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English   Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid bus
01.08.2009 von admin

Fuel gauge: hydrogen instead of diesel

Although the Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid is an entirely new development, there is no change from the driver's point of view – even in comparison with the diesel Citaro. This sense of familiarity applies not only to the actual driving experience, but also to the look and feel of the cockpit – right down to the fuel gauge: instead of indicating the amount of diesel in the tank, this now shows how much hydrogen is left.

In comparison with the first generation of fuel-cell buses, the Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid offers the driver and passengers considerably improved ride comfort. This is thanks to the exemplary response and handling provided by the Citaro's inde­pendent front suspension. As in the first Citaro fuel-cell bus, a pitch/roll control system prevents uncomfortable body roll when cornering.

The interior layout corresponds to that of a diesel-powered Citaro. The sense of spaciousness is enhanced by the absence of the diesel tank. Furthermore, passengers aboard the Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid prototype will notice that it differs from conventional urban buses in a number of ways: with its stainless steel hand­rails and ship's-deck-effect flooring, the passenger cabin reflects the ex­clusivi­ty and sustainability which characterise the drive system.

Win-win for buses and passenger cars

The Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid bus underlines the leadership of Mercedes-Benz and Daimler Buses in drive system technologies. The Group's engineers at the Fuel-Cell Competence Centre in Kirchheim-Nabern benefit from their cross-divisional role within the Group: they develop fuel-cell drive technology centrally for all brands and divisions.

This structure makes for a highly effective development function which is geared to getting results, not least through the exchange of findings and test results for the Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid bus and passenger cars with fuel-cell drives. As this technology is used in several model series with correspondingly high production volumes, it is possible to develop components which would never be viable for a manufacturer who produces buses or commercial vehicles only. For example, the fuel-cell stacks of the new Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid bus are identical to those of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class with fuel-cell drive, which will enter series production in the course of next year.

Linear development from NEBUS to Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid

The urban bus has always been the priority for Daimler Buses in the course of its rigorous and single-minded pursuit of the goal of emission-free driving. It started in 1997 with the NEBUS research vehicle – the world's first bus to be equipped with a fuel-cell drive system. There then followed the fuel-cell Citaro and the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid with a diesel-electric hybrid drive system and now the new Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid of 2009.

Fleet test with ten buses in Hamburg

The Citaro FuellCell Hybrid isn't a futuristic study – it is already a reality: indeed, from next year, Mercedes-Benz Buses will be monitoring its performance in normal line-service operations very closely in the course of a fleet test conducted in conjunction with Hamburg public transport operator Hamburger Hochbahn. A small series of ten buses will be built for this fleet test which is being supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs.

A further goal is a Europe-wide large-scale test in several cities. It is intended that this should proceed along the lines of the successful CUTE fleet test conducted by the European Union. Since 2003, a total of 36 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses have performed outstandingly well in service across three continents with twelve public transport operators (located as far apart as Iceland and Australia) within the context of the CUTE test and its HyFLEET CUTE follow-on project as well as other related testing programmes. To date, the buses have been driven a combined total of more than two million kilometres in some 135,000 hours of operation. Their availability – between 90 and 95 percent – has provided an impressive demonstration of the environmentally friendly fuel-cell drive’s suitabili­ty for everyday use in urban regular-service buses. The new Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid bus will continue this successful development.

Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid

Photo and text:
Daimler AG

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