VDL confirms driveline on next generation Futuras

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The new generation Futuras will carry the ZF Traxon gearbox as standard, coupled to DAF MX-11 or MX13 engines. There is the option to upgrade to a ZF EcoLife automatic gearbox

Vehicles will feature the new ZF Traxon automated manual transmission as standard, with the first UK versions expected to be delivered from March next year

VDL Bus & Coach has announced the driveline which will be available on its next generation VDL Futura range, with the manufacturer once again opting for components from DAF and ZF.

The Futura single-decker variants are equipped with the DAF MX-11 engine, available with various power ratings. The engine will be paired with the ZF Traxon automated manual gearbox as standard, which is a replacement for the ZF AS-Tronic. A fully automatic ZF EcoLife transmission is available as an option.

The Futura double-decker is built standard with the MX-13 engine in combination with the ZF Traxon gearbox. A new option for this variant is the combination of a DAF MX-11 engine and the fully automatic ZF EcoLife gearbox.

VDL claims the new generation driveline has a positive impact on repair and maintenance costs. It said the maintenance intervals of the MX-11 and MX-13 have been increased to 100,000km (62,000 miles), with the possibility of an oil change interval of up to 200,000km (124,000 miles). VDL also said the layout of the engine compartment has been arranged for greater efficiency and accessibility. This makes performing service work even easier and faster.

Refinements to DAF’s engine mean it has managed to obtain the peak power at 900rpm, VDL claims. Depending on the power variant, the MX engines have 50Nm to 300Nm of extra torque. The combination of the 12 gears of the ZF Traxon and the new rear axle reduction of 1:2.71 results in an engine speed reduction of up to 100rpm at a cruising speed of 62mph. VDL said these measures have contributed to a fuel efficiency improvement of 3%.

VDL also said the ZF Traxon contributes to lower fuel consumption and features new functionalities and a wide deployment range. It has been developed for the higher torque figures delivered by modern engines, such as the DAF MX-11 and MX-13, and offers reduced shifting times.

One advance highlighted by VDL is that the loss of tractive power during the shifting moment is minimized, which ‘boosts comfort and ensures optimum acceleration.’ The Traxon also features ‘Hill start,’ which assists the driver when driving off on an upward slope.

The new layout of the engine compartment has provided weight savings of 100 kg. Half of this is achieved by a lighter exhaust after-treatment system, which occupies 40% less volume. For the double-decker VDL Futura FDD2, this system has improved accessibility to the luggage compartment. The ZF Traxon is also 20kg lighter than its predecessor.

Carl Moseley, Director of Moseley PCV and Moseley in the South, told CBW: “The next batch of VDLs we order will be the new generation, so the vehicles are coming to the UK soon.

“We expect the first vehicles to be delivered during the next new coach delivery season from spring 2019. However, if someone wanted one before March, we may be able to deliver a vehicle towards the end of this year.

“We will also be getting a demonstrator vehicle for the 2019 season.”