The future buses produced by Mercedes-Benz will be eco-friendly beginning with the introduction of the new Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid model, the carmaker's first ever fuel-cell hybrid bus. Another step toward a zero-emission mobility and enhanced resource conservation framework of "Shaping Future Transportation" global initiative of Daimler is the regular-service city bus.
This Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is not something to be enjoyed in the future -- it is already here! This is the reason why Mercedes-Benz buses will be extensively monitoring its performance in regular operations within the boundaries of a major fleet test in a number of cities in Europe.
The test will be similar to the successful CUTE fleet test done by the EU between 2003 and 2006. There are a total of 36 MB Citaro buses equipped with fuel cell drives since 2003 and these have performed superbly around 12 public transport agencies on three continents as part of the CUTE test, its follow-up project the HyFLEET:CUTE and other related testing series.
Overall, the buses traveled a total of two million kilometers in an estimated 135,000 hours. Having been available between 90-95 percent of the time demonstrated excellently the suitability of the eco-friendly fuel-cell drive for daily urban deployment.
From the experience gained from the 36 fuel cell test buses comes the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid. But since CUTE focused on the fuel cell drive's suitability, the Citaro's diesel unit was substituted with a fuel cell drive in order to guarantee the highest possible range of stability for the public transport.
There were no necessary compromises done on the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid because its drive system technology is a totally new development that employs chief features of the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid. Included in the shared components are axles equipped with electric hub motors, lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, and ancillary components which are all electrically powered. The Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid sits on the proven platform of the high sales performing MB Citaro city bus.
The fuel cells of the new model are powered by hydrogen, but the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid will consume much lower hydrogen volume in contrast to preceding fuel cell buses. This is mainly due to its intricate drive system control unit. Thus the Citaro FuelCELL provides great advantages in terms of conservation of resources and the cutting of harmful gas emissions connected with hydrogen production.