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Progressive partnership paves path to whole vehicle type approval

3 November 2010  •  Source: NC Creative Group

Wrightbus and Arriva will celebrate the successful completion of another order at this week’s EBE Show, with the handover of a specially engineered Gemini 2 Double Deck bus which has been further developed with a view to meeting the requirements of European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval.

It was at the same show in November 2008 that the modular-based Wrightbus Gemini 2 Double Deck made its first public appearance, offering operators a choice of diesel (Gemini 2 DL) or hybrid-electric drivelines (Gemini 2 HEV). Two years on and following the successful introduction of both Hybrid and Diesel versions, Wrightbus have, in partnership with Arriva, taken the opportunity to further refine their Integral Double Deck to meet European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval requirements.

“Working closely with Arriva, we took the opportunity of using the final bus due for delivery in the 57 vehicle programme to incorporate a number of engineering changes, which will hopefully pave the way to full European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) in accordance with Directive 2007/46/EC” said Damian McGarry, Product Development Director at Wrightbus.

He added, “Unlike our new StreetLite midi bus product, where we were able to include ECWVTA in the design specification from the outset, our work with the Gemini 2 DL Double Deck has involved re-engineering an existing product to satisfy the additional requirements of this level of Certification.”

“This has involved meeting 26 or more additional technical compliances to vehicle design, components and systems, mainly focusing on safety and environmental gains – which in themselves are not headline specification changes, but in aggregate represent a significant development in design, engineering and testing compared to the vehicles delivered to date. Importantly, this has been achieved without impacting on parts commonality in relation to the current product.”

In common with all 56 vehicles already delivered to Arriva London, the Wrightbus Gemini 2 DL on display at the show is a 10.4m length Integral Double Deck, built to meet Transport for London (TfL) requirements. It is powered by a Cummins 6 cylinder, 6.7 litre Euro 5 engine and a Voith D854.5 automatic transmission.

An integrated driver compartment with partition door and a specifically designed information console provides safety and functionality for the driver. A three camera CCTV system in turn provides additional security and assurance for passengers.

Specified with 41 seats on the top deck and 24 on the lower saloon, with room for a further 23 standees, the two door vehicle has a maximum capacity of 88, which, in combination with its comprehensive overall specification, makes the Gemini 2 DL ideally suited to cope with the rigorous demands of day to day operation in London in a highly productive and cost efficient way.

To date, a total of 170 Gemini 2’s – including 23 Low Bridge versions and five HEV powered models – have been delivered to Arriva plc since the launch of this groundbreaking Double Deck bus in 2008.

The relationship between Arriva and Wrightbus is a long-standing one – the company purchased the first ever Wrightbus Double Deck bus, which made its debut at the then named “Coach & Bus” show in 2001. They were also the first operator to take delivery of the Pulsar Gemini Double Deck bus on a VDL DB250 platform back in 2003 and just one year later took delivery of the 1,000th Double Deck bus produced by Wrightbus. Today, Wrightbus has bodied more than a quarter of Arriva plc’s bus fleet currently in operation in the UK – a proportion that rises to two out of every five buses within the M25.

Ian Tarran, Engineering Director UK Bus Arriva plc said; “The collaboration between Arriva and Wrightbus has produced many of the features on this and previous models, which have been aimed at easing the difficulties encountered in maintaining a modern sophisticated bus. Wrightbus has always been eager to listen to our ideas and, wherever possible, incorporate them in to the design of the bus. The Gemini 2 Double Deck bus is therefore a good example of industry best practice.”

“Arriva have played a pivotal role in the continuing development of the Gemini 2 – our engineers have been allowed unprecedented operational access to their garages, which has provided invaluable data and other feedback for this important project”, said Wright Group Managing Director, Mark Nodder.

“Thanks to Arriva, our Integral Double Deck is now an established part of our model range and the further enhancements made on the vehicle, that we have great pleasure in officially handing over today, demonstrates not only our strong and deep relationship, but also a shared approach to engineering excellence.”