Mercedes-Benz at the Busworld fair in Kortrijk/Belgium: more models, more technology, more economy
Kortrijk
Oct 20, 2009
  • New: Mercedes-Benz Tourismo RH for inter-urban regular service
    and touring
  • New: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibuses with new engines
  • Mercedes-Benz Travego – setting the standard for safety and comfort
  • Extraordinary milestone: 25,000th Mercedes-Benz Citaro
  • Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid: electric drive for emission-free operation
  • Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid: the future becomes the present
  • Bus Rapid Transit: flexible bus transport systems
Mercedes-Benz Buses is presenting numerous new products at the Busworld fair, Europe’s largest fair dedicated to buses and coaches, which will be held in Kortrijk/Belgium from 16 - 21 October. In Hall 5 and the outside display area, a larger number of buses and coaches will demonstrate the great innovative strength and product diversity of Mercedes-Benz as a full-line supplier. The centerpiece of the new product lineup is the cost-effective all-rounder Tourismo RH, together with Sprinter-based minibuses with a new and powerful, yet both economical and environmentally friendly powertrain. The Citaro LE-Ü, Tourismo M/2, Tourismo RH and Travego M on display cover the entire spectrum from inter-urban buses to touring coaches. No less impressive, the lineup of city buses is headed by the new, emission-free Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid with a fuel cell hybrid drive system and the CapaCity large-capacity urban regular service bus, which will be discussed in the forums. As part of the Mercedes-Benz Forum on the fair stand, the company will not only be presenting its vehicles, but also numerous topics such as Bus Rapid Transit, safety, drive and environmental technologies, and lifecycle costs.
New: Mercedes-Benz Tourismo RH for inter-urban regular service and touring
The bestselling touring coach series is being expanded: while Europe’s most frequently sold range of touring coaches previously consisted only of high-deck vehicles, the new Tourismo RH extends the range with a high-floor variant, occupy­ing the premium inter-urban and touring segment. It is eminently suitable for short trips, excursions and inter-urban regular service. By virtue of its versatility, the Tourismo RH is a highly economical coach for a wide range of day-to-day applications. Within the Mercedes-Benz bus portfolio it takes on the role of a jack-of-all-trades and multiple income-earner.
With a floor height of 1060 mm, the Tourismo RH closes the gap between the well-established Integro inter-urban bus (860 mm) and the successful Tourismo RHD high-deck touring coach (1330 mm). The front door of the Tourismo RH is always a single door. The centre door – which is a single door in standard specification – is available as a double door in the interests of a fast passenger throughput for regular service operations.
High-capacity Tourismo RH: two length variants, plenty of seats
As the Tourismo RH with a length of 12.14 m and the Tourismo RH M (12.98 m), this high-floor bus has a large seating capacity of 51 or 55. The luggage capacity is equally impressive: 6.7 and 7.9 cu. m. respectively is easily enough for short tours.
Two seating variants are available: standard equipment is the Inter Star Eco, a fully upholstered seat with a high-strength backrest, a corner grab handle on the aisle side and two-point seat belts. As an alternative, Travel Star Plus is available as fully-fledged touring seating with an adjustable backrest, lateral adjustment, integral grab handles and folding armrests on the aisle side.
Optional comfort to luxurious touring coach standard
Whether with air conditioning, a toilet, cooler box or an onboard kitchen available in several versions, the practical Tourismo RH is optionally able to treat its passengers to all the comfort attributes of a touring coach. Standard appointments already include convection heating, parcel shelves and service sets in the overhead air duct, featuring individual reading lights, ventilation nozzles and a courier call button.
The cockpit is no less attractively designed. The slim instrument panel extends well round to the side, which lends something of a sporty atmosphere to the driver’s workplace. The comfortable joystick-type shift lever on the right of the instrument panel is ideally positioned.
