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|Key people||Bernard Van Hool (founder)|
|Subsidiaries||Van Hool USA|
The company was founded in 1947 by Bernard Van Hool in Koningshooikt, nearby Lier, Belgium. In the early years, the company introduced serial production and exported their products all over Europe. The latest market is in the United States with AC Transit (Alameda County, California) in 2002.
On February 15, 1957 Van Hool signed a commercial agreement with Fiat. Van Hool would incorporate Fiat engines and other mechanical components (gearboxes, axles, steering) in its vehicles. It developed from a coachbuilder to a Belgian manufacturer of integral buses and coaches, known as Van Hool-Fiat. Alongside these activities the company continued as a renowned coachbuilder, enabling further expansion.
The Van Hool-Fiat co-operation immediately was a great success: already in August 1958 the 100th Van Hool-Fiat was delivered, and by July 1961 the figure had exceeded 500. The cooperation agreement with Fiat was terminated in 1981.
Most of the buses and coaches are built totally by Van Hool, with engines and axles sourced from Caterpillar, Cummins and MAN and gearboxes from ZF or Voith, and some of their production consists of building bus and coach bodies on bus chassis from manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Volvo Buses and Scania.
Worldwide Van Hool employs 4,500 people and manufactures over 1,700 buses and coaches (bodyworks and complete vehicles combined) and 5,000 trailers each year. It sells an average of 600 coaches annually in the US.[citation (source) needed]
In the US, Van Hool has four separate product lines for sale: the T21-series deluxe touring coaches, the C20-series touring coaches, the TD925 double-decker bus, and the A-series transit coaches. Its exclusive dealer in the US is ABC Companies.
Product range (United States only)Edit
Due to American Federal Safety requirements and other unique factors, only highway touring coaches were introduced in the US initially. Transit coaches by Van Hool were not introduced until 2002.
T8xx series touring coachEdit
The T815 was first introduced to the US market in 1987. Later subsequent models are collectively known as the T8 series. The earliest use Cummins L10 diesels. Later versions use Cummins M11 diesels.
It was available as 30, 40 and 45 foot length versions.
T9xx series touring coachEdit
T9 series are almost identical to the T8 series visually, and are largely identical mechanically as well, except for incremental updates. T9 series upgraded the suspension airbags to larger heavy-duty versions, as well as upgraded front axle to disc brakes instead of drum brakes. However, many of the earliest T9's indeed lack these upgrades. What's even more interesting, Van Hool's VIN consider T8 and T9 to be the same family.
It was available as 40-foot (T940) or extended 45-foot (T945) versions.
T21xx series luxury touring coachEdit
Introduced in 1996, the T21 series features an updated stream-line design and more engine choices. Whereas T8 and T9 series are almost exclusively powered by Cummins diesel engines, T21 are available with Cummins M11 plus engine, Detroit Diesel series 60 engine, or the latest Caterpillar C13 ACERT "clean diesel" engine. Most recent versions simplified the windshield into 2 panes only, replaced headlight assemblies with individual projector lamps, and consolidated the driver console.
Available as 40-foot (T2140) or extended 45-foot (T2145) versions.
C20xx series touring coachEdit
Introduced as a lower-cost coach intended for long-line duty, the C20 series, with similar European looks to the T21 series, was introduced in 2000 to the US market. C20 is available with Cummins M11 plus engine, Detroit Diesel series 60 engine, or the latest Caterpillar C13 ACERT "clean diesel" engine. Greyhound operates a fleet of C2045s along with its MCI buses in Michigan.
Available as extended 45-foot (C2045) version only. Current model is C2045E.
A3xx transit bus seriesEdit
The popularity of A3 series in Europe led Van Hool and ABC to partner with AC Transit (Alameda and Contra Costa counties, California) to demo the A3 series as a future transit alternative in 2002. The A330 and AG300 low floor transit coaches formally entered service in AC transit fleet in June 2003. AC Transit now has over 330 Van Hool buses either in its fleet or on order as of August 2009.
Van Hool is building 16 Hydrogen Fuel cell buses for the USA at present (August 2009). These buses are powered by fuel cells from UTC Power and lithium batteries from EnerDell. Twelve of the buses are being purchased by AC Transit and four by CT Transit of Hartford Connecticut. This project is unique[citation (source) needed] because the buses have been designed as fuel cell buses from the ground up by the bus manufacturer and are being built and integrated by the bus manufacturer.
The AG300 is an articulated 60-foot bus, while the A330 is a 40-foot bus.
Recently, AC Transit has taken delivery of a fleet of new model A300L forty-foot buses. These buses are unique in the US market as they have their engines mounted in the wheelbase which makes their ride quality extremely stable and smooth. The new layout capitalizes on basic architectural design of the A300L's earlier released little brother the 30-foot A300K (K stands for kort, "short" in Dutch and L for lang, "long"). A recent survey of AC Transit riders overwhelmingly approves of the design and quality of the new buses.
Salt Lake City (Utah Transit Agency) has purchased ten A300L 40-foot buses for its MAX Bus Rapid Transit system. These buses differ from AC Transit's A300Ls as they have three doors and are equipped for cold weather and high altitude operations. They have also recently placed an order for four more because of overwhelmingly positive support of the first 10 buses and the "MAX" BRT service they operate.
York Region Transit (north of Toronto, Ontario) operates Viva and uses the A330 and AG300 buses. The Reseau de transport de Longueuil (south of ontreal], Quebec) also uses the AG300 buses, and was the first to use Van Hool transit buses in North America (AG700) in 1989.
Washington, D.C.'s Circulator uses the A330 buses. These 29 buses were purchased from AC Transit in 2005. In addition to the A330 models, the Circulator now uses the new A300K buses, which first went into service in April 2009. The Circulater recently took delivery of 14 A300K, 31-foot buses to build out its route structure. The A300K was chosen because of its unique ability to do the work of forty-foot buses for nearly all operations in the smaller envelope and with the smaller engine of a midi bus.
FirstTransit took delivery of 12 A300Ls and 4 AG300s in early 2009, for use on the University of Minnesota Campus Connector.
TD925 Astromega double-deck touring motorcoachEdit
The TD925 Astromega is a closed-top US-spec double decker motorcoach that is a variant of the TD925 Astromega coach available in Europe.
- A308 midibus, full low floor, with side-mounted engine. Also available as diesel-electric hybrid
- A309 midibus, low entry (low floor up to the second door)
- A320 standard bus (out of production)
- A300 standard bus, full low floor, with side-mounted engine. Also available as diesel-electric hybrid
- A300 CNG standard bus
- A360 standard bus, low entry. Also available as diesel-electric hybrid
- A330 standard bus, full low floor, engine placed horizontally in the back. Diesel-electric hybrid version under development
- A330 CNG standard bus
- A507 minibus (out of production)
- AG300 articulated bus, also available as diesel-electric hybrid
- AG500 articulated bus
- AGG300 bi-articulated bus
- A330T trolleybus
- AG300T articulated trolleybus
- AG300 CNG articulated bus
- T911 Alicron
- T915 Alicron
- T916 Alicron
- T915 Acron
- T916 Acron
- T917 Acron
- T916 Astron
- T917 Astron
- T916 Astronef
- T917 Astronef
- T917 Altano
- T918 Altano
- T919 Altano
- TD925 Astromega
- TD927 Astromega
- 913 CL
- 915 CL
- 915 TL
- 916 TL
- T2140 / 45 US coaches
- C2045 US coaches
- TD925 US coaches
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