Van Hool to build 20 electric tram-buses for Linz (Austria)

Van Hool to build 20 electric tram-buses for Linz (Austria)
  • The 100% electric, zero-emissions tram-bus demonstrates Van Hool's innovative strength.
  • The first ever double-articulated tram-bus in Austria.
  • The Van Hool tram-bus makes further gains in Europe.

Koningshooikt – Van Hool, the independent bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer located in Koningshooikt, Belgium, has reached an agreement with LINZ AG LINIEN, the public transport operator in the Austrian city of Linz and the surrounding area. The agreement concerns the supply of twenty 24-metre, double-articulated, fully electric and zero-emissions Exqui.City tram-buses. Delivery of the first prototypes of the tram-buses is planned for the first half of 2017. All vehicles are to be in service on lines 41, 43, 45 and 46 in Linz, and the wider area, towards the end of 2019.

This order represents a first for Van Hool. With their innovative drive technology, comprising two electric motors and a battery-powered reserve drive, Linz's new double-articulated trolley tram-buses will be entirely electrically powered and will generate zero emissions. The tram-buses demonstrate Van Hool's innovative strength in a particularly competitive market for high-quality public transport.

Klaus Luger, Mayor of the Austrian city of Linz (with almost 200,000 inhabitants), explained as follows: "Making Linz's public transport attractive is a top priority of mine. With the twenty double-articulated trolley tram-buses, we are setting new standards. The city's trolley buses will be the most advanced in the country. As a result, users of public transport in Linz will enjoy even greater comfort and convenience. On the one hand, more passengers can be carried; and on the other hand, the interior of the vehicles is even more appealing. And what's more, the vehicles' innovative drive technology is good for the environment."

"This major order is good news for two reasons," says Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool nv. "Firstly, it's good news for the employees at our Koningshooikt site, where we must concentrate on producing vehicles with high added value, such as the Exqui.City. Not in the least because on the market for standard urban buses, it is becoming impossible to compete with rival manufacturers who have moved production of these standard buses entirely to low-cost countries such as Turkey and the Czech Republic.

Secondly, the order confirms that our strategy of focusing upon the development, production and sale of buses for high-quality public transport is bearing fruit. In fact, we're confident that we will have more to report in this area in the course of the coming weeks and months."

In contrast to previous trolley models of this tram-bus, which still relied on a diesel engine, to bridge the brief interruptions with the overhead line, the two electric motors of the modern trolley tram-bus are supplemented by a clean, electric back-up drive employing a battery. This innovative drive technology now enables brief interruptions with the overhead line being bridged without difficulty. This increases the vehicles' flexibility.

The electric traction system is supplied by Vossloh Kiepe. The double-articulated trolley tram-bus is powered by two maintenance-free asynchronous motors, located centrally and driving axles 2 and 3. The battery for the back-up drive is charged during travel by contact with the overhead line and/or by regenerative braking.

30% higher passenger capacity

With an identical timetable and crew numbers, the new trolley tram-buses increase the passenger capacity by no less than 30%. At present, the trolley buses in LINZ AG LINES' fleet have a length of approximately 18 metres. The new double-articulated trolley tram-buses with a length of 24 metres have a capacity of approximately 180 passengers per vehicle.

"In order to manage and increase customer satisfaction in our public transport system, we must meet high standards of quality and comfort," says Dr. Jutta Rinner, Board Director of LINZ AG. "The use of advanced technology and a modern fleet are important elements in providing new impetus to public transport in Linz. We are very pleased that with the new double-articulated trolley tram-buses, we are able once again to demonstrate the pioneering role played by LINZ AG LINES in public transport in Austria."

The Exqui.City combines the flexibility of a bus with the efficiency of light rail. The tram-buses have a distinctively futuristic design and a high level of comfort, with air-conditioning, low noise levels, and subdued lighting. Accessibility is excellent, owing to the low boarding height and rapid entry through the three or four wide doors. Customers can select from a range of drive options for vehicles of this type. With its Multi Propulsion Platform, the Exqui.City serves in both its 18 m and 24 m versions as a basis for the use of different environment-friendly drive systems, such as trolley buses, hybrid systems, and fuel cell or battery propulsion.

The Van Hool Exqui.City is a realistic response to the demand for safe, environment-friendly, efficient and low-cost urban public transport. Metz (F), Barcelona (E), Parma (I), Geneva (CH), Luxembourg (L), Malmö (S), Bergen (N), Hamburg (D) and Martinique (F) are among the cities that have chosen the Exqui.City for these reasons.

Van Hool is an independent Belgian manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles. The company was incorporated in 1947 and is based in Koningshooikt. The bulk of its output is destined for Europe and America. Van Hool has well over 4,750 employees worldwide, the majority of them of course in the production plants in Koningshooikt and Bree (Belgium) and Skopje (Macedonia).

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Editors, for more information, you can contact:

Dirk Snauwaert, Public Relations Manager at Van Hool,
Bernard Van Hoolstraat 58, 2500 Lier (Koningshooikt).
Tel.: +32 (0)3 420 22 12; Mobile: +32 (0)499 555 032;
e-mail: dirk.snauwaert@vanhool.be.
Website: www.vanhool.be
Website ExquiCity: www.exquicity.be