Nova Bus LF Series

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Low Floor Series
MTA New York City Bus Nova LFS (2009) demo.jpg
MTA NovaBus LFS demo
Manufacturer Nova Bus
Production 1996–present
Assembly Saint-Eustache, Quebec
Body and chassis
Class Transit bus
Body style Single-decker rigid bus
Single-decker articulated bus
Doors 2 doors (rigid), 3 doors (articulated), 1 door (Suburban/Shuttle)
Floor type Semi low-floor
Engine Cummins ULSD ISL 8.9L 280hp
Cummins ULSD ISL 8.9L 330hp
Cummins Hybrid ISB 6.7L 280hp
Cummins Hybrid ISL 8.9L 330hp
Transmission Allison (B400R, B500R, H 40 EP - Hybrid, H 50 EP - Hybrid)
ZF (EcoLife 6 speed)
Voith D864.5E 4 speed
Wheelbase 244 in (6.20 m) - 40'
497 in (12.62 m) (Front-Mid 244 in (6.20 m) mad Mid-Rear 253 in (6.43 m)) - 62'
Length 40 ft (12.19 m)
62 ft (18.90 m) - articulated
Width 102 in (2.59 m)
Height 124 in (3.15 m) - ULSD
128 in (3.25 m) - Hybrid (with AC)
Predecessor Rapid Transit Series (after 2003)
Classic (transit bus)

The Low Floor Series (LFS) bus is a series of transit buses manufactured by NovaBus for North American customers. After taking over the former GM bus plant in St Eustache, Quebec, from Motor Coach Industries (MCI) in 1993, Novabus management was invited by the Quebec government to design and produce a low-floor bus similar to the style popular in the European market. Novabus chose to adapt the Dutch Den Oudsten Alliance. A demonstrator, along with some engineering staff were sent from Holland; however by 1994 Den Oudsten was in financial trouble and was not able to further collaborate with Novabus which then had to design a low-floor bus from scratch.[citation needed] It is worth noting that the limited engineering staff that was acquired by Novabus along with the bus plant had never designed a complete bus; the Classic was an updated version of the GM New Look bus, which had been designed by General Motors in the late 1950s.

The first prototype was shown at the fall 1994 American Public Transportation Association show in Boston. Full development postponed production until 1996.

In parallel, Detroit Diesel had announced that 1994 would mark the withdrawal of its two-stroke diesel engines that had traditionally provided power for North American transit buses since the 1950s; the two stroke technology could not be modified to comply with new US EPA regulations. While Novabus’ initial plan was to introduce the low-floor LFS while maintaining the lower cost Classic in production, the initial release of the Cummins powered Classic "T-Drive" in 1995 was underdeveloped and plagued with severe reliability problems. A decision was made to concentrate development resources on the new LFS and to discontinue the Classic as soon as the LFS was in full production.[citation needed]

These events canceled the initial plan to produce a pilot run of 80 LFS to be put in revenue service in four major Quebec transit properties, then gather reliability and service data to further refine the design before entering serial production. By the time the first LFS (STCUM 16-004) entered revenue service at the end of 1996, about 400 LFS were already built, awaiting acceptance from the same Quebec properties. These early LFS were also plagued with reliability and serviceability problems; but unlike the Cummins-powered Classics, the problems were throughout the bus and not concentrated on the drivetrain.[citation needed]


The current LF is offered in seven models:

Model Length Type
LFS 40-foot (12.19 m) standard transit bus
LFS Articulated 60-foot (18.29 m) articulated
LFX 40-foot (12.19 m) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
LFX Articulated 62-foot (18.90 m) articulated BRT
LFS Smartbus 40-foot (12.19 m) standard transit bus with electric cooling
LFS Smartbus Articulated 62-foot (18.90 m) articulated transit bus with electric cooling
LFS HEV 40-foot (12.19 m) Hybrid Electric Vehicle
LFS HEV Articulated 62-foot (18.90 m) articulated Hybrid Electric Vehicle
LFS CNG 40-foot (12.19 m) CNG transit bus

LFS Shuttle and LFS Suburban are variants outside of the regular products offered. The LFS Shuttle and the LFS Suburban have some features from commuter coaches, with all forward-facing seats and no rear exit. In addition, Nova Bus is working on an electric variant with multiple power source options. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered articulateds are not offered.[1]


The LFS began production in 1995 and has since expanded to the current models:[2]


1st generation 1995-2000[edit]

Mild steel space frame construction up to early 1998 then stainless steel; full low floor layout with sloped floor over rear axle; Cummins C8.3 mechanical injection engine, 250 hp (no AC) or 280 hp (with AC) (Detroit Series 40 optional for a brief period); initially Allison B300/B400 transmission only, after 1996 ZF 5HP500 optional. ZF RL-85 front axle with Knorr disc brakes; AV131 rear axle with Perrot drum brakes (Meritor axles with drum brakes optional).

2nd generation 2001-2006[edit]

Stainless steel space frame construction; full low floor layout with sloped floor over rear axle with optional raised platform with steps at the rear; mild revision of rear end styling; Cummins ISC electronic injection engine (2001-2004) replaced by ISL mid-2004. Allison B300/B400 or ZF 5HP552C transmission; rear axle now AV132. Dinex multiplex electrical system.

212nd generation 2007-2009 (March)[edit]

Stainless steel space frame construction; semi low floor layout with steps at the rear; Cummins ISL engine; Allison B300/B400, ZF 5HP552/554 transmission or Voith D864.3E or Voith D864.5E transmission; Allison hybrid drive available; Knorr disc brakes now on both axles; multiplex system Volvo VBEA.

3rd generation 2009-2013[edit]

Engine moved from its lateral location to the centerline of the bus in a "T-drive" arrangement; cooling system moved to the roof of the bus (this change made necessary by the bulky smog control equipment). Transmissions now Allison/ZF Ecolife/Voith D864.5. Floor boards changed from plywood to synthetic honeycomb. Most units delivered with a rear window.

4th generation 2013-[edit]

New interior design; change from hydraulic to electric cooling fans. BAE Hybridrive available from May 2014. Most units delivered without a rear window.

LFS articulated[edit]

introduced in production April 2009 with same technology as above. 330 hp engine rating, Allison hybrid available from mid-2010. Hubner electro-hydraulic articulation.



LFS HEV[edit]

2006- hybrid version, as above

LFS shuttlebus[edit]

(LFS 40') 2005-

LFS Suburban[edit]

40' 2005-

LFS CNG[edit]

40' 2013-

LFSe BEV[edit]

2011 APTA Expo prototype demo, production ~2016.[3][4]


See also[edit]


External links[edit]