Rising to the challenge of what city bus fleets in South Korea are in need of
Recent weeks have already witnessed the delivery of seven double-deckers and there are a further 45 vehicles to follow by the end of the year
MAN Truck and Bus has announced its portfolio of buses in South Korea is set to continue growing, following the presentation of its Lion’s Touring cabriolet single-decker in 2016. The company showcased the first natural gas-powered low-floor bus at the Seoul Motor Show and also revealed a double-decker for the South Korean market.
In November 2016, the company gave the go-ahead to enter the Korean market, and the first MAN bus was presented. The company’s presentation of a compressed natural gas (CNG) low-floor bus and a double-decker at this year’s Seoul Motor Show in Goyang, South Korea, formed the next milestone. Since then, the first of these double-deckers, which are based on the RR4 chassis, has been handed over.
Buses powered by alternative drive systems are popular in South Korea due to their low emissions. This explains South Koreans’ long-standing love for natural gas as a fuel, which is also reflected in the fact that many show attendees showed interest in the CNG city bus displayed by MAN. Its low-floor design and three doors to allow passengers to board and disembark more quickly represent a new concept for the country.
A private bus operator was so captivated by the design that it immediately signed an agreement to purchase 30 MAN city buses. These are expected to be delivered at the end of 2017.
Two local bus manufacturers hold a duopoly on the South Korean CNG bus market.
"We are pursuing a clear objective in South Korea: breaking out of a niche market, to achieve mass-market penetration," says Carmen Fakler, MAN’s South Korea market entry project manager. "Each bus developed is virtually a new creation due to the need to meet local specification and type-approval requirements."
A MAN A22 chassis forms the basis for the 12m long natural-gas powered city bus, which has 29 seats, six of which can be folded down. There is an option to accommodate two wheelchairs. A 310hp E28 engine provides acceleration.
A distinctive feature of the city bus is its low-floor construction, which incorporates three doors. City bus fleets in South Korea have primarily consisted of high-floor and low-entry vehicles, which is why the brand says it is introducing the first, and only, low-floor bus onto the market.
The second MAN vehicle recently presented at the Seoul Motor Show was a double-decker based on the RR4 chassis and which meets the latest emissions standard. The D26 engine delivers 460hp.
Recent weeks have already witnessed the delivery of seven double-deckers and there are a further 45 vehicles to follow by the end of the year.