MAN plans CNG push with new EcoCity

MAN plans CNG push with new EcoCity MAN plans CNG push with new EcoCity
A CNG-fuelled MAN EcoCity is being tried by Stagecoach Merseyside for six weeks, operating on the service between Liverpool and St Helens. MAN is reluctant to say much about the vehicle ahead of the EcoCity’s launch at Coach & Bus Live on 5 October, where the company is expected to push the benefits of CNG as a way of meeting Euro 6 exhaust limits. The bus is powered by a 310bhp 12.8-litre MAN E2876 engine, with the CNG carried in storage tanks on the roof, and weighs 11,860kg, which probably makes it the heaviest bus on Merseyside. That is around 3,000kg more than the ADL Enviro 200 diesels running on the same route.

Stagecoach has long been interested in alternative fuels, and the trial of CNG fits in with its use of hybrids and biodiesel. “We’ll look at all the options available,” says Stagecoach Scottish regional director Sam Greer, who was involved with the original bio-bus project in Kilmarnock and is overseeing the CNG trial. The trial will allow some initial evaluation of the vehicle. “It’s a very short time scale,” says Greer, “so we won’t get a good feel for the maintenance implications or reliability.” The bus is fuelled from a temporary storage tank at Stagecoach’s Gillmoss depot in Liverpool.

CNG was tried in Britain in the late 1990s without success, and Barry Evans of the Gas Bus Alliance attributes that to a number of factors including the quality of the gas and the fact that the vehicles involved were often conversions rather purpose-built gas buses. He says that affected reliability, and coloured operators’ views of CNG as a fuel for buses. But he adds that lessons have been learned, and points to the widespread use of CNG in other countries.