JBM CityLife Low Floor CNG & Diesel Buses: Tech Specs & Review
JBM Group, a noted auto components supplier, has ventured into the burgeoning urban bus industry with its ‘CITYLIFE‘ range of low-floor CNG and diesel powered buses. Unveiled at the 2012 Auto Expo for the first time, the company later stepped up its assembling capabilities at its new manufacturing plant at Kosi, Uttar Pradesh to an installed capacity of 2000 units per year. The Citylife range now consists of three variants – 2327C, 2431D, and 2837 D – all 12-metre air-conditioned models, powered by two different engines sourced from Cummins. The diesel variants were launched at the 2016 Auto Expo early this year.
The Citylife is born out of a host of global auto companies along with local inputs and assembly. It is actually based on the tried and tested Avancity buses from Italian manufacturer BMB. While the body components and engine are locally sourced, the steering System and axle units are imported from Germany. The designing aspects has been taken care by JBM-TESCO alliance.
To start with, the JBM Citylife is first-of-its-kind on two accounts. One, its monocoque body frame with tubular structure is unique, which according to the firm, conforms to the safety norms as per European Standards for frontal collision, roll over and side impact. Second, the Citylife is the first true low floor bus in our market – so far every urban buses we have seen from different companies (Ashok Leyland, Tata, Volvo, and Scania) are all actually ‘low entry’ buses with step floor in the passenger saloon.
The Citylife, on the other hand, deploys transversely-mounted engine and an inverted portal axle at the rear resulting in stair-less rear part of the cabin. The passenger seats are are not mounted on the floor, providing ample headroom for rear passengers and also making it easily cleanable and washable. Intelligent packaging of components that need frequent maintenance is beneficial to the operators, adds the company.
Design wise, the Citylife is quite contemporary with its large windscreen, ‘aero-wing’ headlamps design, and low stance. Clear and broader lateral glasses gives panoramic visibility both from inside and outside, an essential trait for city buses. The dual-wing doors at the front and middle are quite functional for easy ingress and egress. It is only the rear part of the bus that is little sloppy, thanks to the three-side opening and ventilation mesh for the engine bay.
On the inside, the dashboard and driver’s cockpit is simple and utilitarian and not so good in terms of aesthetics and quality of the plastics used. Moreover, an emergency exit for the passengers is also missing. Yet, the seats are of good quality and comfortable as well.
JBM offers two diesel options and a CNG variant for the buyers to choose. The CNG variant – 2327C – is powered by a 5.9-litre Cummins engine producing 230 hp and 678 Nm of max power and torque. The diesel variants are powered the same a 6.7-litre engine sourced from Cummins but have different power outputs – the 2817D makes 281 hp and 1035 Nm, while the 2431D variant delivers 245 hp and 1020 Nm of max torque.
Both the engines (CNG and Diesel) are of V6 configuration, along with electronic-injection, turbo-charged with inter-cooler, and are BS 4 compliant as well. They are paired to an automatic transmission with a built-in retarder. The CNG variant comes with a 720 litres roof-mounted gas tanks, while the diesel models get fuel tanks of 265 litres capacity. The former variant also comes with an integrated CNG Gas Leak Detection system.
The Citylife features disc-brakes in all wheels, aided with ABS and EBD technologies. At front axle, the bus deploys independent suspension system, while at the rear, a double-pneumatic spring coupled with anti-roll bar does the job. A Fire suppression system is also available, but as a option.
With the Citylife, JBM Auto is primarily focussing on the high-end segment of the urban bus market, competing the likes of Volvo 8400 Low-Floor and Scania Citywide LF, along with the low-floor CNG city buses from the Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. The CNG variant is appealing primarily to the state-run metropolitan transport corporations like that of Delhi, while the diesel variants eye on state transport undertakings, airports and schools across the country as well.
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