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Linz [AT] - Newest trolleybus generation unveiled

J. Lehmann - 04.09.17

"These new buses are not only large, but also beautifully designed!" The local operations manager Johann Frisch shared this statement with the assembled media Oberösterreichische Nachrichten during the official launch ceremony of the first new Exqui.City 24T on 4 September 2017. These 24 m long, double-articulated trolleys are being supplied by the Belgian bus builder VanHool. After successfully completing final trials at the VanHool factory in Liers on 23 and 24 August 2017, the first vehicle was shipped to Linz on 30 August, arriving in Austria two days later.

The second prototype will first undergo dynamic tests with Kiepe Electric at the trolleybus depot in Solingen, Germany, before being exhibited at the "busworld" trade fair in Kortrijk, Belgium from 20 to 25 October. Initially the bus has been badged up with promotional vinyls celebrating VanHool's 70th anniversary, but at the trade fair the livery will change to the Linz design. The second prototype is then due for delivery in Linz by late October.

With a regular length of 23.82 m (24.61 m with disengaged trolley poles), the double-articulated buses have 53 seats and a total capacity for 180 passengers. There is open vestibule space for three strollers or two wheelchairs. To facilitate easy boarding for such equipment, the two front doors have been fitted with large double-blade doors and manual loading ramps. The total portal width of these doors is 1.35 m, allowing for 1.20 m of open space to pass through when open. Entry height is 34 cm above surface, with roughly 24 square m of standing room at this height throughout the vehicle. The empty weight of the Exqui.City 24T is 24 t, with the operating permit allowing 36.5 t when fully loaded. The driver's cabin has been fully enclosed, just like on the Linz trams. In case of interest, you made read the full technical spec sheet here:

The first and last axle of the bus just have one tire, while the powered axles have double tires. This gives the vehicle a total of 12 type 275/70R22,5 tires. The two powered axles are driven by two low-maintenance asynchronous motors, which have been supplied by Kiepe Electric from Düsseldorf. The trolleys are fitted with lithium-ion battery packs with a performance of 20 kW, to enable off-wire running over short distances up to 5 km.

The costs per vehicle are about 1 million EUR, equating to a per-passenger price of 5500 EUR. Compared to the most recently acquired Linz trams with a capacity of 220, the double-articulated trolleys are about 33% less expensive. Erich Haider, the general manager of Linz AG, highlighted these statistics in an recent television interview with the Austrian state broadcaster ORF.

Following initial trial runs in September, the documentation for the certification and authorization procedure will be submitted to the relevant authorities. Then, the staff training and driver instruction process is expected to commence. This will include a total of 160 employees; both drivers as well as maintenance staff from the depot. The start of revenue services is foreseen for late November 2017 on lines 45 and 46, with the required infrastructure adaptations having already been completed. The delivery of the remaining 18 Exqui.City 24T is then planned to take place between summer 2018 and 2019. The series will be numbered as 221-240 and eventually replace on all four trolleybus lines the 18 remaining Volvo/Kiepe dating from 2000/01.

In recognition of its acquisition of these high-quality electric buses, Linz AG was awarded the annual mobility price of Verkehrsclub Österreich (VCÖ) on 29 August 2017.

Top: Presentation of the first VanHool Exqui.City 24T on 4 September 2017 at the trolleybus depot of Linz AG. Photo courtesy Linz AG, photographer: Adolf Michael Hartl
bottom: The other VanHool Exqui.City in Solingen (photo:Lehmann)

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