Belgian bus manufacturer Van Hool has secured an order to build 21 fully “zero-emission” electric trambuses – i.e. a sensible alternative to light rail – for Swedish operator Nobina, Europe’s biggest company. passenger transport in Scandinavia, he reports.
The Exqui.City combines the flexibility of a bus with the efficiency of a tram, explains Van Hool.
Van Hool – an independent manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles which has produced more than 1,200 electric vehicles – is due to deliver the 24-metre articulated trambus model “Exqui.City” for service in mid-2022 in Malmö , in Sweden, the company confirms.
The use of buses versus light rail has always been a contentious issue in global transport circles, with invariably the pros and cons of buses various sources will find, in terms of cost – depending on travel goals city commuters.
Locally, even the Public Transport Users Association of Victoria is dispelling the “urban myth” that “heavy rail costs too much; we should build light rail instead’ as Sydneysiders still absorb the news from late 2019 when NSW’s Auditor General found the city’s light rail project was over $150m the budget when it is opened.
Add to that the capability of a “light rail-like vehicle on wheels” and the cost advantage of the bus arguably solidifies tenfold – although apparently still taboo in this region.
Since 2014, 15 Van Hool hybrid articulated trambuses have been in service in Malmo, so this euro order seems like a natural progression as electronic technology advances.
These new upcoming vehicles are electric with rechargeable battery and will be recharged at the Nobina depot in Malmö, confirms Van Hool.
“This order confirms the confidence that Nobina has in Van Hool. It is a new and important reference for Van Hool and it represents undeniable proof of the technological power of the company”, said Filip Van Hool, CEO by Van Hool.
“Van Hool is fully committed to its range of 100% zero emission buses and coaches.
“We are convinced that the various 100% zero-emission solutions we offer – battery electric, trolley and hydrogen – can, depending on the local application, provide an answer to the environmental and sustainable development initiatives that public transport companies around the world whole undertake.
“As an independent Belgian bus and coach manufacturer, with customers all over the world, we have delivered no less than 1,200 electric vehicles. So far, Van Hool’s strength lies in the fact that we We have gained a lot of experience in various complex types of electric vehicles, including 100% battery electric vehicles, and the charging infrastructure that goes with it,” he explained.
“We are proud to continue this journey together with SkŒnetrafiken and Van Hool, introducing the next generation of fully electric 24 meter zero-emission tram buses – the first of their kind in the Nordics. Further developing the public modern, safe and sustainable solution traffic in Malmö,” said Jens RŒsten, Fleet Manager, Nobina Group.
The Exqui.City combines the flexibility of a bus with the efficiency of a tram, explains Van Hool. These trambuses have a distinct futuristic design and a high level of comfort with air conditioning, low noise levels and soft lighting, he adds. They offer optimal accessibility with a low boarding height, and easy entry and exit thanks to the four double doors.
This type of vehicle is built on a multi-power platform that is now 100% zero emissions: battery electric, cart and hydrogen, Van Hool points out. This platform makes the Exqui.City, in its 18 and 24 meter versions, a base for the use of these different ecological power systems, he specifies.
Available in 18 and 24 meter versions, the Exqui.City offers “…a realistic response to the demand for safe, environmentally friendly, efficient and cost-effective urban public transport”, says Vah Hool. There are already more than 300 trambuses in service in 17 cities, mainly in Europe, but also in Martinique (a French overseas “department” in the Lesser Antilles of the Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea).
ABOUT VAN HOOL
Van Hool is an independent Belgian manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, he explains. The company, founded in 1947, is based in Koningshooikt. The majority of units produced are destined for Europe and the United States, he confirms.
Van Hool has approximately 3,300 employees worldwide, the majority of whom work at production facilities in Koningshooikt, Belgium, and Skopje, North Macedonia.
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