Safety features: first-class in this class
Like every Mercedes-Benz bus, the Tourismo RH impresses with an exemplary level of safety equipment. As standard it features the electronically controlled braking system EBS, disc brakes all-round, the anti-lock braking system (ABS), acceleration skid control (ASR), Brake Assist (BA), downhill speed regulation, cruise control, a retarder as a non-wearing auxiliary brake and above all, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
The Tourismo RH is powered by an OM 457 hLA 12-litre six-cylinder in-line engine developing an output of 260 kW (354 hp) and 1600 Nm of torque. For topo­graphi­cally demanding operating profiles or touring, an alternative output variant with 300 kW (408 hp) is available. Power is transferred by a servo-assisted six-speed manual transmission from Mercedes-Benz. Both engines feature BlueTec diesel technology with a downstream SCR catalytic converter, and the meet the Euro 5 emission standard. On request the more powerful engine can be combined with the Mercedes GO 240-8 PowerShift automated eight-speed manual transmission, and the 260 kW (354 hp) variant with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Exterior: businesslike, functional and with family features
The functional exterior design of the Tourismo RH reflects its ability to combine inter-urban regular service operations with touring assignments. The typical touring coach features shared by the Tourismo family are surmounted by a steeply angled windscreen, providing space for a large, integrated destination display. There is room for additional destination display panels on the sides as well. The design features of the rear end once again combine regular service and touring operations.
Mercedes-Benz Tourismo: the economic miracle
The new Tourismo RH ideally complements the bestselling Tourismo model range. Presented three years ago, the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo has since claimed the undisputed top position in its class in Europe with sales of around 3 000 units. This success is based on the clear concept of a particularly economical and safe touring coach which is available in numerous variants. This concept is continuously being developed even further, and since spring 2009 the Tourismo has also been available with the new Mercedes GO 240-8 PowerShift automated eight-speed transmission.
The Mercedes-Benz Tourismo covers almost the entire business segment for functional touring coaches. The high-deck range comprises the two-axle Tourismo (length 12.1 m), the two-axle Tourismo M/2 (13 m) and the three-axle variants Tourismo M (13 m) and Tourismo L (14 m).
The powertrain of the Tourismo is designed for outstanding economy. It is based on 12-litre turbocharged six-cylinder in-line diesel engines from the OM 457 series, with outputs ranging from 260 kW (354 hp) to 315 kW (428 hp) and a maximum torque of 2100 Nm.
Mercedes PowerShift automated manual transmission
Power is transferred to the rear axle via a six-speed manual transmission with a joystick gearshift in the cockpit. Since spring 2009 the Tourismo has been optio­nally available with the new Mercedes GO 240-8 PowerShift automated eight-speed transmission. This is the only dedicated bus transmission in this output class, and contributes to the significant reduction in fuel consumption. Among its special features are particularly compact construction, which leads to low weight and has advantages during servicing.
Thanks to the wide ratio spread of its eight gears, the transmission covers the entire range from sensitive, low-speed manoeuvring to a low, fuel-saving engine speed on motorways. The progressive gear ratios ensure smooth, fast and jerk-free transitions during gearshifts, and the transmission control system responds rapidly to changing topographic conditions or engine loads.
Operating the Mercedes GO 240-8 PowerShift automated transmission is as simple as can be. Under normal circumstances the driver will keep the bus in automatic mode, but he is able to intervene manually at any time by nudging the shift lever forwards or backwards. Nudging the joystick to the left then changes the Tourismo to manual mode, and the driver is able to shift the gears as conditions dictate.
Functional and inviting passenger compartment
The passenger compartment of the Tourismo is both inviting and functional in design. The standing height of 2010 mm in the centre aisle is enough even for very tall passengers. In the high-deck models the passengers are seated on comfortable Travel Star Plus seats. These are mounted on platforms and are of in-house production.
