The vehicle has been developed on the basis of Van Hool’s EX11L model specifically to provide the deceased with a serene and intimate mode of transport on their final journey, accompanied by mourners. The coach features a Mobility Networks GNX Lift with an extra long platform (1740 mm long x 825 mm wide) and upgraded safe working load of 450 kg.
The use of coaches to replace a traditional funeral hearse is becoming more common. In close collaboration with its Dutch customer Koninklijke Beuk, Van Hool has developed this ingenious and innovative tailor-made product that now provides the option to also carry the deceased on board on a bier. The new product is a direct response to the growing demand from the market. “Our coaches were already being used at funerals”, explains Monique Beuk, Director of Koninklijke Beuk. “Due to the increasing demand to also transport the deceased on board, we took the initiative to work with Van Hool to develop a funeral coach.”
Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool, explained:
“It is one of Van Hool’s strengths that we are able to work with customers to develop vehicles that meet their ambitious requirements and high expectations. A tailored service is what sets our company apart. Our employees’ many years of experience make unique designs such as this funeral coach possible.”
The coach is able to accommodate the deceased along with 26 mourners. The seating provided includes several seats with tables, and a U-shaped seating arrangement to the rear. Tinted windows ensure passenger privacy. Photographs and film footage can be displayed on three on-board screens and there is also the option to play music fitting to the deceased. As part of the concept, it is also possible to travel a predetermined route past a number of locations that played a role in the life of the deceased. The funeral coach offers a number of technological solutions. Beuk: “Professional funeral transport requires essential functionalities such as a longer and reinforced lift, a wider middle door and a secure bier fixture.”
The drivers are specially trained to provide this form of transport. “The on-board technology requires specific knowledge, and transporting a deceased demands a respectful driving style, the right etiquette and empathy for the occasion”, states Monique Beuk. “There are no second chances, the bar is higher than usual. Our drivers feel honoured to be able to contribute towards an individual’s final journey.”