost of CNG fuel over diesel.”
DesignLine, a Charlotte, NC-based bus design and manufacturing company, was founded in 1985 in New Zealand and relocated and headquartered in the United States in 2006.
(This article compiled using information supplied by DesignLine Corporation.