Dr Rolf Bartke, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans at DaimlerChrysler, explained, "Looking to the future, fuel cell technology is the most promising alternative drive concept - which is why DaimlerChrysler is not only interested in establishing its expertise in this field, but also in encouraging its practical application in collaboration with select customers. This Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a vision of the future for this century's innovative courier service: environmentally friendly and quiet. In it, DaimlerChrysler offers its customers the opportunity to be one of the front runners and to familiarise themselves with the latest innovations at an early stage."
The Mercedes-Benz fuel cell van has front-wheel drive and uses gaseous hydrogen as fuel. Depot-based commercial vehicle operations are ideal for this form of fuel cell drive. A genuine zero-emission vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has a 55-kW electric engine which allows the van to achieve a top speed of 120 km/h and a range of over 150 km. The fuel cell technology on board does not restrict the Sprinter panel van's cargo capacity.
This demonstration project will give DaimlerChrysler the opportunity to carry out further testing on its fuel cell vehicles, particularly with regard to fuel consumption, operation at low temperatures and performance. The project will provide EPA, DaimlerChrysler and UPS with valuable experience in the practical use of both fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen filling stations.
The fuel cell: a drive system for the future
Of all of the alternative drive systems, the fuel cell offers the most promising prospects for the future. In operation it is totally emission-free: the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen releases the electrical energy which drives the vehicle, and the only by-product is steam. The fuel cell drive is also around twice as effective as the spark-ignition engine, and its emission-free, quiet operation is a significant advantage in city traffic. The use of hydrogen as fuel is particularly appropriate for courier services or for fleets of buses and taxis because the fuel cell vehicles need to return regularly to a central filling station.
The Sprinter: flagship model from the Düsseldorf plant
Since the launch of the Sprinter in 1995, around a million models have rolled off the production line at the DaimlerChrysler plant in Düsseldorf. 5,100 employees work on this flagship model every day. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans cover a range of permissible gross vehicle weights (GVW), extending from 2.59 t to 5.99 t. The model series is available in a modified form in the USA, adapted to specific national requirements and statutory regulations and marketed under the brand names Freightliner and Dodge.
UPS backs pioneering technology
Developing the most modern technologies, especially in the field of security and environmental protection, is of particular importance to UPS. Therefore UPS supports DaimlerChrysler in providing the experience and data required for further development of the fuel cell technology. UPS is the world's biggest parcel service and a leading worldwide provider of supply-chain services, with a comprehensive range of solutions for synchronising the transfer of goods, information and capital. The company, which is based in Atlanta (USA), serves over 200 countries and regions, has a workforce of 360,000 worldwide and carries an average of 13.3 million packages and documents every day. In 2002 UPS's turnover totalled $ 31,300 million. In February 2003 Fortune Magazine named UPS the "World's Most Admired Company in the Delivery Industry" for the fifth time in succession.
(Oct 09, 2003)