Van Hool, the Belgian bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer, is previewing the Exqui.City Design Mettis at Transports Publics, the biennial European mobility exhibition in Paris (Porte de Versailles, from 5 to 7 June 2012) for the public transport sector. It is a 24 metre long, bi-articulated bus with a (diesel-electric) hybrid drive system that will be used for public transport in and round the city of Metz (France) from September 2013. Mettis, Metz’s public transport project, has ordered 27 Exqui.City bi-articulated, diesel-electric hybrid buses.
The Exqui.City Design Mettis is the result of close collaboration between Metz Métropole, its study group Mettis and Van Hool. This ambitious project has seen Van Hool enter the French market of BHNS (Bus à Haut Niveau de Service, or Bus with a High Level of Service). It is to be the first BHNS fleet of 100% hybrid vehicles on the road in France. Metz Métropole has placed an order for 27 such vehicles that will be put into operation from September 2013.
The new BHNS vehicles from Van Hool combine the flexibility of a bus with the punctuality of a light railway and offer passengers a luxurious, user-friendly means of transport. In order to do this Van Hool has developed a vehicle with a sophisticated design that flawlessly combines a superior environment with high commercial speed. This vehicle clearly distinguishes itself from traditional buses and presents an image of public transport that provides a high level of service.
The separate driver’s cabin guarantees ergonomic comfort, leading to improved performance by the driver and enhanced safety.
The vehicle’s drive system is like that of a diesel-electric hybrid bus, the benefits of which are clear:
Recovery of braking energy;
Optimised performance of the diesel engine;
Reduced fuel consumption;
The exterior design of the Exqui.City Design Mettis is neutral and elegant. The bus’s exterior shape and its aerodynamic look, at the front and rear, underline the fact that it is a fast and reliable means of transport. And the fluid lines and the wheel covers emphasise the Exqui.City Design Mettis’s attractive identity. In addition to low aerodynamic resistance, the curved sides at the front and rear make it extremely flexible and enable it to move and manoeuvre easily and very safely in an urban environment.
The design of the exterior is continued in the interior. Van Hool successfully emphasises high quality using simplicity and attention to detail. Specialists have opted for a layout with uninterrupted lines. Indirect lighting and innovative air-conditioning increase comfort, creating a contemporary space that focuses on easy accessibility, light and comfort to make passengers feel calm and relaxed.
Not only Metz but also Barcelona (Spain) and Parma (Italy) have shown an interest in this unique vehicle. Barcelona has ordered 3 Exqui.City bi-articulated diesel-electric hybrid buses. Delivery is planned for the beginning of 2013. T.E.P. (Trasporti pubblici Parma), the public transport company from the city of Parma in the north of Italy, has ordered 9 Exqui.City hybrid trolleybuses from Van Hool. Delivery will commence mid 2012.