Van Hool presents double-articulated ZEB by Franco-German consortium

Van Hool has brought its latest and, at 24 metres, likely longest new model to Busworld in Brussels—the all-electric double-articulated Exqui.City. It has already found a customer in Île-de-France Mobilités. Van Hool relies on a new modular platform by Kiepe Electric.

The manufacturer-independent platform concept for battery-electric buses was developed for standard sizes commonly used in European public transport (12, 18, and 24 metres). Called ‘eBus HPC’ or high-power charging platform, it comprises the complete traction system, onboard software for energy and traction control and an AI Smart Fleet Management (SFM) which Île-de-France Mobilités will use next year. The Kiepe Electric traction system includes motors, fast-charging batteries and traction distribution units.

As for the first project in Paris, Alexander Ketterl, Managing Director of Kiepe Electric, said it was a “milestone for the market and for us”. He added that the consortium with Van Hool, Alstom and Île-de-France Mobilités was able “to create one of the most modern electric buses”. As for Kiepe, they designed “the entire electric system of the bus and specified and integrated our own and third-party components for the project.”

Île-de-France Mobilités, responsible for organising public transport in the Paris metropolitan area, awarded the contract to the consortium to build a fleet of 24-metre-long, all-electric, double-articulated buses in October 2021.

Two years later, the resulting bus for Île-de-France Mobilités charges via Alstom’s conductive static floor charging system (SRS) coupled with the onboard energy system from Kiepe. By combining Kiepe systems and third-party components, the German company managed to “fulfil an important customer requirement”, adds Ketterl, “potential 24/7 operation with the shortest downtime when charging the batteries.”

The optimal interaction of the technologies in the system results in a significantly increased charging capacity of up to 800 kilowatts, writes Kiepe. This leads to short recharging time and, thus, higher vehicle availability. Since Kiepe relies on low battery capacity for the system, “the necessary range, including extensive reserves, can be achieved with short charging cycles of five minutes,” explains Ketterl.

At 24 meters long, the new electric bus has a capacity for up to 140 passengers.

Île-de-France Mobilités has ordered 30 Exqui.City units with deliveries set to start this year. The zero emission buses will serve on the new BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) line Tzen 4 in the South of Paris, where over 40,000 passengers move daily between Viry-Chatillon and Corbeil-Essonnes. Tzen 5 between Paris and Choisy-le-Roi will also rely on the new Van Hool buses, and 26 more buses may be ordered subsequently.



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