Van Hool introduces new A range of electric buses; battery-electric, fuel cell (hydrogen) and trolley
Van Hool, the Belgian manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, presented its first edition of a completely new range of 100% zero emission buses on the first day of Euro Mobility Expo 2022, an international trade show for public transport.
The Van Hool A12 Battery Electric is the first vehicle in a completely new range of buses in four different lengths (12m, 13m, 18m and 24m) equipped with exclusively zero emission powertrains: battery-electric, fuel cell (hydrogen) and trolley.
With this new A range, the company is building on the knowledge and experience it has gained in the area of eco-friendly buses for public urban and regional transport. Van Hool is ready to provide a response to the ever-growing demand from public transport companies that are focusing on ‘greening’ their fleets. Even before the official announcement of the new A range Van Hool had 13 orders on its books, for a total of 162 buses.
he intention in designing the new A range was to come up with an eco-friendly (100 per cent zero emissions), comfortable, safe, timeless and sustainable bus range that can be used in urban and regional transport in Europe. Our aim was to present an integrated new range to meet the high expectations of the transport companies, the drivers and the passengers.
The new interior and exterior design and the choice of three different powertrains were linked, on the one hand, to the international experiences that we have built up over the past few decades and, on the other, to the challenges that public transport companies will face over the coming years. Our customers are focusing on greening their fleets and are pursuing zero emissions. They are tying that to comfort and safety for the users of public transport, a pleasant working environment for the driver and a TCO (total cost of ownership) in order to perform their task profitably.
More than ever, we are ready to play a significant role on the European public transport market. We now have a completely new range of urban buses, in four different lengths (12m, 13m, 18m and 24m), which are equipped with exclusively zero emissions powertrains: battery-electric, fuel cell (hydrogen) and trolley.—Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool NV
In the design and development of the new A range, particular attention was paid to the weight, sustainability and modularity of the buses.
Structural weight savings were achieved through the use of high strength stainless steel, low-weight composite materials and sustainable bonding techniques. For this, computer simulation and optimization techniques were used, combined with more than 75 years’ skill and experience.
A modular fastening system has been fitted on the self-supporting sandwich roof of the bus for the integration of parts such as batteries, and air conditioning and control systems. Upgrading/updating, any subsequent modifications and replacement with other parts will be easier as a result, therefore guaranteeing a long life of the vehicle. This way, Van Hool is making an important contribution to the circular economy.
The design of the new A range is characterized by its aerodynamic shape at the front. The large windshield provides an optimum view for both driver and passengers. The buses are fitted with the newest generation LED headlights with daytime driving lights.
The large rear window lets in plenty of natural light. Also at the rear, the newest generation LED lights have been used. The large access hatch in the rear panel provides user-friendly access to the technical section of the bus. Large side windows enhance the amount of natural light coming into the bus, contributing to a bright interior. The buses have wide passenger doors, making boarding and alighting easier for passengers. For the driver, a closed cab with plenty of storage space is provided as standard.
The ergonomic cab, which meets the standards of the Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen (VDV), gives the driver a view of all the vehicle’s features at a glance, improving general safety. The interior climate is regulated by a system whereby conditioned air comes from a central roof air duct, based on heat pump technology (with water as the condenser) and traction heat recovery, resulting in energy savings compared to a classic heat pump.
To maximize the vehicles’ range, it was crucial to minimize their empty weight. By using finite element calculation techniques on the one hand, and high strength (duplex) types of stainless steel on the other, it was possible to optimize the steel structure of both the chassis and the side frame. The integration of a state-of-the-art lightweight sandwich roof completes the weight optimization.
Van Hool is an independent Belgian bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer, based in Koningshooikt. The company was founded in 1947 and celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2022. The vast majority of units produced are destined for Europe and the US. Van Hool has around 3,500 staff worldwide, the majority of whom work at the production facilities in Koningshooikt (Belgium) and Skopje (North Macedonia).