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trolley:firmen - VISEON: Presentation of the first of twelve Trolleybuses for Riad, Saudi Arabia

J. Lehmann - 13.06.11

Germany is talking about e-mobility - Saudi Arabia is doing it", Peter Hanz from Stadtwerke Solingen GmbH (SWS) opened the press conference of VISEON for the presentation of the first Trolleybus for Riad, Saudi Arabia.
Peter Hanz used the occasion of the press conference for introducing SWS to the numerous guests. 70% of the annual 24 mio passengers of SWS using trolleybuses in the city of Solingen, electro-mobility is in place without subsidies from special sources. For trolleybuses no subsidies are available, but hybrid buses gain huge financial support from politicians, even though it saves only small amount of energy compared to the diesel bus. Although, the serial hybrid bus is identical with a trolleybus, except of the poles. Moreover, the VISEON-trolleybus shows the most important preconditions for economic feasible applications of e-mobility while operating in Solingen, where the system is proven for nearly 60 years:
1. full day operation without fuelling or loading
2. Zero-emission in the city
3. high transport capacity in relation to other modes
4. lifetime of buses at least 15 years

In order to support and develop further the trolleybus system, SWS provides its own network and additional facilities to others. He passes over to Andreas Lubitz from corporate communications of VISEON, who welcomes the large number of guests and introduces Thomas Krauss, the project manager of trolleybuses. Mr. Krauss presented the planned trolleybus-project in Riad, Saudi Arabia: The King Saud University Saudi Arabia constructs a comprehensive new campus with medicinal faculties and a children's hospital on an area of 10 km², where an appropriate system for transport was missing. Private cars should park outside the area, for students, guests, employees etc. an environmental friendly mass transportation system should be implemented. No space for a light rail system was foreseen, an ordinary bus system was objected.
In the year 2008 the responsible contacted VISEON in order to gain them as partner for the project. The planners thought of a BRT-system with specially designed vehicles. VISEON proposed the Spanish company SICE as co-contractor, since both had worked together in Barquisimeto, Venzuela. SICE and VISEON gained the contract to realise a transportation system with the needed driving route, power supply and overhead catenary system, air conditioned stations and the trolleybuses, of course.
The planned route length is about 11 km, within operational time between 6 am and 10 pm the service interval should be every 3 minutes. For this 10 vehicles are required, one additional bus is necessary as reserve.
The depot with the workshop is 1 km outside of the construction area. Hence, the trolleybuses will operate the distance moved by their supplementing diesel engine, which is a 175 kW power engine of Kirsch. Die contract for VISEON comprising 12 trolleybuses - one is exclusive for VIP and the royal family - and corresponding service and spare parts is worth 13,5 million Euro. First drafts of the special edition trolley bus show floor out of genuine wood, leather on roof and wall panelling and spacious leather seats, flat screens are arranged over the wheel housings. A toilet is planned, also, but not yet decided. It will cost the amount of a superclass car.

The opening of the trolleybus system is planned to be end of this year. The buses including the VIP/royal edition will be produced until September and the acceptance procedure will take place on the production site of VISEON.

The owner of VISEON, Ernoe Bartha, introduces the development and the used technology of the vehicles to the auditors. A new optic for the trolleybus should be developed, more similar to a light rail car, than an ordinary bus, just with tires and energy supply via overhead catenary and poles. No debates about alternatives were occurring, in contradiction to many German cities, in Riad the overhead catenary system poses no problem within the modern architecture of the surrounding buildings.
The trolleybus for Riad is 19,5 m long, the maximum weight for the axle in the middle and the rear section is 13 tons, low floor-portal-axle of ZF AV 132 are used here. The front MAN rigid axle can carry a weight of 7,5 tons. The corresponding gross vehicle weigh of 33,5 tons is feasible in Saudi Arabia while for instance in Germany 28 tons are the maximum for vehicles with three axle.

The labelling of the vehicle is LT20, at which "L" means "low floor" and "T" "trolley", the last two numerals denominate the approximately length of the bus. In future, 12 m single trolley, 18 and 18,75 m articulated trolleybuses as well an 21,15 m four axle driven articulated trolleybus are planned to be offered, also.
The construction and equipment is modular, by this more simple equipped buses can be produced, easily. Moreover, the cost for the new trolleybus system in Saudi Arabia should be kept low by different measures, such as windows in the same size like for travel buses and using same front and rear section including light bulbs than for travel buses.
The basic construction consists of a space frame with a light and at the same time stiff square bar steel which is primed with high-quality KTL-primer. The three doors have a width of 1200 mm and are swinging inside.
Special attention is laid on the air condition. Outside temperature in Riad is often more than 50 ° Celsius, hence a high-performance technology for cooling down has to be developed. For this reason two electrical driven air condition units of the supplier Sütrak (type AC 136 III) are foreseen with a cooling performance of 2 x 33 kW. The cooled air is following a flat channel under the roof and leaks out of rips against the windows into the passenger area on the whole length of the bus. In the area of the articulated joint lateral air channels are located in order to let the cooled air leak out in rips 2 meters about surface in the direction of the articulated joint.
In order to prevent heating up the vehicle at stations if the doors are open, they are equipped with a curtain of down drifting cool air, which prevents the warm outside air to flow into the car.
The drivers compartment is air conditioned separately by a front box air condition with cooling performance of 7 kW. The other design and equipment of drivers area is following the recommendations of the VDV-guidelines.
The new trolleybus has a capacity of 128 passengers in total, 44 seats are available. Behind the rear door a compartment dedicated to woman is located. With a barrier band this area can be separated from the front part of the bus. For the closing Ernoe Bartha shows a film about the different steps in developing the design of the new trolleybus.

The project manager for the electrical equipment, Jörg Wentscher explains, that for the electrical parts as much as possible standards are used. By this, investment and follow-up costs like maintenance and operations shall be low as possible. For the construction in particular the high outside temperature is a challenge, which has to be considered. Other important factors are still unknown, like for example the future operator of the trolleybus system, some parameters are kept flexible for this reason.
While operating electric, the speed of the trolleybuses is limited to 40 km/h. One axle is driven, the air-cooled and with filter against sand dust equipped AC asynchrony traction motor of Skoda with a permanent performance of 240 kW is located left in the rear in driving direction.
With a gearbox and a cardan shaft the power is transmitted to the driving axle. All electrical equipment together with the compressor is grouped in a specialised and separate air conditioned housing on the roof. Up till 80 km/h the trolleybus can accelerate by the diesel auxiliary unit, a first test under real life conditions was the ride from Pilsting to Solingen on the highway. In the later operations in Riad, the share of diesel-traction is contracted to be lower than 20%.

Die following test drive convinces the about 20 representatives of the media concerning the trend-setting design, the attractiveness of the passenger compartment and the high riding comfort.

Top: The new VISEON LT20 operating in the depot of SWS, until next weekend, Vossloh-Kiepe is carrying out tests and necessary assessments.
Middle: The maker of the new trolleybus, from left to right: Thomas Krauss, Ernoe Bartha, Martin Schmitz und Jörg Wentscher.
Down: Even on the back a notably design, which will be common for other products from VISEON in future. During testing and presentation on the back the slogan "Made in Bavaria" was drawn. Pictured by J. Lehmann, 08.06.2011

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