Van Hool, the independent manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, will be showcasing its first fully electric trambus, Exqui.City, at “Transports Publics 2016”, the international trade fair for public transport, which will be held in Paris from 14 to 16 June. This brand new trambus is 18.61 metres long, carries 107 passengers and has a range of 120·km. The order for 2 fully electric Exqui.City trambuses will be completed this summer for Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH), a local public transport company from Hamburg, Germany.
On the very first day of the trade fair, Tuesday, 14 June, at 2 p.m., Jan Van Hool, Director of Design and Development at Van Hool, and Toralf Müller, Director of Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH), will unveil the vehicle on the Van Hool stand.
The two trambuses ordered by VHH are the first Exqui.City models to be exclusively powered by electricity. This type of vehicle for high-quality public transport has a multi-propulsion platform. With this platform, both the 18 m and 24 m models of the Exqui.City offer a base for the use of various eco-friendly propulsion systems, such as trolley, hybrid systems (diesel-electric; CNG-electric), fuel cells and batteries. The client is free to opt for the vehicle propulsion system that best suits its needs (capacity, any existing infrastructure) and the topography of the environment where the vehicle will be deployed. Since the presentation of the basic concept for this vehicle in Dubai in 2011, 109 trambuses with a length of 18 metres (articulated) up to 24 metres (double-articulated) have already been delivered to eight cities, namely Metz (F), Parma (I), Barcelona (E), Geneva (CH), Malmö (S), Bergen (N), Martinique (F) and Luxembourg (L). A further 50 trambuses are currently being manufactured at Van Hool’s factory in Koningshooikt for Linz (A) and Belfast (UK), and the finishing touches are being applied to the 2 trambuses for Hamburg (D). These trambuses combine the flexibility of a bus with the efficiency of a tram because they fully or predominantly travel on their own track. The new trambuses have a timeless futuristic design and a high level of comfort with air conditioning, a low noise level and soft interior lighting.
The fully electric trambus is equipped with a lithium-ion battery, which has a storage capacity of 215 kWh. This battery enables a range of 120 km, more than sufficient to travel the route several times. The battery powers two electric water-cooled Siemens central motors from the ELFA 2 series, each with a capacity of 160 kW. The battery is mounted on the roof and can be charged conductively in two ways. It can be charged by an external pantograph (installed at the terminus) that is lowered from above onto insulated V-shaped charging rails on the roof of the vehicle. This “fast charge” takes no more than 10 minutes. Alternatively, the vehicle can be connected up to the electricity grid by plugging a connector in the front of the vehicle into a designated power outlet; this is done outside service hours and usually overnight in the depot. This “night charge” takes around 4 hours for a full charge from 0% to 100. The high-voltage electrical components are hidden away on the roof of the vehicle with protective panels that fit perfectly in the sleek design of the Exqui.City trambus. For the new vehicle commissioned by VHH, the innovative tram design is being used again, lending the bus a unique presence in the streetscape. Boarding is optimised by having a low step and easy access thanks to the vehicle’s three double doors and two ramps for wheelchairs and/or prams.
Jan Van Hool, Director of Design & Development at Van Hool nv, is particularly enthusiastic about the technological advances and commercial results of this concept. “The multi-propulsion platform that Van Hool has developed is now really coming into its own with the presentation of the first fully electric Exqui.City. The different types of drive offer the public transport companies concerned ample opportunity to make economically and ecologically sound choices for modern, contemporary public transport. The fact that various cities from various European countries, not to mention distant Martinique, are opting for this solution gives us the confidence that even more applications will follow. ‘High-Tech from Belgium’ is another strong argument for both the concept and the Koningshooikt site. At Transports Publics 2016 in Paris we will undoubtedly make even more commercial contacts.”
About Van Hool
Van Hool is an independent Belgian manufacturer of buses, touring coaches and industrial vehicles. The company, founded in 1947, is established in Koningshooikt. Most of its production is intended for Europe and America. Van Hool has over 4,650 employees worldwide, of which most work in the production sites in Koningshooikt and Bree (Belgium) and in Skopje (Macedonia).