Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) opened the tender process to acquire 46 hybrid compressed natural gas buses, 16 of which will be articulated and the first to circulate in European cities with this low emission technology. The new vehicles will replace other 15-year-old vehicles that are nearing the end of their useful lives. In addition to reducing the average age of the fleet, this acquisition is expected to achieve an improvement in the environmental quality and safety of the service.
It is the first time that TMB has launched a specific tender to incorporate new buses that combine electric and CNG propulsion systems. The 13 buses with this technology that are already part of the fleet were built from conventional natural gas vehicles to which two electric engines, a generator and other components were added, in an innovative project developed by TMB and Gas Natural Fenosa in 2012-2013 in the context of the first environmental conversion of the Barcelona urban bus fleet.
The hybrid system allows to further reduce the low polluting emissions of natural gas vehicles compared to a conventional vehicle, since it is applied to a motorization that is considered environmentally advanced because it emits almost no particles and releases 90% less nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere compared to a diesel engine.
The 46 new hybrid natural gas vehicles joining the TMB fleet have been divided into two lots: the first one is made up of 30 12-meter standard buses, while the second consists of 16 18-meter articulated units. They will have the usual comfort and accessibility features of the new TMB fleet. Regarding safety technology, they will have a driving aid system based on frontal and blind spot sensors, active at all times, which will generate audible and visual alerts when there is an imminent risk of impact or collision.
In a third batch, bids are requested to supply six minibuses to replace the older vehicles of the ‘Bus del Barri’ service. This tender replaces the one launched in 2019 that was abandoned due to a lack of offers that met the autonomy and performance requirements.
The winners of the process will manufacture the vehicles during 2020 and deliver them in the first quarter of 2021.