Van Hool, an independent manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, will present a concept model of the Exqui.City, the so-called “tram-bus” representing high- level public transport, at the biennial UITP Congress in Milan, Italy (June 8-10, 2015 at the MiCo - Milano Congressi). With this concept model, Van Hool offers a solution to the ever increasing demands of passengers and public transport companies for comfortable, punctual, flexible, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective public transport.
For the design of this concept study, Van Hool took the existing Exqui.City vehicle as point of departure. Since the introduction of the Exqui.City in 2011, the designers at Van Hool, led by Jan Van Hool, Director of Design and Development at Van Hool, have gained considerable experience from passengers and public transport companies in Metz (F), Parma (I), Barcelona (E), Geneva (CH), Malmö (S), Bergen (N) and Luxembourg (L) where this high-level transport vehicle is already in service.
The exterior of the vehicle is distinctive in its large, plane surface that further emphasizes the modern, smooth and aerodynamic design of the Exqui.City. This is achieved by extending the window panes upwards and downwards. The window surface of the vehicle has been extended by approximately 30% and stretches from the ceiling almost to the floor line. As a result, More light enhances the sense of space in the vehicle, contributing to a pleasant travelling experience for the passengers.
In the interior of the concept study, the use of wheel-hub engines optimises the available surface of the lowered floor, offering a 100% plane floor along the full length of the vehicle and a larger standee capacity. This new floor concept also makes it possible to provide additional space for wheelchair passengers and/or baby strollers at the second access door. The interior and the seats have also been revisited: a characteristic feature of the vehicle’s interior lay-out is the addition of a large flip down cross bench. Seats and benches are covered with new, more durable materials. No solvents are used in the production of these materials, and the process requires 70% less water. Moreover, the manufacturing of these new materials produces 35% less CO2 emissions than in conventional microfiber fabrics. One of the new materials used is mainly made out of recycled polyester and the surfaces covered in these materials feel very soft and comfortable and are highly durable and easy to maintain.
The interior is characterized by the central skylight window that can be combined with indirect lighting. Large, bright electronic screens are affixed above the wide access and exit doors in order to inform passengers of the current and next stops, transfer points, tourist information, etc. Using the RGB LED interior lighting (which reproduces a broad array of colours) the driver can control the atmosphere with ambient colour temperatures in the vehicle.
The concept study would not be complete without contemporary hard- and software applications. WiFi is built into the vehicle and several USB ports are available for charging mobile devices e.g. smartphones and tablets.
The driver’s seat has also been revisited by the designers. The most notice-able change can be seen on the dashboard, where the vehicle’s operation is fully centralized on one centrally positioned 22” touchscreen equipped with the latest optical touch sensor technology where all control functions are operated and interior and exterior camera images are displayed. The software integrating the various functions and images was developed by VDH Software Solutions in Niel, Belgium. The only button still on the dashboard is the legally required emergency brake button. This makeover has resulted in a simple, streamlined dashboard that gives the user a clear overview.
At the 2015 UITP World Congress and Exhibition (http://www.uitpmilan2015.org/) in Milan, Italy (from June 8-10, 2015) in the Milano Congressi (MiCo), Hall 3 – Booth 140, Van Hool will be there to gauge the reactions of the many thousands of professional visitors to this biennial, a major event for the public transport sector.
About van Hool
Van Hool is an independent Belgian manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles. The company, founded in 1947, is located in Koningshooikt. The bulk of its production is destined for export in Europe and America. Van Hool employs more than 4,750 staff around the world, of whom the major part is based on the production site in Koningshooikt and Bree (Belgium) and in Skopje (Macedonia).