Shortly after the UITP congress in Helsinki the NEOMAN Bus Group announced the first customer for the new articulated bus MAN Lion’s City GXL. An overall batch of 33 low-floor city buses for the transport authority of St. Gallen (VBSG) includes three buses of the new, roughly 20.5-metre, model which are to be delivered in spring 2008. Beside the three GXL there are ten two-axle MAN Lion’s City buses (12 m) and 20 MAN Lion’s City GL with a length of 18.75 m in the delivery. All of the articulated buses will be equipped with the horizontal MAN D20 Common Rail engine in accordance with the EEV standard with MAN PUREdiesel technology, the 12m vehicle with the vertical MAN D08 Common Rail engine and super-wide tyres (280 hp in the two-axle vehicle, 360 hp in the articulated buses). In April this year the four-axle articulated bus prototype of the Lion’s City GXL underwent a practical test of several days in St. Gallen, which was completed very successfully.
Ernö Bartha, the member of the Management Team of the NEOMAN Bus Group responsiblefor engineering commented: “I’m delighted that we have been able to sell three vehicles of the new model to the customer in one fell swoop. We have been the market leader for extra length vehicles for some years, a fact which we are underlining yet again with the GXL. With a capacity of up to 200 passengers and a CO2 value of down to less than ten grammes for a passenger kilometre this vehicle sets new standards. I think that this vehicle clearly heralds the way to the future of local public transport.“
Dr Ralf Eigenmann, the manager of VBSG, gave the following reason for purchasing from MAN: “When the tenders were examined the offer of MAN Nutzfahrzeuge (Schweiz) AG proved to be the most cost-effective. The crucial areas of the examination were matters relating to passengers, the economy, engineering, the driver’s cockpit, handling and after-sales service.“
All of the Swiss vehicles have an air conditioner, double glazing and the new NEOMAN driver’s cockpit. In addition the articulated buses are fitted with the translucent concertina section first presented in the prototypes of the GXL and can thus be considered to be of a particular high quality. The articulated buses will be serving a busy route from St. Gallen to Abtwil and on to Gallusmarkt.
St. Gallen is the first customer in Europe to opt for the new MAN Lion’s City GXL and further cities have already shown great interest. The lengthened forebody is taken over from the already mentioned Lion’s City GL with a length of 18.75 m, the two-axle afterbody comes, in turn, from the 14.7-metre Lion’s City LL model with electro-hydraulically actively steered trailing axle. The permissible gross weight of the new articulated train is thus a proud 32.5 t. A high-capacity concept of this kind is of particular interest in view of the current discussion about the carbon dioxide emissions of the different means of transport. With a calculated average consumption of the MAN D20 Common-Rail diesel engine (here only with 350 or 360 hp) of approximately 60 litres of diesel for 100 kilometres the resultant per capita consumption of under 0.3 litres for 100 kilometres or less than ten grammes of CO2 emission for a passenger kilometre (with full utilisation and a diesel consumption of 60 l/100 km) is unbeatable.
The combination of the two vehicle modules results in 20.45 metres of high-tech bus on four axles with a capacity of 200 people, about 50 of whom are seated. The drive and body are essentially identical to the existing low-floor buses. The vehicle fulfils all of the legal requirements and EU directives regarding the clearance circle and can largely be used on routes similar to those of a normal articulated train. Complicated and technically demanding additional steering or similar systems are not required to achieve this. However, unlike the double articulated trains to be found in particular in Central and Southern America, these trains can be fully manoeuvred even when reversing – an invaluable advantage for the driver.