• 21-JUN-2016

Nantes Métropole and Semitan confirm their commitment to environmental sustainability, placing an order for 80 Iveco Bus vehicles powered by natural gas engines



Nantes Métropole (the City of Nantes administrative department) and Semitan (Société d’économie mixte des transports de l’agglomération nantaise - the semi-public company for public transport in Nantes) have placed their trust in Iveco Bus for the renewal of rolling stock in a supply deal that also sets the basis for future acquisitions.

The contract for the supply of articulated 4-door Urbanway buses powered by natural gas kicks off with an initial order of 80 units.

The flagship vehicle in this range of buses will be delivered at the end of this year, with the 79 additional units to be rolled out progressively until the end of August 2017.

A total of 110 and 130 vehicles is expected to be required by Nantes Métropole and Semitan for the period 2016-2020. The new articulated buses will replace 58 existing versions and 67 standard vehicles as part of the programme to renew the fleet and increase the capacity of the Chronobus high-quality service lines. In Nantes, the Chronobus lines facilitate access to the city centre and connect its neighbourhoods and surrounding towns, providing a genuine alternative to private vehicle ownership. Five additional vehicles will be purchased to expand the fleet.

Natural gas engines, "the symbol of clean bus transport"

Natural gas engines are the best alternative fuel systems on the market, both in economic and environmental terms, as confirmed by the decision of Nantes Métropole and Semitan to use this technology across the city.

As one of the pioneering public transport networks choosing to adopt these systems, Nantes took delivery of the first natural gas-powered bus in 1997. Today, 72% of the Nantes fleet of buses run on natural gas.

This fuel offers a number of advantages over diesel: exhaust gases are far less harmful to health, primarily due to a reduction of the fine particulate matter released into the air by diesel engines. These are the emissions responsible for the higher rates of respiratory diseases in urban areas. In addition, noise and vibration levels are also reduced with natural gas engines.

The choice of natural gas is also beneficial from an economic perspective. This is due to a number of structural factors: natural gas is much more stable and less expensive than diesel fuel, with extensive, well-distributed global reserves.

In addition, the infrastructure investments required to run natural gas vehicles have already been made at Semitan's three centres of operation. As a result, the full cost of ownership and operation of natural gas buses is highly competitive when compared with other energy sources.

Alain Boeswillwald, the Director of Semitan, confirms: "The offer presented by Iveco Bus stood out for its exceptional technical value, particularly with regard to the brand's answer to our requirements and specifications, in terms of passenger capacity, the ease of maintaining the mechanics and bodywork, and the way in which these vehicles drive and can be integrated into an urban environment. This manufacturer also obtained the maximum score when assessed in accordance with the Time and After-Sales Service criteria".

Iveco Bus, industry leader in natural gas buses

The position of Iveco Bus as industry leaders in the natural gas vehicle sector is illustrated by the fact that nearly 2,500 of these buses are currently in circulation in France. In fact,,Iveco vehicles account for nearly 95% of the country's overall fleet of natural gas-powered buses. Furthermore, the company can also put its name to an additional 3,000 vehicles running in major fleets operating in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Greece. In total, over 5,500 of these buses are in circulation worldwide: outside Europe, 302 vehicles are on the roads of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, while in China, 1,400 local-brand buses in the Beijing and Shanghai networks are equipped with Iveco natural gas engines.

The articulated Urbanway buses ordered are equipped with Iveco Cursor 8 330 hp natural gas engines, produced in the factory in Bourbon-Lancy, in the Saône-et-Loire region. This type of engine is already well known in Nantes, as it has been used on earlier environmentally-friendly vehicle versions and is still running on a number of buses currently operating on the network.

The benefits of this Iveco Bus natural gas engine are particularly evident when compared to a Euro VI diesel engine: NOx -35%, fine particulate matter -95%, CO2 up to -10%, noise emissions -50%.

100% compatible with biomethane, a fuel extracted from organic waste recovery operations, Iveco Bus natural gas buses boast a neutral carbon footprint (CO2 emissions from well to wheel), and constitute a concrete step towards the increasingly necessary transition to more sustainable sources of energy. In other words, the use of these fuels does not cause global warming, rendering these solutions capable of meeting the commitments of transport authorities and providers: to safeguard air quality and the environment, and to ensure quiet operation.

Iveco Bus buses are produced in Annonay, in the Ardèche region, in a factory that benefits from regular investments to continually modernise its facilities and improve its quality processes. The site has adopted the international WCM (World Class Manufacturing) methodology to manage its production processes to the highest global standards. The aim of the WCM approach is to optimise logistics flows, reduce poor quality costs (PQCs) and increase manufacturing flexibility to meet changing market needs.

Accordingly, the vehicles produced in Annonay bear the OFG (Origine France Garantie) label, created by the Pro France association and awarded by the Bureau Veritas Certification, confirming that they are "designed and produced in France". The site in Annonay currently employs 1,380 people in total, and relies on the services of more than 250 French suppliers and subcontractors, confirming Iveco's commitment to sustaining the country’s national industry.

Sylvain Blaise, Head of Iveco Bus, made the following comment: "We are very proud of this significant order that symbolises a new strong partnership for Iveco Bus. Would like to thank Semitan and Nantes Métropole for choosing our proposal, which represents a relevant and effective solution to the challenges we are facing in light of regulations that are being introduced concerning energy transition, namely safeguarding air quality, public health and the environment, and ensuring quiet operation!"

21 June 2016