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City & bus – MAN solutions for urban mobility

MAN Truck & Bus at the 59th UTIP World Congress.

MAN Truck & Bus is presenting consistently efficient solutions for the urban transport of today and tomorrow at the 59th World Congress of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in Dubai: city buses made by MAN and with natural-gas or hybrid drives are reliable, economical alternatives for modern local public transport that help combat inner-city air pollution more effectively than ever before and help reduce dependence on oil. A wide range of bus chassis and city buses, complete maintenance and repair packages as well as up-to-date services - MAN couples its recognised competence in buses with system services from selected partners, cooperating with them in developing tailor-made BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) solutions. Cities can thus design a flexible, economical and environmentally friendly local public transport system as an alternative or as a supplement to a rail-bound system.

Premiere of MAN Lion's City CNG model for hot countries

The world's assured accessible natural-gas reserves are estimated at almost 190 billion cubic metres - at today's rate of extraction that's enough for the next sixty years. If one adds the natural-gas resources (meaning gas that cannot yet be extracted or only with great effort), then the range is around 130 years. At more than 75 billion cubic metres, the world's biggest deposits of natural gas have been found in the Near and Middle East, followed by Eastern Europe / CIS (62 billion), North, Central and South America (17), Far East/Pacific (15) and Africa (14). Security of supply and combustion characteristics are factors in favour of natural gas as an alternative source of energy for both stationary and mobile applications - this is being recognised by more and more countries around the world. This is why the UAE, for example, decided years ago that natural gas was to account for twenty percent of the total amount of fuel consumed on its roads by the year 2012.

MAN Truck & Bus, the market leader in gas-powered city buses, is taking advantage of the UITP Congress in Dubai to unveil a new version of its Lion’s City CNG designed especially for very hot countries. The vehicle on show, a twelve-metre long low-floor solo bus, is driven by a turbocharged six-cylinder engine powered by natural gas. The engine delivers 228 kW (310 hp) while its emissions are way below the limits set for EEV, currently the most stringent emission standard. The engine's exhaust gases are especially low in nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates. Applications for hot countries such as a pre-separator for the air-intake system ensure reliable operation in very dusty regions where temperatures are high. Power from the natural-gas engine is transmitted to the driving axle by means of an automatic six-speed gearbox equipped with intarder. The gearbox software detects up- and downhill gradients, automatically adjusting the gearshift points as it does so. This reduces fuel consumption.

The natural gas is carried in a total of eight aluminium composite cylinders (rated for a pressure of 200 bar), each with a volume of 214 litres or 1,712 litres in all. The gas cylinders are stored under the attractively designed roof fairing, which can be folded open on both sides, making for good accessibility. Storage volume is calculated on the basis of typical inner-city demand, so that the uncomplicated refill procedure can be carried out at the depot in the evening or at night. Alternative packages of cylinders are available on request.

The bright, friendly interior of the Lion's City CNG with its 32 seats and standing room for 47 passengers is easily accessed by means of three outward-swinging sliding doors and is kept at a temperature that passengers experience as pleasant by a tropical air-conditioning system delivering a maximum of 44 kW cooling performance. Air curtains on the doors prevent the hot outside air getting in when passengers board and alight at the bus stops – this system has already proven itself on the more than 800 buses from MAN Truck & Bus operating in regular service in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Natural gas and biogas – MAN is putting its trust in the alternative fuel of the future

Natural gas is an eco-friendly source of primary energy. Extracting, cleaning and transporting the fossil fuel with the lowest carbon content require comparatively little energy. The specific emission of greenhouse gases by natural gas - calculated for the entire chain of supply, i.e. from the well to the tank - is around 65 grams per megajoule of energy, which makes it almost a quarter less than that of diesel. Although this advantage is to a certain extent cancelled out by the lower efficiency of the natural-gas powered engine relative to the diesel engine as well as by the additional weight of the fuel storage, natural gas still boasts the highest CO2 efficiency of all fossil fuels in the "well-to-wheel" comparison.

With the help of bio-natural-gas, the operation of CNG buses can be very nearly CO2-neutral. The biogas resulting from the fermentation of organic substances such as green waste, leftover food or liquid manure is upgraded by means of a special procedure to the quality of natural gas, after which it combusts cleanly and unproblematically in series-produced natural-gas engines without the need for any further technical modifications.

A characteristic of natural gas is that it burns very cleanly by comparison with other fossil fuels, so that gas-powered engines emit low levels of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide (50% less than diesel), hydrocarbons (80% less), nitrogen oxides (70% less) and particulate matter (up to 99% less than a diesel engine without a particulate filter). MAN's natural-gas-powered buses use this to their advantage and have for several years - and without complex exhaust-gas treatment systems - already been considerably within the limits laid down by the EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) standard, currently the most stringent in the EU. CNG buses also tend to be quieter than their diesel-powered compatriots, thanks to the fact that natural gas is combusted in SI engines.

