Press Kit: New products and services from the DaimlerChrysler Buses and Coaches business unit in 2005
Sep 01, 2005
The new Mercedes-Benz Travego high-deck touring coach
  • Enhanced, more dynamic design vocabulary
  • More room for driver and tour guide, wider entrance
  • Weight reduced by up to 300 kg, depending on model
  • Exemplary comfort and safety features
  • Assistance systems such as proximity control, Continuous Braking Limiter and Lane Assistant
  • Many aspects of the passenger compartment enhanced substantially
  • Clean and economical: the new Euro 4 engines
  • Base engine boosted to 315 kW (428 hp)
The Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit ushered in a new era in 1999 by launching the Mercedes-Benz Travego touring coach, offering a previously unparalleled blend of sophisticated technology, high levels of comfort, attractive looks and leading-edge safety systems. Now that the successful first-generation Travego has reached the pinnacle of its career, the new Mercedes-Benz Travego raises the benchmark once again, taking the exceptional preceding model as a basis yet exceeding it in every major respect. The new Mercedes-Benz Travego sets new standards in the luxury touring coach segment, not only in terms of comfort and safety for the passengers and the driver but also when it comes to looks, equipment and appointments. Not to mention the outstandingly economical and ecologically beneficial Euro 4 engines.
Enhanced, more dynamic form and design
On a purely visual level, there is a clear family resemblance between the new Mercedes-Benz Travego and the preceding model, although the evolutionary process is clear to see. The new model is more refined and, by equal measure, elegant, masculine and progressive in appearance. By way of example, the „face“ of the coach below the unchanged, deep-drawn and inviting windscreen now has much more clearly defined features whilst the new front panel is more three-dimensional, has a curved upper edge and is visually more distinctive. Thanks largely to the Mercedes star proudly displayed on its own base, the front-end design is reminiscent of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car. The new and larger headlamps – designed using free-form surface technology and featuring clear-glass polycarbonate covers – are characterised by a pronounced upwards slant whilst the indicators are now integrated in the all-glass housing. Together with the new-look bumper, the formal integration of the headlamps emphasises the dynamism at the heart of the new touring coach.
Dynamic character line
The side section of the new Travego has also been given new emphasis. Now even more prominent than before, the three-dimensional character line created by the B pillar rises impressively out of the vehicle body. At the lower end, it sweeps powerfully around into the front entrance door, its wedge-shaped surface echoing the front and side section design. At its upper end, the B-pillar soars elegantly above the first two side windows without impairing the passengers’ view in the slightest before seamlessly linking up with the panelling of the integral roof-mounted air-conditioning system. These wrap-around panels conceal the roof edge and blend in with the side wall, creating a harmonious surface.
To give passengers in the new Travego’s rearmost row of seats an even better view, the rear edges of the rear side windows are now much steeper and straighter, rather than rounded as previously. The new LED side marker lamps are designed to last for the entire vehicle lifespan so the bulbs should never need changing. These enhancements make the Travego appear more dynamic but also more elegant. Above all, the coach seems to have been cast from a single mould and, in terms of design vocabulary, is related to the preceding model, yet has clearly evolved a great deal.
New-look rear section with distinctive tail lights
The rear end of the Travego has also been enhanced in several key areas. Particularly noticeable are the rounded, three-dimensional tail lights which are drawn deeply into the vehicle flanks. Each tail-light unit has three integrated, light-coloured covers for the indicators and the reversing lights. Similarities with Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are no coincidence: the impressive tail lights have Mercedes written all over them, figuratively speaking. Passive light elements link the tail lights with the now flat engine flap whose upper section features a newly designed ventilation grille. As well as looking good, the grille is effective at preventing swirled-up dirt from entering the engine compartment. Moving further upwards, new recesses in the rear wall echo the shape of the ventilation grille, and break up the appearance of the surface.
In the rear window, the enlarged Mercedes star is now more prominent and protrudes upwards into the glass area. The engine flap, rear wall and corners of the bumper are more powerfully curved. Overall the second-generation Travego has a harmonious appearance, exudes typical Mercedes-Benz dynamism and is easily recognisable.
