Truck-engine manufacturer Cummins is set to help bus operators in London with preparations for the introduction of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone by adapting older models which do not comply with tighter regulations so that they can become significantly cleaner.
Transport Engineer reports that vehicles which do not comply with Euro 6 emissions standards will be hit with higher fees in the spring of 2019 as the British capital takes action to improve air quality and eliminate pollution. And the changes being proposed by Cummins could make a big difference and enable older models to remain in service for longer.
The Biggest Changes & Savings
One of the biggest changes comes thanks to the addition of an automatic stop-start function which will cut out the power whenever the bus is idling, as is found on many modern cars, vans and trucks sold in the UK today. Because buses and other city-going HGVs typically have to deal with inconsistent traffic flows and frequent stops to deposit passengers or goods, it is argued that fuel consumption could be cut by around eight per cent thanks to this update.
In terms of per-vehicle savings, this will result in a £2500 reduction in fuel expenditure each year, which helps to justify the price of overhauling older vehicles, Cummins claims.
Furthermore any buses which are adapted as part of this project will be able to continue working effectively and in full compliance with Euro 6 standards for eight years longer than would otherwise have been achievable.
A test involving this system has already been carried out in the capital using a bus dating back over five decades, proving that it can live up to regulatory restrictions that are set to be imposed in less than a year and a half.
The exhaust treatment capabilities are also upgraded, cutting particulate matter by 90 per cent and also removing half of the nitrous oxide before it is blasted out into the atmosphere. So even more recent Euro 5 buses and trucks can be given a similar upgrade if required.
Company spokesperson Ashley Watton said that this kind of refurbishment was essential to help extend the lifespans of commercial vehicles which are being used in the UK at the moment. And, of course, replacing a small number of parts rather than an entire bus or truck is not just more cost-effective but also more environmentally friendly in its own right.
Each of the reconfiguration projects will need to be tackled individually, since a huge variety of engine specs and features are present across buses operating in London. And in many cases the results will also deliver improved power and torque, which is an added benefit for operators to consider.
Of course, it could be argued that prolonging the life of existing buses and trucks is merely putting off the problem of eventually needing to replace them and make diesel engines a thing of the past. But since such steps are unlikely to be necessary for at least another decade, Cummins has proposed an appropriate solution for today.