Natural gas-powered vehicle manufacturer, Austrian Technologies Nigeria, has released details of its full range of ECO-Green buses, some of which are already in the Nigerian market.

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It says the buses built with European standards for critical climate and infrastructure are targeted at private and public transport operators in Nigeria including schools and corporate organisations.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited, Johann Rieger, the bus range is built on a single platform and comprises 8.5m length (Marcopolo size)  for 60 passengers; 10.5m for 80 passengers, 12m for 100 people, 12.8m for 110 passengers and 18m accommodating 160 passengers.

The standard at ECO Green Buses is a monocoque chassis-body structure with advanced frame safety technology.

The core is a 3H high-strength body with front and rear buffer beams, roll-over safety frame and absorbed energy structure.

The key advantages of this technology are higher safety for passengers through optimized distribution of impact forces through overall of body frame structure; improved life span of structure; lower operating costs (maintenance, tyres, fuel consumption); and the weight advantage over a classical chassis-body structure.

The whole vehicle runs through an 18 stage E-coating process (cathode electrophoretic coating) for corrosion protection.

The electrophoretic paint becomes a layer of even, smooth, and strong adhesive paint film on the surface of the body frame after the electrochemical reaction. It makes the surface of body frame and inner cavity of being strongly anticorrosive, antirust, salt fog resistant and heat moist resistant and antirust of up to 12 years.

All buses come with maintenance-free DANA axles and adjustable Front and rear air suspension with FIRESTONE air bags. All wheels have disc brakes with automatic slack adjuster from KNORR in combination with WABCO ABS. This high European safety standard improves safety and reliability of buses and supports operations by high availability of buses through reduced down time and shortened time of maintenance. The life span of these components is a multiple of the normally applied low-cost components.

A tyre pressure montoring system with display on instrument panel and full integration into the ECO Telematics system is standard and one of the core safety features of ECO Green Buses. BOSCH power steering is one of the world’s safest steering systems for commercial vehicles.

The cockpit is highly ergonomic. The combination of the fully integrated digital cockpit and the employment of high-quality European core components are just some of the key factors that make ECO Green Buses efficient and safe.

The driver receives direct feedback in real-time on his/her behaviour in safety and economic driving through the digital dashboard and ECO Telematics system.

The possibility to convert gas buses to zero-emission hydrogen operation upon local availability of hydrogen is another unique feature of ECO Green Buses. Bus structure, gas supply chain and safety equipment are already prepared for such conversion at little effort and costs.

The MD said the buses are the safest and most economic mass transit vehicles which could reduce carbon footprints by 95 per cent and operating cost by 30 per cent.

He said, “We also have 5.4m (Hiace type) as well as 6.5m and 7.5m (Toyota Coaster) type buses.” It is crucial for the further development of Nigerian transport sector to include and onboard Danfo operators and other stakeholders into the public transport operations.

Rieger noted that the buses are equipped with gas engines of higher emission standards (Euro 5) with no toxic, smog or smoke, guaranteeing reduced noise and lower fuel costs

Some of the unique features of an ECO-green bus are given as roof-mounted CNG cylinder with up to 500km range and gas leakage detection system; tyre pressure monitoring system; two emergency roof hatches (front/rear); fire extinguisher in driver’s cabin, automatic fire extinguishers in engine compartment; all-disc brakes with automatic slack adjuster and the ABS.

Others are speed limiter, alcohol test and driver’s fatigue detection with driver’s biometric identification, CCTV camera system that can be directly integrated into the city surveillance system; reverse camera; handicapped ramp and wheelchair area.

All buses are equipped with ECO Viroxx air purification system, a bipolar ionization system integrated into the ventilation system of ECO Green Buses. It is the only system worldwide that permanently and chemical free sanitizes the indoor air in buses throughout the entire operation.

The ECO Viroxx bipolar ionization technology is clinically proven to inactivate up to 99.999% of COVID-19 and other viruses and germs. SARS-Corona viruses can be rendered completely harmless at the molecular level by destroying the structure of their virus surface, envelopes, and tips.

High-energy ionization of the cabin and the production of a bipolar aerial ionization network can achieve a natural air disinfection rate of over 99.999% (log 5). This process inactivates or eliminates viruses, germs, bacteria, molds and eliminates unpleasant smells.

Rieger said, “Up to 70 per cent of all components of the ECO-Green buses should be manufactured or assembled locally within five years of operation including the first green engine.”

Additionally, the company offers bus Simulator, bus scanners, telematics and ICT and intensive training of drivers and maintenance personnel to ensure proper maintenance of vehicles.