The propane-powered Saf-T-Liner C2 school bus went into production last month at Thomas Built Buses' plant in High Point, N.C., with a target date of this fall to hit the streets nationwide. CleanFUEL USA, which provides the LPI propane autogas fuel system, shared more specs on the technology.
CleanFUEL USA helped develop the first from-factory propane school bus in partnership with Blue Bird and GM in 2007. Now, CleanFUEL USA is working with both Thomas and Powertrain Integration, the manufacturer of the 8-liter, V8 propane "PI-thon" engine. CleanFUEL USA is also partnering with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation on powering the propane system in the new S2G medium-duty truck that also is in production. Both vehicles are EPA and CARB certified.
"We are ecstatic that the S2G and C2 are in full production, as demand is strong in the fleet industry for propane-powered solutions that meet these two vehicles' market needs," said Curtis Donaldson, founder and managing director of CleanFUEL USA. "With a significant order bank and ever-increasing customer interest, the potential for both products is huge."
CleanFUEL USA said the PI-thon purpose-built engine provides 495 ft-lbs. of torque at 3100 rpm and 339 horsepower at 4100 rpm for both vehicles and comes with a 5-year/100,000 mile warranty. The C2 and S2G are also powered by an Allison 2300 automatic transmission with PTO provision that provides reliability and durability.
Read a Q&A with Powertrain Integration executives in the August issue of School Transportation News magazine
The new, 81-passenge Saf-T-Liner C2 comes in wheelbases of 219, 238, 259 and 279 inches with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of up to 33,000 pounds. It also has a two-tank system that is 20 times more puncture resistant than diesel or gasoline tanks. In addition, it holds a gasoline equivalent of 70 gallons and provides an estimated driving range of 300 miles.
Both CleanFUEL USA and Thomas said the new propane bus also offers a quiet and smooth drive. Thomas officials added that the C2 offers 25-percent improved visibility out the windshield over a typical Type C bus.
The C2 propane will be exhibited at the STN EXPO Trade Show on July 29 in Reno, Nev.