Like its predecessor, the new Travego high-deck touring coach has a body based on tried-and-tested reinforcements stretching across the roof and down the sides, creating a solid platform for maximum stability and, therefore, optimum safety. Design modifications have been made on the left-hand side where the Travego (15 RHD) and Travego M (16 RHD) models now have two instead of three luggage compartment flaps to make the driver’s life easier. The Travego L (17 RHD) now has three instead of four flaps. Behind the luggage compartment flaps, which are equipped with a lifting mechanism, the Travego and Travego M models offer 8.4 m³ of luggage space between the axles, whilst the Travego L model provides 10.9 m³, assuming that an on-board toilet is fitted in each case.
Extended front end benefits drivers, tour guides and passengers
Although the wheelbase length remains unchanged, the front end of the new Travego has been extended by 140 mm to provide extra space for the driver and the tour guide as well as a wider entrance for the passengers. At the same time, the developers were able to increase the angle of approach so as to ensure improved handling and manoeuvrability.
Up to 300 kg lighter despite the increase in length
Even though the overall length has been increased slightly to 12.14 m (Travego), 12.96 m (Travego M) and 13.99 m (Travego L), and despite the measures implemented to ensure compliance with the Euro 4 emissions standard, the new Travego weighs up to 300 kg less than its predecessor. The higher weight reserves, even with a high standard of equipment and appointments on board, allow the Travego (15 RHD) with a six-cylinder in-line engine to be registered as a three-star version with seating for 49 passengers plus seats for the driver and the tour guide.
A whole raft of measures has been introduced to reduce weight. The new luggage compartment floor alone weighs 40 kg less thanks to its Metawell/aluminium sandwich construction. Further weight-saving measures, to name but a few, include the optimised roof frame, the omission of the driver’s door, an optimised air-conditioning system and the use of flat-screen displays instead of tube-type monitors for the video system. As well as increased passenger-handling capacity, the total kerb weight reduction of up to 300 kg enables a higher payload and, with exactly the same load on board, lower fuel consumption. In terms of economic efficiency, the Mercedes-Benz Travego has therefore gained on two fronts.
Exemplary safety equipment including Continuous Braking Limiter (CBL)
Whilst the Mercedes-Benz Travego has always provided an exemplary level of safety, the new Travego marks another major step forwards. The extensive standard equipment package now includes a Continuous Braking Limiter (CBL) – a control system which makes life considerably easier for the driver by stopping the coach from accelerating unintentionally when driving downhill. At first the coach is braked by the retarder, then by the service brakes, thus preventing the vehicle from exceeding the statutory speed limit of 100 km/h on long motorway descents, for ex-ample. Furthermore, the cooling power of the engine has been increased to ensure better dissipation of the heat energy generated by braking and, therefore, extremely reliable retarder operation during long periods of braking.
Numerous safety systems including ESP as standard
The exemplary safety equipment package which comes as standard for the Mercedes-Benz Travego also features the familiar fade-resistant braking system incor-porating disc brakes all round, the Electronic Braking System (EBS), Brake Assist (BA), acceleration skid control (ASR), the retarder and, perhaps most importantly of all, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). ESP helps to provide directional stability and, within the bounds of physical possibility, keeps the vehicle safely on track in critical driving situations by precisely applying braking force at the individual wheels and reducing the engine power.
In addition, large H7 halogen headlamps with a high light output (powerful Litronic gas discharge headlamps are available as an option), standard-fit fog lamps, a highly efficient system of mirrors providing excellent allround visibility, the high-strength skeleton with reinforcements stretching across the roof and down the sides and passenger seats with impact surfaces on the backrests are as much an integral part of the new Mercedes-Benz Travego as the comfort and safety-oriented chassis and suspension set-up.
New, optionally available assistance systems: proximity control and Lane Assistant
Available as an option for the new Travego for the first time, the proximity control system automatically maintains a pre-programmed safe distance between the coach and the vehicles in front. For example, if the coach starts to approach a slower-moving vehicle ahead or if a slower-moving vehicle cuts across in front of the coach, the retarder, engine brake with constantly open throttle valve and service brakes are activated automatically to slow the coach down and re-establish the preset safe distance. The maximum deceleration is equivalent to 20 % of the total possible braking power. If the distance between the coach and the vehicle in front starts to increase, the coach is automatically accelerated back up to the speed previously set using the cruise control function. Although the proximity control system is primarily designed to assist drivers in heavy motorway traffic, it is also suitable for use on main and rural roads. What’s more it can also prove beneficial in urban traffic, since it is effective from a speed of 15 km/h.
Preparations are also under way to introduce the Lane Assistant system as a further option for the new Travego in the near future. In this case, a camera system monitors the limit lines on the road and thus detects when there is a danger of the vehicle leaving its lane. If this happens, the relevant side of the driver’s seat starts to vibrate in order to warn the driver.
