VDL has been manufacturing the CITEA city bus for many years. One of its unique features has always been how light, yet robust it is. This leads to it being always one of the most economical city buses available in the market. Alex de Jong, Business Manager for Public Transport with the VDL Group is pleased that objectives set out in terms of sales and development have been met with the CITEA range. “We are always working on weight reductions, our latest diesel bus is 12.7 m and we have achieved further weight reductions.”
VDL CEO, Henk Coppins added that while the firm is proud of its achievements, they cannot afford to be complacent; “Our ambition is to be the best supplier for transporters to form a partnership with.” VDL has such confidence in the success of the CITEA that it has become the platform for its ‘Electric Bus’.
CITEA Electric: VDL is more than a public service vehicle producer, it supplies a complete system in terms of electric (EV) powered buses. As standard, it provides electric charging infrastructure, repairs, maintenance and financial services if necessary. Although the CITEA is the basis for the range of new electric vehicles, they are referred to as the ‘e-worker’ with three models available:
- Citea LLE Electric 55-65 passengers 120-180 km range
- Citea SLF Electric 80-100 passengers 40-160 km range
- Citea SLFA Electric 140-150 passengers 40-160 km range
In 2015 VDL delivered 23 electric buses, 92 in 2016 and it will deliver 200 by the end of 2017. Most recently 41 x 18m, three axle (BRT) were delivered to the city of Eindhoven, these are operated by Hermes (Transdev). More will follow as the city plans to have only zero emission transport by 2022. Arriva in the Netherlands has taken 45 electric vehicles to operate throughout the country. Interestingly, it is its policy to have only ‘Zero Emission’ equipment by 2026 and although VDL sees this as a big challenge both in financial and infrastructural terms, the company is clearly committed to it.
Comment: Continental operators see the replacement of the current bus fleet with zero emission vehicles as a natural progression. For the foreseeable future electric power is cumbersome in terms of keeping buses charged up. There are certainly cost implications, but all are agreed that cost reduction and efficiencies are coming. VDL is well positioned to form meaningful partnerships that will in the future be profitable for everybody, not least of all the environment.
About VDL: Established in a small compound near the centre of Eindhoven in Southern Holland, VDL started out as a manufacturer of engineering products. It was not until 1993 that the company entered the Bus & Coach market when it took over DAF Bus International. As the bus operation developed it then acquired the Jonckherre and Berkoff brands. In 2010, these various brands were brought together under the one name –VDL.
60 years on with an annual turnover of €2.5 billion, the group employs over 13,000 people, 2000 of these in the bus division. Still run, owned, and controlled by the Van der Leegte family, the Group is made up of 90 companies based in 19 countries. Sean Murtagh