Aero Elite Ford F-550 CNG

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Eldorado National (KS) submitted a model Aero Elite Ford F-550 CNG, CNG-powered 31 seat/33-foot bus, for a partial STURAA test 7 yr/200,000 mile category.  The Federal Transit Administration determined that the following tests would be performed; 1.2 Servicing, P.M., Repair & Maintenance, 1.3 R/R of Selected Subsystems, 2. Reliability, 3. Safety, 4.1 Performance Test, 5.7 Structural Durability Test, 6. Fuel Economy Test, 7.1 Interior Noise Test, 7.2 Exterior Noise Test and 8. Emissions.  Testing started on June 20, 2012 and was completed on November 22, 2012.  The Check-In section of the report provides a description of the bus and specifies its major components.

The primary part of the test program is the Structural Durability Test, which also provides the information for the Maintainability and Reliability results.  The Structural Durability Test was started on July 27, 20122 and was completed on November 16, 2012.

The interior of the bus is configured with seating for 31passengers including the driver.  Note: this test bus is not designed to accommodate standing passengers.  At 150 lbs per person, this load results in a measured gross vehicle weight of 18,690 lbs.  The first segment of the Structural Durability Test was performed with the bus loaded to a GVW of 18,690 lbs.  Due to the bus design of no standing passengers the middle segment was performed at the same load weight of 18,690 lbs and the final segment was performed at a curb weight of 13,820 lbs.  Durability driving resulted in unscheduled maintenance and failures that involved a variety of subsystems.  A description of failures, and a complete and detailed listing of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance is provided in the Maintainability section of this report.

Effective January 1, 2010 the Federal Transit Administration determined that the total number of simulated passengers used for loading all test vehicles will be based on the full complement of seats and free-floor space available for standing passengers (150 lbs per passenger).  The passenger loading used for dynamic testing will not be reduced in order to comply with Gross Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR’s) or the Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR’s) declared by the manufacturer.  Cases where the loading exceeds the GAWR and/or the GVWR will be noted accordingly.  During the testing program, all test vehicles transported or operated over public roadways will be loaded to comply with the GAWR and GVWR specified by the manufacturer.

The Reliability section compiles failures that occurred during Structural Durability Testing.  Breakdowns are classified according to subsystems.  The data in this section are arranged so that those subsystems with more frequent problems are apparent.  The problems are also listed by class as defined in Section 2.  The test bus encountered no Class 1 or Class 2 failures.  Of the five reported failures, three were Class 3 and two were Class 4.

The Safety Test, (a double-lane change, obstacle avoidance test) was safely performed in both right-hand and left-hand directions up to a maximum test speed of 45 mph.  The performance of the bus is illustrated by a speed vs. time plot.  Acceleration and gradeability test data are provided in Section 4, Performance.  The average time to obtain 50 mph was 19.66 seconds. 

A Fuel Economy Test was run on simulated central business district, arterial, and commuter courses.  The results were 0.74 M/lb, 0.81 M/lb, and 1.35 M/lb respectively; with an overall average of 0.87 M/lb.

 A series of Interior and Exterior Noise Tests was performed.  These data are listed in Section 7.1 and 7.2 respectively.

 The Emissions Test was performed.  These results are available in Section 8 of this report.

Number: 1210
Model: Aero Elite Ford F-550 CNG
Manufacturer: ELDORADO NATIONAL
Vin Number: 1FDAF5GY6BEC42689