Ashok Leyland 13.5m CNG coach: Quirky design, frugal intercity option | Auto Expo 2023
Ashok Leyland 13.5m CNG intercity sleeper coach is an unusual (in an interesting way, perhaps) concept that combines unconventional design and extra-ordinary frugality of CNG for long-distance transportation.
Those who have walked around Ashok Leyland‘s booth at the Auto Expo 2023 Motor Show, Greater Noida would have certainly had an amusing feeling with this 13.5-metre CNG sleeper coach.
Tall, boxy styling with angled edges and sharp cut lines define this sleeper coach’s silhouette. The vastness of the window pane extending to the lower part of front fascia and rear, together with the dual-tone paint finish and LEDs, makes the coach an unusual-yet-interesting design concept for sleeper coaches in India.
The quirkiness is no less on the inside. The driver’s cabin is looks a bit plain and empty, except for the familiar steering wheel with AL logo and gear knob atop the concealed engine hump. The dashboard is just an empty pane of glass, has no traditional instrumentation cluster. Instead an all-digital information system and a double-din infotainment systems does the job.
However, the most important aspect of the 13.5m intercity coach is not in its design, but its key proposition on frugality and lower operating costs. The coach promises longer driving range of up to 1,000 kms (with AC) and 1,150 kms (without AC), along with maximum luggage capacity, safety and comfort.
The CNG coach is powered by H-Series 6-cylinder, turbo-charged natural gas engine with i-Gen6 technology (for BS VI) that makes 250 hp power and 900 Nm of peak torque. A 6-speed manual gearbox with overdrive function delivers power to the rear wheels. The bus boasts an option of a built-in electro-magnetic retarder in the driveline to enhance braking efficiency.
Some of the key features of the intercity bus includes air suspension (front and rear), front disc brakes, ABS, direct drive AC compressor, and unitized bearing option for easy maintenance and better wheel alignment.
Most importantly, the fuel is stored in Type 4 CNG cylinders (1,500 litres cumulative capacity) that are 70 percent lighter than steel tanks, supported by a leak detection system, FDSS, and auto cut-off valve for optimum safety.
The Ashok Leyland 13.5m CNG coach is claimed as India’s longest intercity 4×2 CNG bus. This means, the bus gets 20 percent higher passenger capacity in sleeper configuration with 36 berths (2×1). In seater configuration, the bus can have 52 push-back seats (2×2) excluding the driver.