Extensive safety features including ESP
Great importance is attached to the onboard safety features. The Electro­nic Braking System (EBS), disc brakes all-round, ABS, acceleration skid control (ASR), Brake Assist (BA), cruise control, a retarder, downhill speed regulation and above all the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) are all standard equipment.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibuses with new engines
Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH has started a new chapter in the success story of the minibuses bearing the Mercedes star with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Transfer, Sprinter Travel, Sprinter City and Sprinter Mobility. The range has a total of four minibus model series, with each model available in several variants. The result is a clearly structured, full range of twelve basic models for any type of city, inter-urban, touring or mobility operation, plus numerous individual versions – all based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. They are converted by Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH or fitted with bodies produced in-house.
The minibus range comprises models in five lengths from 5.9 m to 7.7 m, with permissible gross vehicle weights between 3.5 t and 5.65 t. The model designations in the individual model series clearly indicate the intended operating profile and size of the minibus concerned. The Sprinter Transfer is a versatile minibus for inter-urban service and excursions, while the Sprinter Travel is ideally suited to excursions and trips over longer distances. Sprinter City is the name of the model series with a low-floor design for regular city service. The Sprinter Mobility is designed to carry passengers whose mobility is restricted.
Thanks to the new engines and transmissions in the Sprinter, the minibuses are now even more economical, comfortable and environmentally friendly. Examples on display at the Busworld fair in Kortrijk are a Sprinter Travel 55 and a Sprinter City 65 with the new OM 651 four-cylinder diesel engine developing 120 kW (163 hp). By virtue of its high efficiency this engine series meets both the Euro 5 emission standard and EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle), current­ly the most stringent, voluntary emission standard in Europe. The engines also impress with their great responsiveness and high torque, and feature balancer shafts for a high level of refinement.
The new ECO Gear six-speed manual transmission is also used in the Sprinter Travel 55. This transmission makes a major contribution to fuel economy, plus further enhanced ride comfort and dynamic performance. Its outstanding attri­bute is a particularly wide ratio spread, with a low first gear and a high sixth gear for reduced engine speeds.
Apart from the new engine and transmission, further new features have also been introduced into the range with the Sprinter Travel 55. The already exemplary level of safety is enhanced even further by adaptive brake lights and heated wide-angle mirrors. A rear luggage compartment with a capacity of 1.45 cu. m. and the new swing-out door are also featured for the first time.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Travel 65 with new engine
The Sprinter Travel 65 has an absolutely distinctive bodyshell based on a skeleton structure. It is of particularly elegant appearance, with large window areas as well as a very high, panoramic windscreen. This flagship model in the series also has a distinctive touring coach rear end including a luggage flap and 2.0 cu. m. luggage compartment, a large rear window and around 10 cm more interior width compared to the Sprinter Travel 55.
The new OM 642 six-cylinder diesel engine with 140 kW (190 hp) and an impressive torque of 440 Nm is celebrating its premiere in the Sprinter Travel 65. This engine meets both the Euro 5 and the EEV emission standard. The passenger capacity has been increased from 17 + 1 to 18 + 1 by installing a four-seater bench in the rear. As in the rest of the Mercedes-Benz minibus range, safety is enhanced by adaptive brake lights and heated wide-angle mirrors.
Mehr Sicherheit und Komfort beim Anfahren an Steigungen bietet ab sofort der neue Anfahrassistent (AAS) im Automatikgegtriebe. An Steigungen hält er nach dem Lösen des Bremspedals den Bremsdruck ca. 2 Sekungen aufrecht, wodurch ein Zurückrollen kurzzeitig vermieden wird. Das Automatikgetriebe gehört zum Serienumfang im Sprinter City 35 und 65, im übrigen Minibusprogramm ist es optional erhältlich.
Mercedes-Benz Travego – setting the standard for safety and comfort
Safety is the foremost brand value at Mercedes-Benz, and safety is the centrepiece of the current-generation Mercedes-Benz Travego high-deck touring coach: it is in this series that Active Brake Assist (ABA) celebrated its world premiere in the bus sector. The emergency braking system Active Brake Assist was launched in the Mercedes-Benz Actros heavy truck series in 2006, and has since performed very successfully for customers over many millions of kilometres. When there is acute danger of a rear-end collision with a slower-moving vehicle ahead, Active Brake Assist initiates emergency braking after a succession of warnings.
