Belgian bus and coach manufacturer Van Hool will deliver 14 brand new tram-buses to De Lijn. The Flemish public transport company is improving and greening its public transport services in the Brussels Noordrand area.
The striking tram-buses are a new addition to the Belgian roads. Van Hool launched the Exqui.City Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) model in 2014. It won many awards and contracts. European cities such as Metz, Barcelona, Parma, Geneva, Luxembourg, Malmö, Bergen, Linz and Hamburg quickly jumped on the… tram-bus, as you may have read in these articles published on BeAutomotive.
Energy-efficient and greener than buses
The Exqui.City combines the flexibility of a bus with the efficiency of light rail. This makes it the epitome of high-quality public transport.
Tram-buses that ride in their own bedding require fewer investments in infrastructure than light rail and are more energy efficient and greener than conventional buses. They can be powered by a diesel-hybrid engine, a biogas-electric (CNG-hybrid) engine, a fully electric powertrain supplied by batteries or via overhead lines, or soon by fuel cells (hydrogen).
137 passengers in one single tram-bus
The hybrid tram-buses destined for De Lijn will be of the ‘Exqui.City 24 Hyb’ type. From the end of 2018, they will ride on the Ring tram-bus line in Brussels’ Noordrand area. A trip between the Heysel and Brussels Airport will not take longer than 38 minutes when they are in service.
The 24-metre long vehicle can transport 137 passengers. Its four wide doors for boarding and disembarking passengers also facilitate access to wheelchairs, buggies and bicycles.
The tram-buses can run on both hybrid and fully electric propulsion, for example when leaving the stop and departing from a traffic light.
25-litre fuel savings per 100 km
Thanks to their hybrid propulsion platform, combining batteries and a diesel engine, the tram-buses use 25 litres less fuel per 100 kilometres. In the future, they will also be able to run fully electric subject to some modifications and when fast-charging stations are set up along their routes.
“These green and comfortable tram-buses are good news for those who live and travel in the Noordrand,” says De Lijn General Manager Roger Kesteloot. “Since these hybrid tram-buses recover braking energy, they are up to a quarter quieter and more efficient. Thanks to these 14 hybrid buses, we will save about 200,000 litres of diesel every year and reduce CO2 emissions by about 550 tonnes. This improvement comes on top of the benefits of having 283 new hybrid buses soon across Flanders.”
Securing jobs in Koningshooikt
This new order is good for employment in the Van Hool site of Koningshooikt where the company focuses on building vehicles with high added value, such as the Exqui.City.
Read here the press release issued by Van Hool.