MAN Truck & Bus can point to the experience of a quarter of a century in natural-gas-powered buses: as far back as 1972, MAN buses with gas-powered engines were shuttling Olympic athletes and spectators to the stadiums in Munich and its environs. Twenty years later, the MAN SL 202 with CNG-powered engine celebrated its premiere and in 2003, MAN delivered the first EEV-compliant gas-powered buses to its customers. In the meantime, MAN has delivered more than 5,000 gas-powered buses and bus chassis with gas-powered engines. Major markets for gas-powered buses and engines are The Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Austria, Portugal, Iran and Spain. MAN's share of the European market for these buses has averaged 44 percent over the past eight years. In fact, from 2007 to 2009, MAN's share was over half the market.

This success is based solidly on MAN's modern natural-gas-powered engines. There are currently two series of engines (E08 and E28) available for bus and bus-chassis applications in five output classes from 162 kW (220 hp) to 228 kW (310 hp). The MAN E0836 LOH 01natural-gas engine with a capacity of 6.9 litres and turbocharging that can be seen as an exhibit at the UITP Congress is available in three output classes; 162 kW (220 hp), 184 kW (250 hp) and 206 kW (280 hp). In each case, this output is delivered at 2,200 rpm. Thanks to its excellent power-to-weight ratio - dry, the engine weighs a mere 650 kilograms - the E08 engine is particularly suitable for buses operating largely in flat regions or for installation in compact (midi) buses. At the moment MAN is offering this engine exclusively to external bus manufacturers.

Where more power and torque are required, the 12.8-litre OBD2-enabled MAN E2876 LUH natural-gas-powered turbocharged engine is called for. This engine is available in two output classes, 200 and 228 kW (272 and 310 hp) and is the standard engine in MAN's natural-gas powered buses.

The range of natural-gas engines that comprehensively covers the power spectrum is paralleled by MAN's range of complete buses which admits no compromise: natural-gas-powered drives can be ordered as alternatives for just about every model in the new generation of Lion's City modern, low-floor city buses, from the 12-metre long solo bus to the 18.75-metre long articulated bus. For individual adaptation of the fuel storage to the required range of the vehicle there is a comprehensive selection of roof storage modules to choose from. Starting with a standardised aluminium frame, between six and ten gas cylinders can be arranged under the harmoniously designed roof fairing. There is a choice of various types of cylinder for storing the gas, so that almost any wish in terms of individual range can be fulfilled. Of course, MAN's city-bus chassis, renowned for being easy to build on, are also available with gas-powered engines.

The enormous experience MAN has had with gas-powered buses benefits the customer not only when it comes to getting advice on purchasing, but also in the planning and development of the fuel and service infrastructure. It goes without saying that MAN Service is completely familiar with the maintenance and repair of the high-pressure gas systems and that the global supply of spare parts for gas-powered buses is assured. If the customer requests it, training courses will ensure that MAN's know-how is competently transferred to the customer's own service personnel or an external service team. This ensures the smooth operation of the gas-powered buses made by MAN.

Moreover, natural gas is an economical alternative for public transport companies: in many countries, gas is cheaper than diesel, in addition to which operators of gas-powered buses can often profit from state-funded incentives aimed at increasing the percentage of natural gas in the fuel mix.

Finally, natural gas pioneers the way towards a later move to a supply system for gaseous, regeneratively-produced fuels such as synthetic gas or hydrogen.

On the way to electromobility – MAN hybrid technology

MAN Truck & Bus is one of the trailblazers of hybrid drives – the engineers have been working since the 70's on various technologies to recuperate braking energy in order to save fuel and thus CO2. Reliability, economy and efficiency are the three major criteria for the success of marketable hybrid drives. Only hybrid drives that fully meet these criteria are developed to series readiness by MAN Truck & Bus. This is how we meet our customers' expectations and improve the chance that the widespread effect of hybrid drives will be able to take the strain off energy resources and reduce CO2 emission. By installing hybrid drives, MAN is simultaneously promoting the development of all the requisite electrical components of the vehicle and in this way preparing a smooth transition to the electromobility of the future.