Active Brake Assist is based on the proximity control system, which has been optionally available for the Mercedes-Benz Travego for a number of years. It uses the radar sensor of the proximity control system, whose three radar cones are able to detect moving objects ahead of the bus within a defined area. The distance and relative speed versus the vehicle ahead are constantly monitored and evaluated. If proximity control is specified for the Travego, Active Brake Assist is included at no extra cost.
Reducing collision speed and accident severity
While Active Brake Assist cannot always prevent an accident, it can at least reduce the collision speed, and therefore considerably mitigate the severity of the accident consequences, by initiating full braking action. Moreover, the system’s graduated warnings alert the driver, who may still be able to take avoiding action or brake to avoid the collision.
Passive safety system: Front Collision Guard
The Front Collision Guard (FCG) is a unique, passive safety ­system designed to protect the driver and courier during a frontal impact. This is a complex safety system starting with a cross-member that forms an underride guard during an accident to protect the other party. A structure of crash elements is located behind this cross-member to dissipate energy in a controlled manner during the impact. In addition, the cockpit of the Travego including the steering, pedal cluster and seat is mounted on a solid frame section which is able to move to the rear as a unit during a serious frontal collision, increasing the survival space for the driver by several centimetres.
Cockpit with driver-friendly design
Safety always includes operating safety at Mercedes-Benz. The cockpit of the current-generation Travego is therefore very driver-friendly, with an appealing, ergonomically ideal design characterised by curves and rounded profiles. The instrument panel, centre console and the area in front of the courier with its integrated cooler chest form a smooth transition.
The large, 3D-look dials of the speedometer and rev counter have chrome bezels and frame a large colour display, where a wealth of information such as fluid and compressed air levels or the trip computer can be accessed. Operation is via keys on the multifunction steering wheel. The telephone and hands-free system, as well as the basic functions of the audio system, can also be easily operated using the keys on the steering wheel.
Powertrain: perfectly coordinated components
The powertrain of the Travego consists of a perfectly coordinated combination of the engine, transmission and drive axle from a single source. The engines available are the powerful yet economical, 12-litre Mercedes-Benz OM 457 LA in-line six-cylinder developing outputs between 315 kW (428 hp) and 335 kW (456 hp), and for the three-axle Travego M and Travego L the OM 502 LA V8-engine with a dis­place­ment of 15.9 litres and an output of 350 kW (476 hp). Thanks to BlueTec technology, all the engines meet the Euro 5 exhaust emission standard.
As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual transmission, the Travego is also to be had with the Mercedes GO 240-8 PowerShift automated eight-speed trans­mission. This is the only speciali­st bus transmission in this output class. For the same performance, and in addition to other advantages on typical routes, the PowerShift transmission makes significant fuel savings possible in comparison with conventional automated transmissions.
The Travego range continues to consist of three high-deck models: the Travego (two axles, length 12.18 m), Travego M (three axles, length 13.0 m) and Travego L (three axles, length 14.03 m).
Extraordinary milestone: 25,000th Mercedes-Benz Citaro
Seen on the roads in major cities and small villages alike, the Citaro is the epitome of the regular service bus and has meanwhile become as popular on the tropical island of Réunion off the east coast of Africa as it has in Europe, Asia, Central America or Australia. It carries millions of passengers on a daily basis in Europe and overseas. It is powered by clean diesel engines, natural gas engines or a fuel cell stack – the drive system of tomorrow. It forms the backbone of urban public transport, and as the CapaCity high-capacity bus it is the basis for BRT systems. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro is a success story in its own right, and now it is due to celebrate another milestone when Mercedes-Benz hands over Citaro number 25,000 to its new owner. This already makes the highly up-to-date Citaro one of the great bestsellers in the history of bus transport.
