VDL has announced details of the new DAF/ZF driveline in its Futura 2 double- and single-deck coach range.
Both OEMs continue to be exclusive suppliers. ZF’s manual EcoShift option is dropped, but for the first time VDL will offer the EcoLife six-speed automatic in the FDD2 double decker, in conjunction with the DAF MX-11 engine rated at 450bhp. It will debut in Q3.
The FDD2 keeps its 13-litre MX-13 offering, now rated at 530bhp and 2,600Nm of torque, exclusively in conjunction with ZF’s new Traxon automated manual transmission. It replaces the AS-Tronic and is more robust, more efficient and quicker in operation.
Traxon becomes standard on tri-axle FHD2 single-deckers, but EcoLife is now available across two- and three-axle FHD2s with the MX-11 at its 370, 410 and 450bhp ratings.
DAF has employed downspeeding in the updated engines to benefit fuel economy. In the MX-11, full torque is now delivered from 900rpm, and in the MX-13 it comes in from 1,000rpm. As a result, engine speeds at 62mph are now 104rpm lower than before thanks to a revised axle ratio.
The exhaust aftertreatment unit is smaller, allowing an enhanced walk-in entrance to the FDD2’s luggage bay. On all engines, some components have been moved to ease maintenance and the radiator is now on the UK nearside across the range.
To accompany the revised driveline, VDL has carried out optimisation work on the Futura 2. Weight is reduced by 100kg and fuel consumption by 3% over coaches with the previous driveline. Additionally, VDL will introduce Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) as an option on Traxon-equipped coaches, which requires the driver to input both a speed for the cruise control and a minimum that he or she will accept on hills.
It uses topographical knowledge transferred by GPS to choose the optimum gear at the bottom of an incline. As the crest is approached, neutral is selected and the coach coasts the remainder of the distance to the summit without road speed dropping below the pre-set minimum. Although VDL recommends that PPC is specified only in coaches that are used in hilly territory, it says that in such circumstances it can add a further 2.5% fuel saving.
A full report on the VDL Futura range’s enhanced driveline will be published in routeone, 13 June.