HIGH POINT, N.C. — Thomas Built Buses is now beginning pilot production of a Minotour Type A school bus fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG), officials announced on Tuesday.
Official production of the CNG-fueled Minotour is slated to start in the first quarter of 2014.
The CNG model, which will be converted by IMPCO Automotive, will utilize a GM 6-liter engine on the 4500 series cutaway chassis. The 30-passenger bus will utilize Type 1 CNG tanks with a 26 gasoline-gallon equivalent fuel capacity. It will be California Air Resources Board-certified and will exceed EPA 2010 emissions requirements, Thomas Built officials said.
“We debuted our very first compressed natural gas bus over 20 years ago,” said Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “Since then, we’ve put more than 2,000 CNG buses on the road, and we are proud to add the new CNG-fueled Minotour to our family of alternative-fueled buses.”
Thomas Built’s green vehicle lineup also includes the propane-fueled Minotour, which went into production last year, and the HDX CNG. A propane-fueled version of the Saf-T-Liner C2 bus is now scheduled to be available in early 2014.
The CNG Minotour will be converted at the IMPCO Automotive Union City facility, an ISO 9001-2008 certified manufacturing facility that produces an average of 3,000 to 5,000 vehicle conversions per year. IMPCO Automotive is a division of Fuel Systems Solutions.