Iberian coachbuilder Irizar first launched a natural gas powered coach at the Busworld Europe exhibition in Brussels in 2019, as part of the upgrade of its i4 range. While delivery of the new models will be phased in within the near future, there will be very limited changes from the diesel equivalent.
Accordingly, it is widening its range of efficient and sustainable products and technological solutions in operational terms and is becoming the brand that includes all the technologies currently on the market. This consists from integrated and conventional coaches with Euro 6D diesel, HVO, B100 combustion engine and natural gas or biogas to buses and 100% electric vehicles, including coaches with parallel hybrid technology in its class I and class II models for urban and interurban services.
The environmental benefits offered by coaches with this natural gas technology reduce CO2 emissions by between 20 and 25%, NOx by up to 60% and emissions of particulate matter by over 98%. In addition to higher thermal performance than diesel, vibrations and noise emissions are also minimized by between 4-5 dB. In relation to operating cost, it is estimated that the reduction may be as high as 35%, depending on the differential between the cost of gas and diesel. The maintenance cost remains similar to that of a conventional diesel vehicle.
The vehicles have a range of up to 500 km in the CNG version and twice as long in the LNG technology.
The range of gas vehicles includes the Irizar i4 and Irizar i3le models from 12 to 15 metres in CNG version and Irizar i4, Irizar i6 and Irizar i6S from 12 to 15 metres in the LNG version, all on Scania chassis. The first vehicle equipped with this technology is the Irizar i4 class II model, a versatile and ideal coach for metropolitan, commuter, school transport or business coach. This is an Irizar i4 version H, 12.920m long vehicle on a Scania K320 EB 4×2 E6D CNG chassis. Its unmistakable attributes of versatility are complemented the range of current propulsion technologies available in integral or conventional vehicles on chassis.
With a total weight of about 750 kg, it incorporates 4 x longitudinal type IV CNG cylindrical tanks, with a total volume of 1260 dm3 and an approximate gas capacity of 240 kg. However, depending on the needs of the operator, it can be fitted with an additional tank to increase range. It is also fitted with a filling panel with two gas outlets and a pressure gauge. The integration of the storage tanks preserves the aesthetics and aerodynamics of the vehicle and means it can perform the same type of service as a similar diesel vehicle with optimum road holding and maximum safety.
The vehicles are equipped with the same air conditioning system as diesel vehicles. The height of the interior ceiling, the interior luggage racks and the luggage compartment capacity are the same as the diesel version.
The driver has a gas control screen to comply with all safety protocols. This is used to detect leaks and monitor the start-up of the water additive aerosol fire extinguishing system. These vehicles comply with Regulation R66.02 even with 700 kg of extra weight on the roof and with the thermal safety and mechanical safety protocols, in accordance with Regulation 110.