Following the news of the launch by Lightning eMotors of its electric drive conversion of a double-deck coach in the USA, independent Belgian bus, coach and industrial vehicle manufacturer Van Hool has become the first manufacturer in the world to develop a production battery electric double-deck coach, the TDX25E. The vehicle provides space for 69 passengers (18 on the lower deck and 51 on the upper deck) and has a claimed range of up to 500km, depending on the climatological conditions and the route’s topography. The TDX25E is destined for the US market, where Van Hool sees it as suitable for use for employee, commuter and regular passenger transport.
It is a year since the Belgian manufacturer shipped its first battery electric coach, the CX45E, to the US. With 22 sold, the company believes there is a demand for further products which draw on its experience in electrical drive systems. Over the past few decades Van Hool has built more than 1,200 vehicles with an electric drive system, including hydrogen, trolley, battery and hybrid buses. Both the CX45E and the new TDX25E use electrical components including a Siemens power train and Proterra batteries.
Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool, explained: “American customers reacted very enthusiastically to the driving experiences with our first battery electric coach, the CX45E. This prompted us to quickly set to work on developing a battery electric double-deck, which has a higher passenger capacity. Our experience with electrical drive systems in the past, and recently with the CX45E, really helped us with the rapid development and comprehensive testing of the newest Van Hool double-deck, the TDX25E. We’ve been producing double-deck coaches since 1982. Twenty-five years later – in 2007 – we shipped the first double-decks to the US. And now, 15 years later, we are launching the first 100% battery electric double-deck coach on the US market. This is a second home market for Van Hool, nowhere else in the world is the demand for our double-deck coaches higher than in the USA. Globally, Van Hool has sold more than 3,500 units in 19 different countries. The partnership between Van Hool and its distributor on the North American market, ABC Bus Companies began 34 years ago. After all these years of hard work, together we have managed to put Van Hool on the map in North America. Today there are more than 11,000 Van Hool coaches and buses on North American roads serving many customers, including a number of large Silicon Valley companies who organise shuttles for their employees. Due to demand from several customers for fully electrically driven vehicles, we at Van Hool looked for a solution,” he concluded.
Van Hool was founded in 1947. Based in Koningshooikt, 2022 will mark the company’s 75th year.