A new breed of emission-free, low-noise, fuel cell buses are to be tested in selected cities. DaimlerChrysler has announced that it plans to build about 30 ‘Citaro’ Mercedes-Benz buses over the next three years, which will then be test-driven in normal traffic conditions from 2002.
Evobus GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, will supply the Mercedes-Benz low-floor buses with fuel cells at a price of 1.25 million euros each.
Fuel cells are considered to be the alternative drive system with the greatest potential for development. They have either very low levels of emissions or none at all, and are extremely quiet and energy efficient, thereby making an important contribution to sustainable mobility.
The Citaro’s fuel cell unit delivers more than 250 kilowatts of power and was developed and manufactured by the DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Xcellsis. The gas pressure bottles containing compressed hydrogen are mounted on the roof of the bus, piggy-back style. The environmentally friendly bus can travel up to 300km at a top speed of 80km/hour, and can carry around 70 passengers.
The electric motor, transmission, drive shaft and mechanical rear axle are all located at the rear of the bus, ensuring smooth low-floor design, and easy access during maintenance. The bus also includes three doors for optimal passenger flow.
DaimlerChrysler has performed tests using methanol, hydrogen, and a purer from of gasoline to power fuel cell vehicles. It also claims to be the first automobile manufacturer to put fully functional, hydrogen and methanol driven fuel cell vehicles on the road.