NEW VDL FUTURA DOUBLE-DECKER A MILESTONE
VDL Bus & Coach introduces their new double-decker coach, the VDL Futura FDD2 for intercity and holiday transport. As the successor to the successful VDL Synergy, the VDL Futura FDD2 is the next step in the evolution of double-decker coaches. With a capacity of up to 96 passengers, VDL Bus & Coach offers both the
discerning holidaymaker and the intercity business passenger a comfortable and suitable transport solution.
With its sophisticated, streamlined, modern design, the VDL Futura FDD2 is the next milestone in the high-end VDL Futura family and a perfect companion to the FHD2 and FMD2. The fuel-efficient powertrain in combination with the aerodynamic styling guarantee low fuel consumption and thus low CO2 emissions. The VDL Futura FDD2
is the coach that not only optimally contributes to ‘Profit of Ownership’ but will also
become the showpiece of many coach companies.
Following in the tracks of the FHD2 and FMD2, the new FDD2 is the third branch in the Futura family. The Futura design language is clearly recognizable in the FDD2, yet this double-decker also has its own distinctive design features. The height of four metres gave the designers the opportunity to create a beautifully aerodynamic front – one that appears to be a single, continuous, curved window. In fact, however, this windscreen consists of multiple sections, to keep replacement costs down if it is ever damaged.
The design is accentuated by the daytime running lights in the dynamically designed, arrowshaped headlight units and the contour lights above the windscreen. The interior is characterized by round corners, good workmanship, modern and light colours and lightweight materials. It radiates unity and harmony, making the traveller feel at ease during the longer commutes for which doubledeckers are mainly deployed.
The new VDL Futura FDD2 is a true member of the Futura family, with the instantly recognizable VDL identity. The Futura family history is tangible in the prominent and very recognizable logo and the design language, as seen in the front, headlight units and design elements in the sides and back.
The Futura FDD2 is available in two lengths: 13,085 mm (FDD2-130 for up to 84 passengers) and 14,145 mm (FDD2-141 for up to 96 passengers), both three-axle coaches. With wheelbases of 6,195 and 7,255 mm respectively, this results in tight turning radii of 21,450 mm and 24,300 mm, thanks in part to a maximum wheel deflection of 52°. With a front overhang of 2,280 mm for both models and a rear overhang of 3,110 mm, this new Futura FDD2 remains a highly manoeuvrable double-decker. The integral construction is similar to that of the FHD2, naturally with the necessary modifications for strength and stiffness that are required for a double-decker. The electronically controlled air suspension of the VDL Futura FDD2 is not purely for passenger comfort. The FDD2 combines excellent road holding with a high level of comfort, as its family members, the FHD2 and FMD2, have already amply proven. The VDL Futura FDD2 offers passengers the comfort and safety of a luxury limousine.
The back of the new FDD2 is the spitting image of that of the FHD2, only a little higher. The arched shape has been retained, as have the aerodynamics. The FDD2 also shares the dynamically styled rear lights with the FHD2. The modular construction system developed by VDL Bus & offers many synergistic benefits. For example, the basic front and rear axle modules for the FDD2 are identical to those of the FHD2. The modules are produced in the production halls at VDL Bus Modules in Valkenswaard. Then the modules are preassembled, after which they are joined together on a short production line. The separate manufacturing of the various components of the Futura coaches makes it possible to remove the raw material processing – welding, sawing, cutting – from the assembly area so assembly can be performed in an extremely clean and efficient manner. The modular construction techniques used by VDL Bus & Coach provide the highest possible level of optimization and efficiency.
The VDL Bus & Coach modular design approach makes it possible for the FDD2 to also take advantage of the latest techniques used in the FDH2 and FMD2, such as the exceptionally lightweight sandwich panel roof. VDL has further refined this technique, and in the FDD2 it is also used for the floor of the upper deck. As a result, the headroom on the lower deck has increased to a spacious 1,855 mm. The necessary strength of this floor element is achieved through use of an aluminium extrusion profile. Construction with a lightweight roof and upper-deck floor lowers the vehicle's centre of gravity, which results in excellent road-holding. One of the features of the lower-deck floor is its excellent insulation value, keeping road and engine noise to an absolute minimum.
Even at the maximum capacity of 96+1+1 people, the interior of the new Futura FDD2 still provides a remarkable amount of room to move around. One of the most noticeable aspects of the new interior is the lack of sharp corners. All the modules in the coach, including the kitchen, stairways, lavatory, have bevelled or rounded corners. Immediately upon boarding, one’s attention is drawn to the considerable room for movement that has been created at the front and centre entrance areas.
The VDL Futura range puts passenger comfort at the top of the list. The FDD2 chassis, with its electronically controlled air suspension, guarantees a comfortable journey. The acoustic quality of the interior, the colour scheme and the natural curves of the soft design provide passengers with the best possible living environment. This is further enhanced by the incident light from the glass roof hatches, which also serve as emergency exits. The climate in the passenger compartment is centrally regulated, and the driver enjoys personal climate control. Here, too, VDL Bus & Coach relies on renowned partners.
During the design of the new VDL Futura priority was given to creating the largest possible luggage space. The luggage compartment, with a ceiling entirely free of obstacles, is a whopping 9.3 m3 (without sleeping area). The driver has plenty of room to move around inside. His task is made easier by carefully thought-out LED lighting. Three hatches with a low lift-over height and one door – with central locking – provide access to the compartment. The hatches are fitted with gas springs.
The driver has a good upward view from his seat. The VDL engineers sloped the upper-deck floor upwards at the windscreen, significantly increasing the upward viewing angle. This is of particular benefit to taller drivers, especially for high-hanging traffic lights and road signs. An additional advantage is the fact that the exterior mirrors could be positioned higher.
In accordance with European legislation that will come into force on 1 November 2015, the VDL Futura FDD2 is equipped with the latest active braking system ‘AEBS’ (Advanced Emergency Braking System) that assists the driver in identifying and quickly braking in emergency situations. AEBS recognizes slow moving objects and those that have come to a stop. It uses a radar system
integrated in the front, recognizes slow moving objects and those that have come to a stop in the coach's driving lane and responds accordingly. The ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) system is available as an option. This combines the safety system with a comfort function.
The new European regulations will also make the Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) mandatory. When the vehicle strays from the intended lane the driver is warned of the need for corrective steering through vibration of the seat. Hill Hold, the system that prevents the vehicle from rolling back when pulling away on a slope is standard, as is ‘ESP’ (Electronic Stability Program). ESP keeps the coach steering in the intended direction when it is necessary to brake firmly in a curve or on a slippery road surface and helps the driver maintain control during avoidance manoeuvres.
The DAF MX-13 is a trusted steed in the VDL Futura. This new VDL Futura FDD2 is also fitted with a product from the Dutch technology city of Eindhoven: the MX-13 375. This Euro 6 engine produces 375 kW (510 hp) and 2500 Nm of torque within a broad range from 1,000 to 1,425 rpm.