Press Release 

Thermo King Heat Pump Air-Conditioning Units Equip VDL Bus & Coach Electric Buses in Germany and the Netherlands

28th September 2016

VDL Bus & Coach, one of the largest bus producers in Europe, chose Athenia™ MkII heat pump air-conditioning systems from Thermo King, a manufacturer of transport temperature control solutions for a variety of mobile applications and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, for its electric bus fleet now operating in Germany and Netherlands.

As one of the leading international developers and manufacturers of buses and coaches, VDL was looking for the most efficient way of providing heating and cooling in their electric bus fleet to allow for optimum passenger comfort in combination with the lowest possible energy consumption.

Thermo King Athenia™ MkII Electric Heat Pump range answered this request. The units offer the most efficient way of heating and cooling performances in electric buses thanks to its reversible refrigeration circuit. It offers maximum passenger comfort not only during the summer months when cooling is required but also during the winter months when heating is needed.

“VDL has a long-time relationship with Thermo King, which has been our partner for many years. We’ve worked together on many projects and every day passengers in thousands of our buses can feel the comfort thanks to the Thermo King expertise in air-conditioning systems,” said Alex de Jong, business manager public transport at VDL Bus & Coach.

“As the need for more sustainable passenger transport technology increases, heat pumps are one of the most promising technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and still guarantee full climate comfort for passengers,” said Peter Robertson, portfolio leader for Marine, Air and Bus at Thermo King. “This project with VDL confirms that our innovative approach and expertise allows us to provide customers with customized solutions that meet their business needs, keeping up with industry trends and addressing regulatory requirements.”

About the Athenia MkII Electric Heat Pump Series
The range of Thermo King Athenia MkII Electric Heat Pump units has become one of the preferred product choices for various electric bus platforms worldwide since its introduction in 2014.

In heating mode, the Athenia MkII Electric Heat Pump is able to transfer heat from outside air into the inside passenger area with a coefficient of performance level (COP) of up to 4. This means that for each 1 kW of electricity consumed from batteries, the heat pump efficiently generates up to 4 kW of heating.

The unit can be operated in ambient temperatures down to -15 degrees Celsius with battery cooler and down to -7 degrees Celsius without the battery cooler. When in cooling mode the unit operates just as the Athenia MkII Electric air-conditioning unit.

The heat pump unit’s battery cooling circuit works independently from the passenger compartment in cooling and heating mode. It helps to effectively recycle the heating energy generated by batteries during bus operation and reduces energy consumption of the unit when the heating mode is required for passengers.

The Thermo King Athenia MkII Electric Heat Pump units are compatible with bus roofs with a radius ranging from 7,5 m to flat. An optional built-in heat exchanger for battery cooling helps to maintain ideal battery operating temperature for electric buses and thus extends battery life and guarantees maximum power capacity. Additionally, in cold conditions, the heat coming from the batteries can be recycled to increase the interior temperature.

Coupled with this innovation for highest passenger comfort, the Thermo King CANAIRE® control system can manage up to three temperature zones with precise temperature control for single, articulated and double-articulated buses. The unit can be equipped with a built-in CO2 sensor that monitors air quality and if required, efficiently provides fresh air intake into the bus further contributing to lower energy consumption.

The CANAIRE control system features an ergonomically designed LCD driver panel, which allows for the control of A/C roof unit in parallel with a front box unit placed in the driver ́s area. Via service and diagnostic software tools the control system features can be changed in alignment with operating conditions and customer needs.