Nobody envisaged sales of 25,000 buses when Mercedes-Benz surprisingly un­veiled the revolutionary Citaro at the 1997 UITP Congress in Stuttgart. Its unique design concept remains a model for generations of city buses: passenger-friendly low-floor technology, a bright interior with outstanding visibility thanks to high windows, passenger seats cantilevered from the walls to avoid awkward supporting legs, attractive, curved grab rails – these were and still remain some of the advantages of the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro.
Right from the start, bus fleets benefited from the range of powerful but economical engines, and from the FPS (flexibly programmable control) electronic system based on a CAN databus. This replaces many kilometres of wiring and around 300 elec­tronic, electric and electro-mechanical components. The modular construction of the Citaro created the conditions for numerous variants of different lengths. At the same time, the Electronic Braking System (EBS), disc brakes all-round, ABS and side impact protection ensure the greatest possible safety for the driver and passengers.
Continuous further development: the Citaro LE series
Continuous further development and adaptation to suit customer wishes is a major part of the Citaro’s success. From autumn 2005 Mercedes-Benz upgraded the range to a new level, for example, beginning with the Citaro LE (Low-Entry). This model combines the low-floor front end of the Citaro with the high-floor rear end of the Integro inter-urban bus. The Citaro LE range comprises two-axle city and inter-urban buses with lengths of 12 m and 13.1 m.
The Citaro LE was the precursor to numerous changes that gradually entered series production for all the Citaro models from spring 2006. Eye-catching features include the front-end, which was given a friendly appearance with a notional radiator grille and rotated indicator housings. The rear end of the Citaro has since then taken on a more three-dimensional form, with the V-shaped rear window extending into the roof. The interior and cockpit were also thoroughly revised. As a new feature, all Citaro models received an independent front suspension to improve handling and comfort. Thanks to a larger steering angle, the turning circle was reduced by around half a metre.
Full range of twelve models
Including the only 10.5-metre long Citaro K and the 19.54-metre long, four-axle CapaCity articulated bus, the low-floor Citaro range consists of twelve variants. These seamlessly cover the entire needs of urban and suburban public transport operators with a large number of variants.
From Euro 2 to EEV in rapid stages
The Citaro has absolved practically every stage in EC emissions legislation. On its debut in 1997, the Euro 2 in-line six-cylinder engines represented the state of the art. From model year 2001 the Citaro was equipped with Euro 3 engines, and as an alternative the Citaro was already available with a diesel engine featuring a CRT particulate filter. This variant already met the Euro 4 particulate limits. In 2000 Mercedes-Benz presented the Citaro with natural gas drive. This already fell below the Euro 4 limits, and since 2002 a variant has been available with voluntary EEV certification (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle). It can also be had with the "Blue Angel" seal of environmental approval.
Since 2006 the Citaro has been powered by diesel engines featuring selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for compliance with the Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission standards. This BlueTec diesel technology significantly reduces pollutant levels, while also providing the conditions for a noticeably lower fuel consumption. An optional particulate filter reduces particulate levels even further. With this combination, the diesel engines are also able to meet the voluntary EEV standard.
Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid: electric drive for emission-free operation
Hybrid drive is the intermediate stage on the way to the fuel cell as a standard automotive drive system. At the end of 2007 the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid cele­brated its world premiere. Equipped with a serial diesel-­electric hybrid drive system, this allows emission-free driving under electric power alone over short distances. Its compact four-cylinder diesel engine with a displacement of only 4.8 litres no longer operates as a constant drive unit, but instead drives a generator to produce electric power as required. This electric power is stored in maintenance-free lithium-ion batteries mounted on the roof of the Citaro. The batteries are also charged by energy recuperated during braking.
The wheels of the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid are powered by four electric wheel hub motors on the centre and rear axles of the articulated bus. Even under difficult operating conditions, their total output of 320 kW is generous for an articulated bus.
