A rubber-wheeled tram that takes electricity from the asphalt

In the southern part of Paris, buses unusual for the Hungarian eye may soon be available. Including the French capital and its surroundings Ile-de-France the region’s transport manager has decided to buy double-decker buses with a large capacity. The choice was made by Van Hool, which already has significant experience in the production of such buses. Their first such bus was unveiled more than 10 years ago.

The 24-meter-long Exqui.City, developed by the Belgian manufacturer, represents a kind of transition between the bus and the tram. The design of these vehicles can be traced back to the Bus Rapid System (BRT), ie closed-track, express buses. This is because these buses have to have a large capacity, which brings with them a double articulated design, as this way you can get much more passenger capacity than a traditional articulated bus. (It is also an important aspect for BRT buses to be able to change passengers quickly in many parts of the world so they have doors on both sides, as do metros).

In such a Van Hool Exqui.City, up to 61 seats can be installed, depending on the customer’s needs, and the number of stands was not even known at the time. If we look at the total capacity, it can be said that while such a bus can carry a total of 140 people, an urban 18-meter-long electric articulated can only carry 100. In terms of shape, the appearance of the bus is closer to that of a tram, which is why the driver’s station is often placed more in the middle than in trams.

Although parameters related to the drive chain of buses have not been published, what is certain is that these are fully battery-powered e-buses. Van Hool has been offering this option for seven years. The electric Exqui.City is powered by an electric motor with a capacity of 160-320 kW, which is powered by a 215 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Interestingly, buses will now be charged in an even less common way, with induction chargers built into the asphalt, developed by Alstom in France and already being used with great success on a tram line in Nice. (Electric Exqui.City drives will be supplied by Kiepe).

In and around Paris, at least 56 such “wheeled trams” may be available on the new T Zen 4 and T Zen 5 lines in the near future. The former will carry passengers between Viry-Chatillon and Corbeil-Essonnes, and the latter will connect the 13th district of Paris and Choisy-le-Roi via Ivry-sur-Seine. Van Hool has so far sold more than 300 Exqui.City buses in Europe, most recently a Swedish city of Malmö has bought such double articulated buses.

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