At this year’s Busworld show, VDL Bus & Coach will exhibit a range of vehicles including three versions of its Futura coach. A VDL Futura FDD2-141/2600 features a unique 48+2+1+1 seating arrangement. This luxury double-deck coach has 2+1 seating and features USB and 220V connections as well as a complete kitchen. The FDD2 is available in two lengths (FDD2-130 and FDD2-141), with a maximum seating arrangement of 96+1+1 for the FDD2-141. In addition to the standard 530hp/2,600Nm MX-13 engine with Traxon automated manual gearbox, a 450hp/2,300Nm MX-11 engine with Ecolife fully automatic gearbox is available.
Meanwhile, the VDL Futura FHD2-129/2100 features VDL Class 500 seats with adjustable headrests for optimum seating comfort. A 53+1+1 arrangement aims to combine high seating capacity with comfortable seat spacing. With its 11.5 m3 of luggage space and a turning radius of 22,096 mm, the 13m coach exceeds the manoeuvrability of many 12m coaches, according to VDL.
The third Futura model will be the FHD2-139/2300 which has a lift mounted above the rear axle of this 13.9m-long, three-axle coach with a 57+1+1 seating arrangement. A quick-release system enables operators to remove the VDL Class 300 seats from the vehicle to create space for 15 wheelchair passengers.
The VDL Futuras are now equipped as standard with Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC). Through the use of GPS data, PPC continuously predicts the topography of the road so the right gear is selected at all times. VDL says this ensures the highest level of driving comfort while achieving maximum fuel economy. The Ecoroll functionality shifts the gearbox to neutral and runs the engine at idle during slight descents, making use of the moving mass and gravity to keep the vehicle at speed. When the road levels out again, the gearbox shifts back to the correct gear. Depending on the topographical conditions, PPC provides a significant reduction in fuel consumption, and significantly contributes to profitability, according to VDL.
VDL is also highlighting its electric vehicle credentials at Busworld. The company has 450 electric buses in operation in European cities and regions which drive 75,000km a day. A further 420 electric buses are scheduled for delivery before the end of 2019. In the Netherlands, more than 300 electric VDL buses are currently in service which the manufacturer claims reduces CO2 emissions by more than 20,000 tonnes per year.
The Citea SLE-129 Electric, a full-size low entry bus, will be shown for the first time during Busworld in Brussels. It is based on the SLF powertrain and equipped with a 288kWh high capacity battery pack. VDL says that its battery capacity means it is suitable for regional use, with longer intervals between charging. Rapid charging is enabled via either a roof-mounted or infrastructure-mounted pantograph. The vehicle at Busworld will demonstrate the maximum number of forward-facing seats and includes a third door which means that it meets the specific requirements for the Scandinavian market, among others.
Also at the show will be a demo SLFA-180 Electric equipped with a 288kWh high capacity battery pack and pantograph. The front section of the bus has been optimised for standing passengers and the articulated section has been fitted with as many easily accessible seats as possible.