The energy recuperated during braking on the approach to bus-stops and traffic-lights is used both to power the vehicle’s systems at standstill and for moving off. This means that the hybrid bus is able to operate under electric power alone, and therefore practically without emissions, at bus-stops, when stationary and when accelerating away – including a significant reduction in noise. The aim is for the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid to cover around one half of its demanding inner-city route under electric power alone. Depending on the operating profile, the developers expect to achieve fuel savings of around 20 to 30 % compared to conventional diesel drive.
Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid: the future becomes the present
The future has become the present with the new Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid. First presented at the 2009 UITP Congress, this first fuel cell powered hybrid bus from Mercedes-Benz has an innovative design which combines features of well-proven Mercedes-Benz fuel cell buses, the diesel-electric Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid and further technical developments into a new, trailblazing drive concept. It uses the Citaro as a platform.
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid emits no pollutants while on the move, and operates practically silently. It is therefore ideally suited to operations in densely populated inner-city areas and major conglomerations. The Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is a much-heralded, logical next step on the road towards emission-free urban public transport, and therefore a major component for the mobility of the future.
Lower fuel consumption, improved long-term durability
Hybrid drive and concerted further development of the new fuel cell technology improve cost-effectiveness: the developers of the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid expect hydrogen consumption to be drastically reduced by almost half compared to the first generation of fuel cell powered buses, for example. At the same time the comprehensively improved technology is rapidly approaching series production maturity. A longer fuel cell operating life, which has been significantly increased to at least six years or 12,000 operating hours, is accompanied by a greatly reduced maintenance effort: the fuel cells, batteries and electric ­motors are practically maintenance-free for life.
Roof-mounted technology to save space
As in the first-generation fuel cell Citaro, most of the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid’s technology is mounted on the reinforced roof of the vehicle beneath an elegant cover to save space. The compressed gas tanks containing hydrogen are accommodated in the front area. These are the only features to have been adopted from the previous model, all the other components being new developments.
Lithium-ion traction batteries are arranged immediately behind the gas tanks, a first for fuel cell powered buses. The batteries have a capacity of 27 kWh, sufficient to drive the electric motors at a con­stant 120 kW. The Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is able to cover several kilometres under battery power alone with these.
Two fuel cell stacks lie at the heart of the drive system. They are arranged side-by-side, but operate independently. These likewise generate electrical power, giving the electric motors a constant output of 120 kW. Each stack contains 396 individual fuel cells. The fuel cell stacks of the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid are markedly different from those in the previous bus generation, and now achieve an impressive efficiency of 51 to 58 percent; the first generation managed 38 to 43 percent.
Features adopted from the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid
The ancillary systems of the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid, e.g. the steering servo pump, air conditioner or air compressor, are electrically controlled on a demand-related basis, and therefore operate very efficiently. In fact the bus uses the same com­po­nents as the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid – which enables production maturity and the operating strategy to be simultaneously improved for both. The central motor from the first generation of fuel cell buses has been replaced by water-cooled, asynchronous wheel hub motors. These achieve a combined, constant output of 120 kW and a maximum output of 160 kW when moving off. Like the d.c./a.c. converter and batteries, the wheel hub motors have been adopted straight from the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid.
Sophisticated energy management, lower fuel consumption
The drive system is designed for high efficiency. The economy of the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid – like that of the diesel-powered hybrid bus – is enhanced by recuperation, i.e. recovery of braking energy. Depending on the traffic situation and topography, this saves between around 10 and 25 percent of hydrogen in the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid.
The serial hybrid drive system also has particularly sophisticated energy manage­ment. Depending on the topographical conditions, the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is able to cover a route of several kilometres under battery power alone. It also operates even more quietly than with fuel cells. If the bus requires its full power output, for example when accelerating or on very steep gradients, the fuel cell drive system is activated to support the traction battery.
Despite the additional batteries, the Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid with a kerb weight of around 13.2 t weighs about one tonne less than its predecessor, with a resulting increase in passenger capacity.
Fleet trials with ten buses in Hamburg
The Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is not some futuristic study, but a reality: from next year Mercedes-Benz Buses will be subjecting the bus to intensive practical trials in regular service with the city transport authority in Hamburg. A small series of ten buses is being produced for this purpose. The project is being supported by the federal ministry for transport, construction and urban development.
