Russia’s first home-produced LNG bus, the LOTOS 105 by RariTEK, has an Allison fully automatic transmission for high performance in city traffic, with lower operation and service costs.
The first Russian manufacturer to produce a bus fuelled by liquified natural gas (LNG) has specified an Allison fully automatic transmission. The LOTOS 105 10.5-metre low-floor bus is manufactured by RariTEK, a leading Russian manufacturer of natural gas commercial vehicles and buses. The bus features an Allison T 280TM transmission, which matches the key market requirement for safety, convenience, and low operational and service costs. It has a 260-hp Yuchai engine that is fully compliant with Euro 5.
RariTEK already sells a compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the LOTOS 105 bus and the LOTOS 206 (226) model that also runs on compressed gas. The company states that demand for the new LOTOS 105 is high, with major Russian cities such as Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk and Rostov having expressed interest in the bus so far. RariTEK plans to further develop its natural-gas vehicle portfolio with a priority to specify Allison fully automatic transmissions.
According to LOTOS Project Manager Denis Denisov, special attention was paid to the selection of the automatic transmission:
“We collected a lot of data on how Allison-equipped buses behave. We would meet and talk to fleet owners who operate such vehicles, and we ultimately chose Allison,” said Denisov. “Everyone notes the optimum engine work mode achieved via optimum gear changes among their key strengths and exceptional safety. It seems they are simply unrivaled in terms of safety.”
An essential factor in operating a city bus is the driver’s comfort and ease of use. The Allison automatic transmission maximises the simplicity of driving a large bus, and provides exceptional maneouvrability and fast acceleration that does not interrupt torque delivery during gear shifts. The driver can focus on the road instead of paying attention to gears, which is crucial in dense city traffic.
“The driver’s shift is 12 hours. Just imagine how many times one has to shift the gear lever and push the clutch pedal with the manual transmission,” said Denisov. “So, we came to a very simple conclusion that an automatic transmission is safer and more convenient because city traffic is very intense these days, and with an automatic transmission the driver has less fatigue and can better concentrate on driving. This directly affects passenger safety and comfort.”
Among the traditional strengths of natural-gas vehicles are their high fuel efficiency and almost zero adverse impact on the environment. Historically, Allison solutions are perfectly suited to natural gas engines, both compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), and in a wide range of applications. Manual and automated manual transmissions require cuts in engine torque to allow for shifts. Smoothly matching these engine torque cuts with more volatile and less predictable spark-ignited CNG and LNG engines proved nearly impossible. The inherent benefits of Allison’s Continuous Power Technology™, featuring full-power shifts and patented torque converter, contribute to operating at a more consistent engine speed. This eliminates the torque interrupts of a manual or automated manual transmission and improves overall braking resulting in reduced downtime and maintenance costs.
LOTOS 105 buses have high fuel efficiency and offer long runs between fuelling. With a tank capacity of 450 litres (about the same as in trucks), they can run as far as 600 km unrefuelled. The transmission plays an important support role: the Allison T 280TM has six gears and an optimum gear selection at all times, so the engine runs optimally without excessive fuel consumption.
“Yet, this is not the limit to its contribution to bus viability,” said Denisov. “First, the Allison fully automatic transmission has quite a considerable lifespan and is very easy to maintain, with regular oil and filter replacement being enough. Second, it is a common case when mainly inexperienced drivers burn the clutch on buses with mechanics, which means repair and downtime. That is totally out of the question with an automatic transmission.”
“A modern city bus must be safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and comfortable for both passengers and the driver. Allison automatics meet these requirements absolutely,” said Denisov. “As for installing such transmissions on natural-gas buses, Allison solutions help maximize their benefits.”
Image – The first Russian-manufactured LNG bus, the LOTOS 105 by RariTEK, is equipped with an Allison fully automatic transmission.
Image – The LOTOS 105 is a large low-floor bus with a length of 10.5 meters supplied in two versions, for both compressed and liquefied gas. It has a 260-hp Yuchai engine that is fully compliant with Euro 5.
RariTEK is a trade and production company that specialises in manufacturing and servicing vehicles that run on gas, as well as designing gas fuel stations and mobile gas refuellers, and converting conventional fuel vehicles into vehicles running on natural gas.
In addition, RariTEK production facilities manufacture proprietary gas engines RGK, service equipment for gas-powered vehicles, and specialised spare parts. The company carries out full-scale assembly of medium and large buses under its own brand LOTOS.
Special attention is given to the development of new technologies and processes of cryogenic fuel system production and the methods of installing such systems on various vehicles. The company has created a technology and process for manufacturing components and equipment for low-capacity LNG plants.
RariTEK has more than 30 gas vehicle service centres all over Russia. These include the country’s largest service center in Naberezhnye Chelny that can accept more than 30 methane vehicles at the same time. The company’s training center has trained and certified more than 5,000 professionals in the principles, rules and standards of using gas-powered vehicles.
RariTEK is one of the pioneers of the gas-powered-vehicle market in Russia. Twenty years of project implementation has allowed the company to accumulate a sufficient number of competencies to offer the new high-efficiency solutions to the market.
About Allison Transmission
Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including refuse, construction, fire, distribution, bus, motorhomes, defense and energy. Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. With a market presence in more than 80 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Hungary and India. Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit allisontransmission.com.