As anticipated, Van Hool has unveiled at the European Mobility Expo 2022 in Paris the first edition of a completely new range of 100% zero emission buses. ZF AxTrax is the chosen drivetrain, while battery modules are provided by Akasol and can provide up to 490 kWh.
The Van Hool A12 Battery Electric, exhibited in Paris, is the first vehicle of the new product family, that will consist of four different lengths (12m, 13m, 18m and 24m) equipped with exclusively zero emission powertrains: battery-electric, fuel cell (hydrogen) and trolley.
Even before the official announcement of the new A range Van Hool had 13 orders on its books, for a total of 162 buses.
Van Hool A buses: lighter and modular
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.
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.
The design of the new A range is characterised by its aerodynamic shape at the front. The large windscreen 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 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 unique 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.
Van Hool: only zero emission buses for public transport
Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool NV, explains: “The 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.”
162 Van Hool A buses already ordered
Even before the A range was officially introduced, the Koningshooikt-based company already had 13 orders on the books, for a total of 162 buses, summed up by the manufacturer as follow:
- 67 Van Hool A13 battery-electric buses for Tide – Aalborg (DK)
- 36 Van Hool A13 battery-electric buses for De Lijn – Flanders (B)
- 19 Van Hool A12 battery-electric buses for leaseholders of De Lijn – Groep Waaslandia (B), De Decker – Van Riet (B), Parmentier (B)
- 2 Van Hool A12 fuel cell buses for FAHMA – Frankfurt (D)
- 4 Van Hool A12 fuel cell buses for Pau (F)
- 14 Van Hool A12 fuel cell buses for Réseau Astuce – Rouen (F)
- 7 Van Hool A12 fuel cell buses for SMTC90 – Belfort (F)
- 7 Van Hool A12 fuel cell buses for Lorient (F)
- 6 Van Hool A12 fuel cell buses for Eberswalde (D)