In presenting a new generation of Citea coaches this year, VDL Bus & Coach focussed on the driver more than ever. Much has changed elsewhere in the vehicle too. For example, the bus concept is based entirely on an electric driveline and the vehicle can travel up to 600 kilometres without having to stop to charge along the way. The attractive design should convince even more people to choose public transport. A lot of time and energy has gone into the driver’s workplace.
“The Corona crisis has shown that the bus driver plays an important social role,” stated Alex de Jong, Business Manager Public Transport at VDL Bus & Coach. “They ensure that children are transported to school and that care staff arrive at work on time. A satisfied driver has always been one of our most important ambassadors. In preparation for the introduction of the new generation of Citeas, our researchers interviewed dozens of drivers in several European countries to identify their needs: what is important to them, what is missing, what needs to be changed and what is going well? VDL Bus & Coach has also cooperated with public transport industry associations and universities.”
Based on the results, the design of an optimal driver’s cabin in the new generation of Citeas has been given high priority. After all, it’s the driver’s workplace all day long. So no concessions have been made in terms of ergonomics, ease of operation, comfort and safety. The improved driver’s cabin in the new generation of Citeas has been tested several times by knowledge centres and industry organisations. The concept has also been validated by the Dutch industry institute Gezond Transport and Germany’s Verband Deutscher Verkehrunternehmen (VDV).
In the new generation of Citeas, not only has the driver’s seating position been greatly improved, but so has the steering column, with a larger adjustment range and lower steering forces for optimal comfort based on the modern technology used in the automotive industry. For the driver, there are flexible and extensive adjustment possibilities and sufficient storage space. Research results show that a lot of time and energy has been spent improving vehicle-driver interaction and safety systems. Future developments in payment systems and autonomous driving were also anticipated.
What do we know about the new Citeas so far?
The new generation of Citeas can be seen for the first time at Busworld, from 9 to 14 October in Brussels. Until the end of April, VDL Bus & Coach will be revealing the most important innovations, interesting facts and other details on its website and via its social media channels. The Finnish city of Lahti, this year’s European Green Capital, was the first to order this new city bus from VDL Bus & Coach. What else do we know?
- The new generation of Citeas has an all-electric powertrain and can travel up to 600 km without an intermediate recharging session.
- Electric transport is increasingly in demand on regional lines. Distances of up to 70 km without intermediate recharging are no longer an exception. VDL Bus & Coach is responding to this trend with its new bus range.
- The battery packs are integrated into the floor, providing more passenger space. In the 13.5-metre variant, up to 110 passengers can be carried, and in each bus variant it is possible to carry at least 45 seated passengers. By placing the batteries in the floor, the bus’s centre of gravity is lower, which results in more stable road handling.
- The new Citeas can be ordered in four length variants: 12.2 metres, 13.5 metres, 14.9 metres and 18.1 metres. The 13.5-metre version has two axles, which can compete with a three-axle unit in terms of seating capacity.
- For this new generation of electric city buses, VDL Bus & Coach has developed a composite sidewall that consists of a single piece. This causes less vibration and reduces noise, which contributes to passenger comfort.
- The side wall improves the insulation of the bus, reducing the need for heating and cooling. Moreover, this composite side wall construction is 15% lighter than a conventional side wall.
- For VDL Bus & Coach, having an attractive design language is an important asset in getting more people to choose public transport.
- Light makes a big impact on the travel experience and is therefore an essential part of the design philosophy of VDL Bus & Coach. By using colours and intensities, the lighting can be easily adjusted to the situation and atmosphere.