Further enhanced driver’s workplace
The developers have also enhanced several aspects of the Travego interior. For instance, the front end has been extended by 140 mm to give the driver more space and provide a wider driver’s seat adjustment range. Furthermore, there is now space for a large bag behind the driver’s seat. On the left-hand side, the practical, multi-compartment driver’s locker has been redesigned. And the parking brake lever has been moved to a new, easier-to-reach position. A further plus is the easier-to-use joystick shift lever and the enhanced Servoshift system, which enables the driver to change gear even more smoothly and precisely than before.
The already exemplary, ergonomic design of the instrument panel in the preceding model has been further improved upon for the new Travego. Now a soft film which is pleasant to the touch covers the surface of the instrument panel whilst the previous monochrome display in the instrument cluster has been replaced by a new, high-contrast and easy-to-read colour display on the instrument cluster. The stan-dard-specification „Flair“ design and equipment line includes a wood-trimmed leather steering wheel whilst the optional „Fashion“ design and equipment line features a leather steering wheel with a fine multi-point structure.
Both the tour guide’s area and the entrance benefit from an extra 70 mm thanks to the longer front end of the new Travego. Passengers now board the bus via extremely wide, flat steps. Meanwhile the new-look tour guide’s seat features a fore/ aft adjustment function as well as a manually adjustable backrest.
Video system with DVD player and flat-screen monitors
The overhead compartment above the driver and tour guide area has been completely redesigned and restyled to give it an open, inviting look, with enlarged and lockable compartments on the left and right. This new design necessitated the use of flat-screen monitors instead of the previously installed tube-type units for the video system in the new Travego. The front monitor can be swivelled electrically to give the passengers an even better view. Standard equipment also includes a DVD player. The sunblind on the windscreen is now divided down the middle to ensure optimum visibility and protection from the sun for only those seats which need it. This means that the driver can move the sunblind to the ideal position for driving without impairing the view of the passengers on the right-hand side of the bus to any great extent. As an option, both sunblinds can be operated electrically at the push of a button. A heated windscreen is also available as an option.
New lighting concept and new service units in the passenger compartment
Upon boarding the coach, passengers are immediately met by the „Mercedes-Benz“ brand lettering which, like the „Travego“ lettering, is displayed inside on the left and right above the driver’s and tour guide’s seats. Since one of the main aims is to make passengers on board the Travego feel at home, a generous dimensional concept has been maintained, meaning an exterior width of 2.55 m, ample standing room of 2.10 m and, as a result, an airy and spacious feeling. Differences passengers will notice on board the new Travego include the modified service units beneath the air ducts, re-designed to give a more enclosed and complete appearance. The control buttons, now including illuminated inductive switches for the reading lamps and service call function, are logically integrated right next to the reading lamps. Each of the adjustable air outlets has a knurled wheel for controlling the air flow.
Another new feature is the lighting concept for the Travego passenger compartment, now centred around ceiling-mounted fluorescent tubes running the length of the luggage racks. The tubes have two light settings and are of considerable benefit to bus operators as they have an extremely long service life. The discreet nightlighting, also new, includes offset lamps for anti-glare illumination of the centre aisle below seat level. Furthermore, passengers occupying the rearmost seat row in the new Travego enjoy a better view as the side windows no longer feature a rounded rear edge but, instead, have been extended rearwards as far as the corner pillar.
Footrests now part of the standard equipment package
Apart from a new fabric collection, the tried-and-tested Travego seating remains unchanged. However, the comfortable CRX seats, fitted as standard, now also include footrests as well as new upholstery darts. To individualise the Mercedes-Benz Travego, coach operators can choose from 20 colours for the velour covers on the central ceiling strip and side walls alone. They also have a choice of five floor coverings and numerous leather and fabric seat covers. Both design and equipment lines available for the predecessor model – „Flair“ (standard) and „Fashion“ (optional) – have been retained. In the new Travego models, the „Flair“ design and equipment line now includes darker wood trim inserts in the grab handles, the armrests and the instrument panel.
