Nova Bus LFS

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The Nova Bus LFS is now an icon of public transit. The bus is recognized all over North America.

The story of the LFS began in 1993, when the Alliance, a European bus from Den Ousten Bussen was imported for evaluation. Based on that bus, many prototypes were built and tested in 1994 and 1995. The LFS was finally marketed at the end of 1995.

Back then, the Nova Bus LFS was a revolutionary bus, due to many particularities. The “one piece” windshield is a good example; it was something completely new on transit buses. The monocoque frame of the LFS was originally made of steel, but it was later produced with Stainless Steel to prevent corrosion troubles. The outside structure of the bus consists of fiberglass panels adhering to the frame. The lower sides of the bus are covered with thermoplastic skirt panels. It is something that transit agencies like because it doesn’t take long to replace. These panels are always painted grey, to accelerate the replacement.

Originally, the engine of the LFS was mounted on the left side of the rear of the bus. Though, starting in 2008, Nova Bus started to produce and test some buses with the engine mounted at the centre of the rear of the bus, with the cooling system above the rear window (T-Drive configuration). Every LFS produced after May 2009, have that configuration.

Through the years, the LFS was offered with many options such as regular front doors/wide front doors or full low-flow or partial low-floor. The full low-floor had a low-floor even after the rear doors and the seats were elevated on platforms. The partial low-floor has a step just before the rear wheels.

Changes through the years

The LFS has improved a lot since its creation in the middle of the 1990’s. The bus had little as well as many significant modifications.

From the end of 1995 to the end of 1996, the first LFS featured a curved oval lip under the windshield between the lights, which included the Nova Bus logo.

From the beginning (late 1995) to early 1999, the side windows had square corners. After that, the windows were replaced by the ones with rounded corners. Also, the rear top equipment door and the window were originally integrated to the body and had the rear destination sign incorporated into the window, until 1999.

In 2000, the square tail lights that had been inherited from the Classic, have been replaced by small round tail lights.

In 2001, with the beginning of the second generation, the Stainless Steel frame appeared. The big round tail lights also appeared, but they only became standard in 2003. Still in 2001, the rear panel of the bus was simplified with a gasket sealed window and a separate, obtrusive rear destination sign. That was to reduce the cost of production.

In 2005, the LFS became no longer available with a full low-floor, the partial low-floor configuration became standard.

In 2007, Nova Bus redesigned the headlight clusters of the LFS, moving the lights further to the edges of the bus. Both the standard halogen headlight and dual projector headlights were available. A slot also appeared between the two lights. Also, the 1/3-2/3 front door became available in 2007, as an option to the wide front door. Finally, the rear access panel received a grid of vents to deal with the heat of the particulate filter.

In 2009, the third generation of the LFS was finally introduced. The main difference with the third generation is the new engine placement (T-Drive configuration). Also, the rear lights are now stacked vertically in a red background molding stretching from the top to the bottom of the bus. This molding later became available in others colors; Black and White.

In 2013, the LFS entered its 4th generation. This was a slight retool of the 3rd generation design, the main differences being the redesign of the rear to be optimized for the new EPA 2013 compliant engines, as well as a modular compartments for the engine and engine cooling system. As of 2013, the Nova eCooling system became standard with all new vehicles, which also increased the height of the bus at the rear by about an inch for improved access and ventilation. Also standard as of 2012-2013, the new modular interior design for ease of maintenance and improved aesthetics.

NovaBus LFS Suburban

A Suburban version of the LFS became available in 2005. These buses can have up to 49 seats, luggage racks including LED reading lights, and air conditioning is often present in those buses. This type of LFS has been specially designed for the routes of 1 hour and more.

NovaBus LFS Shuttle

Still in 2005, a Shuttle application of the LFS became available. This version of the LFS features luggage racks. This type of bus is mostly used for airport shuttles.


Every version of the LFS is available with a diesel electric hybrid system. These buses are exactly the same than the regular LFS, but they feature a hybrid powertrain.

  • Cummins ISB6.7 EPA 2013, 6.7L (2013-present)
  • Cummins ISB6.7 EPA 2010, 6.7L (2010-2013)
  • Cummins ISB EPA 2007, 6.7L (2009 to 2010)
  • Cummins ISL EPA 2004, 8.9L (2006 to 2007)
  • Cummins ISL EPA 2007, 8.9L (2007 to 2009)
Transmission system
  • Allison H 40 EP (2010-present)
  • Allison EP40 System (2006-2010)


Here are some specifications about the buses part of the LFS series.

  • Length: 40 ft.
  • Width: 102 in.
  • Height:
  • 124 in. (new T-Drive configuration, since 2009)
  • 123 in. (old rear, from 1995 to 2009)
  • Wheelbase: 244 in.
  • Cummins ISL9 EPA 2013, 8.9L, 280 hp (2013-present)
  • Cummins ISL9 EPA 2010, 8.9L, 280 hp (2010 to 2013)
  • Cummins ISL EPA 2007, 8.9L, 250 or 280 hp (2007 to 2010)
  • Cummins ISL EPA 2004, 8.9L, 250 or 280 hp (2004 to 2007)
  • Cummins ISC EPA 2004, 8.3L (2002 to 2004)
  • Cummins ISC EPA 1998, 8.3L (1998 to 2002)
  • Cummins C8.3 8.3L (1995 to 1998)
  • Detroit Diesel Series 40 (from 1995 to 2004)
  • Allison B400R (1995 to present)
  • Voith D864.5 (2005 to present)
  • ZF EcoLife 6AP1400B (2010 to present)
  • ZF Ecomat 6HP554C (2006 to 2010)
  • ZF Ecomat 4/5HP500 (1995 to 1999)
  • ZF Ecomat 5/6HP552C (1999 to 2006)
  • Plywood subfloor (1995 to 2008)
  • Composite subfloor:
  • Altro Transflor
  • Gerflor Tarabus
  • MCC: standard (heat only)
  • Carrier RF-353
  • Thermo King Athenia
  • Thermo King LRT
Electric system
  • Volvo Bus Electronic Architecture
  • Front:
  • ZF RL 85
  • Meritor FH-946 (1995 to 2005)
  • Rear:
  • ZF AV 132
  • Meritor RC-26-720 (1995 to 2005)
Brake System
  • ABS disk brakes with traction control