As a further aim, large-scale, Europe-wide trials are envisaged in several cities. These will take the extremely successful European CUTE project (Clean Urban Transport for Europe) as their model. As part of CUTE and its continuation project HyFLEET:CUTE, as well as other associated projects, 36 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses have performed outstandingly in twelve transport operations on three continents between Icelandand Australiasince 2003. With a total of around 135,000 operating hours, these buses have so far covered more than two million kilometres. With an availability of between 90 and 95 percent, they have im­pressively demonstrated the practical suitability of environmentally friendly fuel cell drive systems for urban regular service buses. The new Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is set to continue this successful development.
Bus Rapid Transit: flexible bus transport systems
It is not only new drive systems, but also suitable traffic systems that conserve the environment. The challenges are similar in nature in many of the world’s major cities: a growing mobility requirement leads to gridlock and an increased environ­mental burden. The answer is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): flexible bus transport systems. Whether in Nantes/France, Istanbul/Turkey, Bogota/Columbia or Mexico City/Mexico, BRT systems are successfully operating with buses from Mercedes-Benz. In Brasilia/Brazil, Cancun/Mexico and the cities scheduled to hold the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa (e.g. Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria), Daimler Buses is involved in the implementation of such systems as a project partner.
BRT: fast, smooth-running passenger transport
BRT systems consist of one or more main routes with several feeder routes, on which large-capacity buses operate with a high frequency. Dedicated bus lanes separated from other traffic, plus convenient and safe entry and exit at platform-type bus-stops, ensure a rapid and smooth-running passenger throughput.
As with rail systems, BRT is able to carry more people on inner-city routes rapidly and in comfort. BRT systems are however faster and less expensive than rail systems, and more flexible with respect to expansion. Another strength of BRT is its individual applicability in any city, as well as great adaptability to local circum­stances.
Teams of BRT specialists from Daimler Buses on assignment all over the world
With its team of BRT experts, Daimler Buses provides support in the planning, introduction and further development of tailor-made concepts for BRT systems. The team is made up of specialists in traffic, urban and regional planning, and operates on a worldwide basis.
These BRT specialists are available to local and regional transport planners. Their focus is not only on buses, as existing and new means of transport must be coordinated into a well-functioning, local transport network. The Mercedes-Benz planners have a great deal of experience, as Mercedes-Benz was e.g. already involved in the design and implementation of a BRT system in Adelaide/Australia around 25 years ago. Since then, the team of experts has provided its advice for transport systems all over the world.
BRT example: BusWay in Nantes/France
The city of Nantes in France is a good example of a very successful BRT system. At peak times, the buses operating on their specially-built traffic lanes achieve journey times that are 50 percent shorter than by car. The result is a significant increase in passenger numbers accompanied by a reduction in car traffic density and the burden on the environment. Today around 26,500 passengers use Route 4 with its 20 BusWay service buses based on the natural gas powered Mercedes-Benz Citaro G on a daily basis. The buses cover the seven-kilometre route with its 15 stops in less than 20 minutes. At peak times they operate at three-minute intervals.
BRT example: Metrobüs in Istanbul/Turkey
Realising a BRT system in Istanbul/Turkey was no less of a challenge. The " Metrobüs " covers a 40.6-kilometre long route on its own bus lanes. At peak times the buses operate at very short intervals of less than half a minute. This enables around 750,000 passengers to be carried each day, the aim being a passenger capacity of up to 1 million per day. This BRT system is based on the Mercedes-Benz CapaCity large-capacity bus, of which 250 are already in operation. The CapaCity not only allows a high transport capacity, but also reaches an extremely high average speed of 40 km/h at highly attractive lifecycle costs. This is because the Mercedes-Benz CapaCity is a specialised high-performance product based on the well-proven Citaro modular system, making the CapaCity a "unique large-scale production vehicle of its kind" .
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