Maximum air-conditioning output increased to 39 kW
In particularly hot regions, passengers on board the Travego will feel the benefit of the uprated roof-mounted air-conditioning system. The most powerful of the systems available now has a maximum cooling capacity of 39 kW. Further new developments include an air-conditioning system with a cooling output of 35 kW. Both of the new systems have eight evaporator blowers to ensure a high rate of air flow. Customers therefore have the choice of an air-conditioning system with a cooling capacity of 32 kW, 35 kW or 39 kW, depending on where the coach is to be put into service. Features the new model shares with its predecessor include the tried-and-tested hot water convector heater with the option of an axial fan for increased output.
Among the other details which reflect the substantial rise in the Travego’s stock are the robust luggage compartment floor covering and the luggage compartment flaps which are now lined on the inside. Next to the centre door is a spacious multipurpose area which can be accessed from the centre entrance area by pulling back a retractable cover and serves either as an additional stowage compartment or as the basis for the optionally available driver’s rest area. Central locking for the doors and flaps is part of the standard specification whilst options include an upgrade to electropneumatic remote control for the luggage compartment flaps and a central locking system which closes and locks the roof hatches and the driver’s window in addition to the doors and flaps.
Clean and economical thanks to future-compatible engine technology
The Travego engines are economical and eco-friendly. For the launch of the new model, the Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit has opted for the extremely low-emission and economical Euro 4 engines featuring the new BlueTec diesel technology based on SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction). BlueTec has been providing sterling service in the Mercedes-Benz Actros heavy-duty truck range since the beginning of 2005.
Euro 4 with BlueTec reduces fuel consumption
BlueTec has decisive advantages over other emission control systems, among them lower fuel consumption, a system designed to last for the entire powertrain lifespan and the familiarly long Travego maintenance intervals.
Using BlueTec in the new Travego couldn’t be easier. Beneath a flap, right next to the diesel filler neck, is a second, clearly separate filler neck for AdBlue. Depending on the coach model, the extra AdBlue tank holds 61 litres (Travego) or 47.5 litres (Travego M and Travego L) – enough for thousands of miles of driving. The mineral oil industry is currently putting in place a comprehensive AdBlue supply network in Europe. Of course, companies can also choose to fill up with AdBlue at their own filling stations or workshops. AdBlue manufacturers can supply the fluid in various pack sizes for this purpose.
In times of persistently high fuel prices, the importance of the economical performance of the engines with BlueTec diesel technology installed in the Travego cannot be underestimated. Thanks to extremely low diesel consumption and the large diesel tank capacity of 490 litres (Travego) or 475 litres (Travego M und Travego L), the Travego can cover vast distances without the need for tiresome and time-consuming fuel stops. To reduce weight, the tank housings are made from plastic.
New base engine with 315 kW (428 hp) and substantially higher torque
To prepare for the imminent introduction of the Euro 4 emissions standard, the engine line-up for the new Mercedes-Benz Travego has been revised and enhanced significantly. The range still includes the OM 457 LA six-cylinder in-line engine with a displacement of twelve litres and the V8 powerplant from the OM 502 LA series. However, the previous OM 457 LA entry-level engine with 260 kW (354 hp) has been omitted and, rather than being replaced like for like, is superseded by the next most powerful variant which offers greatly enhanced performance.
The new base engine for the Travego develops 315 kW (428 hp). Even more important than the increase in rated output is the substantial boost in pulling power. In-stead of 1,900 Nm, the six-cylinder powerplant now delivers an impressive peak torque of 2,100 Nm. Thanks to this new, extremely powerful base engine, the performance of the Mercedes-Benz Travego more than lives up to the expectations created by its highly dynamic appearance, whatever the conditions.
The top-of-the-range OM 502 LA V8 engine – with an unchanged displacement of 15.9 litres and output of 350 kW (476 hp) – also has a maximum torque of 2,100 Nm. The main advantages of this engine, available as an option for the three-axle Travego M and Travego L variants, are its mid-range and top-end output and torque delivery.
Smoother and more precise gear changes with Servoshift
All of the engines have their air intake on the left above the drive axle, in a zone located well away from where the dirt is swirled up by the rear wheels. This means that the air cleaners have a long service life. In all models, the drive power is transferred to the wheels via the standard-fit Mercedes-Benz GO 210 six-speed manual transmission which, as before, is operated by a joystick mounted on the instrument panel. Thanks to the enhanced Servoshift system, the transmission now ensures even smoother and more precise gear changes than before. Options available for the Travego include the ZF AS-Tronic 12-speed automated manual transmission. Like the outgoing model, the new Travego is specified with the tried-and-tested Mercedes-Benz HO6 drive axle.
