A RECORD order of 37 Iveco Crossway ‘Natural Power’ coaches for the Dracénie Region, France, is to be delivered by the end of 2019, the company confirms.

A commitment charter to promote energy transition was signed by the DPVA, Iveco Bus and the Beltrame Group during a reception held in Draguignan, France.

The 37 Crossway Natural Power (NP) coaches will be operated by Beltrame Group, and will be delivered to Dracénie Regional Council (Dracénie Provence Verdon agglomeration (DPVA).

A commitment charter to promote energy transition was signed by the DPVA, Iveco Bus and the Beltrame Group during a reception held in Draguignan, France, in the presence of a number of local and regional political dignitaries. Guests were able to test drive a Crossway NP and a Daily Blue Power NP, the company states.

"We chose to renew our fleet with natural gas vehicles to protect the environment and to meet energy transition legislation. These vehicles will be used in the 23 towns that make up the region," said Frédéric Decompte, DPVA's Transport director.

The DPVA operates 11 coaches itself and the balance is run by Beltrame Group.

"We now have more than 270 coaches and buses, of which 60 are for the sole use of the region. With this order, more than 80 per cent of Dracénie’s fleet will be powered by natural gas," said Anthony Beltrame, the Group's CEO.

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Dracénie Provence Verdon constantly renews its fleet of buses with natural gas vehicles and adopts a tri-annual investment plan with the acquisition of two buses every year on three exercises, it explains.

A further six Crossway Low Entry Natural Power buses will be delivered in April 2019. These are the first Crossway LE CNG buses to operate in France. This vehicle was recently voted "Sustainable Bus of the Year 2018".

In total, Beltrame Group will be adding 80 vehicles to its fleet, including four Daily Blue Power NPs, which will be assigned for use in towns and to "transport on-demand".

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To facilitate fuel supplies for the fleet, Beltrame Group - in association with Pizzorno - will install a CNG station that will also fuel the region's CNG trucks.

The Crossway NP has a total methane capacity of 1,260 litres (4x 315-litre tanks), the vehicle has a range of up to 600km, with rapid or slow filling, states Iveco.

Its design integrates the compressed gas tanks in the roof. This exclusive, patented feature optimises the vehicle's centre of gravity for greater on-road stability and increased comfort for the driver and passengers, says Iveco.

The design also makes it the lowest vehicle on the market in terms of overall height (3455 mm), meaning that it can be operated without specific restrictions, it adds.

These vehicles also offer the same comfort as their diesel equivalents with easy access and fluid passenger flow with forward-facing seats and an equivalent total operating cost, it explains.

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The CURSOR 9 NP engine delivers the same 360hp and 265kW as its diesel equivalent. The Crossway NP offers the lowest total cost of ownership in its class while - thanks to its Cursor engine and natural gas use - service intervals are 50 per cent longer than those of a diesel vehicle, it’s claimed.

Iveco Bus says it also offers specific maintenance contracts for natural-gas buses and coaches together with bespoke training, dedicated service points and a network of trained dealers able to meet operators' requirements.



The Natural Power range also helps conserve natural resources, as it is 100 per cent compatible with biomethane, produced from organic waste. The vehicles thus have an excellent carbon balance and represent a significant step towards energy transition, says Iveco. The environmental benefit is a reduction in greenhouse gas production of up to 95 per cent, it’s claimed.

"We are particularly proud of this order of 37 Crossway NPs, the first of its size in France. It proves once again Iveco Bus’s leadership in the field of alternative-energy vehicles that will meet energy transition legislation," said Brice Bonavia, general manager for Iveco France.

The Beltrame Group currently has a fleet of 270 coaches and buses and employs some 270 people. The majority of its fleet is less than five years old.

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