The coaches will be used on regional and commuter bus services around Ireland and are therefore built to a bespoke public transport specification.
Marcel Jacobs, Commercial Director of VDL Bus & Coach, describes the order from the NTA as an important next step. “VDL Bus & Coach has occupied a prominent position with the Futura for public transport applications in Ireland for more than a decade. With this large order for double-deck coaches, we can now further expand this position. The cooperation with the NTA and its contracted operators has been excellent for many years and we are very grateful that we can now continue this.”
Customisation of public transport
The Futuras FDD2-141 for the NTA are built to a bespoke public transport specification. For their intended use, it is important to ensure that dwell times at bus stops are minimised, hence the vehicles are outfitted with two passenger doorways and two stairs. In addition, their greater overall height of 4.17 metres enables the ceiling heights on both the lower and upper decks to be a more generous 1.82 metres.
These features, in combination with the completely flat floor of the lower deck, significantly increase the freedom of movement, which benefits the process of boarding and alighting. Furthermore, the flat floor and the wide single-leaf centre passenger doorway (which is fitted with a wheelchair ramp) ensure that passengers with reduced mobility can easily enter and exit the Futura FDD2-141. “Our customers use specific and complex systems for public transport deployment,” explains Pieter Gerdingh, Business Manager Coach. “For the NTA, too, we have ensured that all the necessary systems, such as a CCTV camera system, payment system and route indicators, have been fitted in the vehicles as turnkey solutions. This contributes to a smooth implementation of the VDL Futura within their operation.”
Fuel-efficient PACCAR (DAF) MX-11 engine
The Futura range is known for its low operating costs. This is partly due to its low vehicle weight and efficient powertrain. The FDD2-141 vehicles for the NTA are equipped with a powerful and economical PACCAR (DAF) MX11 engine with a power output of 330 kW/450 hp and a torque of 2,300 Nm.
The engine is combined with a 12-speed automated ZF TraXon gearbox. The driveline is equipped with Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC), which takes into account altitude differences and adapts the shifting strategy accordingly, with the aim of saving fuel.