At last VDL Bus & Coach had the opportunity to present its brand New Citea electric bus to the public. The place to be is InnoTrans in Berlin (Germany) were the newest VDL Citea was launched. “At last” because of the delay due to covid and also the war in the Ukraine that gave problems in the supply chain. “The new generation Citea has been developed completely from scratch and is ready for the future”, as VDL states.
With the new generation Citea, VDL Bus & Coach wants to expand its leading position in the European public transport market. The new e-bus contains a lot of innovations, from batteries stored in the floor to the design of the exterior for better aerodynamics and to minimize electricity consumption. VDL Bus & Coach started out with a blank sheet of paper, so to say from scratch. This led to the batteries being housed in the floor as standard for an optimal axle load distribution and optimal interior layout. The side walls of the new Citea are made from composite material and are constructed as a single piece.
To create this lightweight and sustainable solution, VDL Bus & Coach worked closely with sister company VDL Fibertech. VDL states the insulation value is greatly improved also because of the double glazing which is standard. I is heavier but the insulation value makes up for that and also gives a lot of comfort. The bus is divided into climate zones, with the hot or cold airflow distributed to where it is needed. The climate control system also ensures that the batteries are properly conditioned at all times. The 12.2 metre model is fitted with a 306 kWh battery pack as standard; optionally 490 kWh is possible. These extra batteries will then be placed on the roof. VDL states that year-round, operators can count on an average 20-25% less energy consumption and up to 35% more range.
Due to the more efficient layout, it has been possible to add an additional double seat on both the left and right, increasing capacity by a further 4 passengers up to 45 fixed seats, a wheelchair space and 2 folding seats in a 12.2 metre vehicle. Due to its low weight, even a 13.5-metre variant on two axles is available. This vehicle can carry as many as 53 seated passengers. The entire interior is also developed from scratch, visible in the easy-to-clean rounded surfaces. Large windows give a feeling of space and a pleasant atmosphere is created through the use of light colours and innovative lighting concept that can be customised and provide a luxurious and mood-enhancing experience. Cantilevered seats minimises obstacles and simplifies the cleaning process.
Also VDL redesigned the entire driver environment. The steering column has a wide adjustment range. The steering wheel is height adjustable and can be tilted through a wide range of angles. The angle of the steering wheel can additionally be adjusted for maximum visibility of the instruments and to keep the necessary switches within reach. It looks like a “one size fits all” solution for all drivers with a diverse range of postures. The climate can be set separately for the driver's environment. The optional Air Quality Sensor (AQS) sensor ensures optimum air quality by monitoring the quality of the drawn-in air. The driver also has a new very futuristic instrument panel with a HMI (Human Machine Interface) digital EPIC display. This screen is divided into several segments that allow the driver to personalise information. This system is built around the philosophy of 'eyes on the road, hands on the wheel'.
Safety systems such as FIP (Front Impact Protection), FUP (Front Underrun Protection) and RUP (Rear Underrun Protection), have been adopted and added. The new generation Citea is available in four length variants: 12.2 metres (Low Floor and Low Entry), 13.5 metres (Low Entry), 14.9 metres (Low Entry) and 18.1 metres (Low Floor Articulated).