After years of research and development work followed by intensive testing in laboratories and on the road, at the end of 2010 MAN launched the first ever series-produced city bus with hybrid drive on the European market. The MAN Lion's City Hybrid was without a doubt one of the highlights of the IAA Commercial Vehicles in September 2010 in the segment of innovative city buses bringing greater ecology and economy to urban mobility:

  • up to 30 percent lower fuel consumption and CO2 emission
  • quiet and free of exhaust gases when stationary and when pulling away from bus stops and intersections
  • significantly more efficient than the most modern conventional diesel-powered city bus, but just as safe and reliable

One of the first pre-series models of the MAN Lion's City Hybrid was tested as early as 2007 on regular bus routes in Nuremberg, followed by practical operation in Paris and Spain. As of today, the MAN Lion's City Hybrid prototypes have done way over 100,000 kilometres. To produce exact data, conventional vehicles of similar performance and the same payload operated a reference service. The results showed savings of up to 30 percent when operating on real bus routes. Moreover, the MAN Lion's City Hybrid had to pass the entire program of tests and trials that all MAN buses have to pass in order to obtain series approval. In the course of two-year field trials in Europe, the Lion's City Hybrid is currently demonstrating its reliability and superior efficiency under the real operating conditions of regular service.

Buses and more from MAN - efficient local public transport with BRT

Bus Rapid Transit – behind this much-discussed phrase is an efficient and flexible passenger transport system based on modern city buses with high passenger capacities. Separate lanes, platform bus-stops, pre-ticketing, automatic access control and intelligent traffic management – a bus-specific infrastructure provides its passengers with fast, smooth and comfortable transport.

In principle, BRT systems can be compared with inner-city rail systems (tram, metro) but they can be constructed more quickly and more economically, besides also being far more flexible. BRT systems are relatively easy to integrate into existing urban structures, are not reliant on an exclusive infrastructure end-to-end and are less susceptible to failure when the unforeseen happens (accidents, detours).

The wide range of bus chassis and complete buses from MAN forms an excellent basis for any BRT system. On top of that there is MAN's recognised competence in providing individual vehicle solutions with the reliability that only a major manufacturer of large-scale series can offer. In several Chinese cities BRT routes are serviced by buses made under licence from MAN / NEOPLAN. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in part on bus-only lanes, buses from MAN / NEOPLAN transport thousands of people smoothly and fast to their destinations every day - MAN and its service partners also ensure the economical, round-the-clock availability of the vehicles.

If required, MAN acts a partner in the consortium that plans, implements and further develops locally adapted BRT systems in conjunction with the vehicle concepts that are suitable in each case. Together with associated partners in the fields of traffic planning, infrastructure and IT, the demands in terms of mobility are determined, the existing infrastructure examined and cost-benefit analyses conducted in order to establish the basis on which a BRT system for the specific local conditions can be developed and implemented.

In the framework of the European research project "European Bus System of the Future" (EBSF), MAN Truck & Bus is currently developing a Lion’s City GL-type city bus that is especially suited to a BRT. The MAN articulated bus with its innovative, passenger-friendly interior was recently handed over to the Budapest Transport Company for several months of trial operation. The objective is to gain insights that will enable the design of more efficient, eco-friendly and attractive urban bus systems in future. The MAN Lion's City GL will serve an inner-city bus route with a particularly large number of passengers. Accordingly, the 18.75-metre long articulated bus has been designed so that even with a high passenger volume, passenger flow will be optimal and thus ensure short stops. For this reason, the Lion's City GL has for the first time been fitted with five wide doors, while the passenger compartment has been optimised for a large flow of passengers. Moreover, the arrangement of seating in the forebody has been kept flexible.

Special consideration was given here to the needs of people with restricted capacity in terms of mobility and perception, senior citizens, women and children. With the aid of additional equipment features, passenger information has been further optimised, while passenger comfort and safety have also been improved.

The technical specifications of the UITP exhibit

Model MAN Lion's City CNG
Length 11,980 mm
Width 2,500 mm
Height 3,370 mm
Wheelbase 5,875 mm
Engine MAN E2876 LUH 03 (OBD2) with hot-country package
Capacity 12,816 cm³
Output 228 kW / 310 hp at 2,000 rpm
Maximum torque 1,250 Nm at 1,000 to 1,700 rpm
Gearbox ZF 6 AP 1400 EcoLife with TopoDyn Life efficiency software and intarder
Suspension Front: MAN comfort low-floor axle; rear: ZF portal axle
Fuel storage Eight aluminium composite gas cylinders (rated for a pressure of 200 bar) each with a volume of 214 litres
Seats / standing room 32 / 47
Empty weight / gross vehicle weight Approx. 13,000 kg (depending on equipment) / 18,000 kg

Innstalled in the rear of MAN's exhibit at the UITP is a 310-hp turbocharged natural-gas powered engine. This engine has the lowest emission values when it comes to nitrogen oxides and particulates, being even better than the EEV standard.