Less complex electronics
The new Mercedes-Benz Travego features an enhanced electronic system that is again based on the successful flexible programmable control system. Even though the number of control units has been cut from six to five, in order to reduce the complexity of the system, there is still more functionality than previously.
The Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit decided to use a conventional electronic control unit with fuses and relays for numerous comfort and convenience systems on board the new Travego, including the sunblinds, power windows, audio/video systems and the galley. In this case the priorities were to allow easy repairs throughout Europe and neighbouring countries as well as to facilitate retrofits. By way of example, it is now possible to mount a trailer coupling including a socket without having to worry about downloading extra software, as was previously the case. All things considered, the combination of the flexible programmable control system and a conventional electronic control unit proves to be an extremely practical solution.
Three high-deck touring coaches in the line-up for Western Europe
The new Mercedes-Benz Travego line-up features three high-deck touring coaches: the Travego (15 rows of seats, 12.14 metres in length and two axles), the Travego M (16 rows of seats, 12.96 metres in length and three axles) and the Travego L (17 rows of seats, 13.99 metres in length and three axles). All three variants have an overall height of 3.71 metres.
The Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit also produces two special versions of the new Travego – the Travego 15 SHD and the Travego 17 SHD – to meet the specific needs and requirements of the Turkish market. These super-high-deck touring coaches are 12.0 metres and 13.85 metres in length respectively, have an overall height of 3.97 metres and are equipped with the familiar Euro 3 engines which were installed in the predecessor model, in line with the requirements of the Turkish market. On a visual level, the main differences vis-à-vis the Travego RHD are the larger luggage compartment flaps and a higher front moulding.
Hoşdere plant one of the world’s most sophisticated bus and coach plants
The new Mercedes-Benz Travego is produced in Turkey at the DaimlerChrysler AG plant in Hoşdere near the metropolis of Istanbul. This is also where, in the main, the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo high-deck touring coach has been produced alongside other Mercedes-Benz buses and coaches for the past ten years. More than 10,000 units have rolled off the production line here since 1995, a testimony to the touring coach’s success. DaimlerChrysler has been producing buses and coaches in Turkey since 1968. It all began with the legendary Mercedes Benz O 302, which is still remembered fondly to this day by many bus operators and bus drivers.
Since 1968, the company has produced some 42,000 buses and coaches in Turkey, many of which have been successfully exported to Western Europe. Examples include the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo touring coach and the Mercedes-Benz Conecto regular-service bus. By establishing a foothold in Turkey at a very early stage, DaimlerChrysler was able to accompany the country on its rise to becoming a fully fledged location in the automotive industry. Turkey is a rapidly up-and-coming eco-nomic area with around 70 million inhabitants and now boasts an annual produc-tion volume of over one million passenger cars, vans, trucks, buses and coaches. Around two thirds of these vehicles are exported, mostly to Europe.
Best possible corrosion protection thanks to new cathodic dip priming installation
DaimlerChrysler has comprehensively modernised and extended the Hoşdere plant for production of the new Mercedes-Benz Travego. At the heart of the plant is the newly erected cathodic dip priming installation which ensures the best possible corrosion protection. The new facility, largely based on the company’s experience with the cathodic dip priming installation at the Mannheim plant, ensures ideal long-term protection for the vehicle body. There is also a new bodyshop area. A total of around € 75 million was invested in the modernisation and extension of the Hoşdere plant, which was initially erected in 1995. Thanks to identical processes and, not least, a highly qualified workforce, the production and quality standards here are on a par with the high levels seen at the other DaimlerChrysler plants. Every customer who buys a Travego can therefore be sure that they are getting an attractive, high-quality coach which has a long service life and holds its value extremely well.
Added value at no extra cost
Thanks to the numerous product enhancements, the Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit is planning to produce around 450 units of the new Mercedes-Benz Travego high-deck touring coach per year, despite stagnant markets in Western Europe. This production volume is on a par with that of the outgoing model. The new Travego RHD will include numerous equipment and concept enhancements that add value and increase customer benefit at no extra cost. The only change in the pricing is solely due to the implementation of the measures aimed at ensuring compliance with the Euro 4 emissions standard.
The first new Travego models will be delivered in Western Europe in early 2006. In Turkey, the Travego 17 SHD Euro 3 version was launched with great success in spring 2005. Over 200 of these models have already been supplied to date. The new Mercedes-Benz Travego RHD for Western and Central Europe will celebrate its premiere at the „Busworld“ show in Kortrijk, Belgium this coming October.
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