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October 19, 2005
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World record for fuel-cell buses: one million kilometers completed

Photo: DC

  • 70,000 hours in operation, nearly five million passengers transported

  • Positive interim results with first fleet tests of fuel-cell city buses worldwide

Stuttgart - Since 2003, 30 Mercedes-Benz Citaro city buses with fuel-cell drive have been in operation in Europe within the framework of the CUTE fuel-cell bus project with support from the EU; three more are in service every day in Australia. Meanwhile, these 33 buses have together clocked up a total of 70,000 operating hours and passed the mark of one million kilometers – a performance that by far surpasses all previous trials of fuel-cell buses. Prof. Herbert Kohler, Head of the Vehicle Body and Drive Systems Directorate and DaimlerChrysler Environmental Officer, stated: “The buses have convincingly demonstrated the reliability and robustness of fuel-cell drive in various climatic zones and topographies. They have withstood the winter cold of Reykjavik and Stockholm as well as the heat of Madrid. They have performed well in flat terrain as well as with gradients of up to eight percent in Oporto and Stuttgart.”

At the end of 2001, DaimlerChrysler together with the major European cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Oporto, Stockholm and Stuttgart and various infrastructure com-panies started the CUTE project (“Clean Urban Transport for Europe”). Three more buses are on the road as a part of the ECTOS project (“Ecological City Transport System”), also supported by the EU, and another three buses are operating in Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Before the end of this year, three more Mercedes-Benz Citaros with fuel-cell drive will be in service on the streets of Beijing. The first part of the project will be completed by the end of 2005.




The trials have given the developers of the fuel-cell stack valuable in-formation for the extension of fuel-cell lifetimes. The performance of the current generation of stacks is well above expectations: more than 2,000 operating hours without any power losses. This brings fuel-cell lifetimes even closer to those of conventional gasoline and diesel engines.

The quiet hum of progress

These clean city buses run very quietly. A white cloud of steam from their roofs betrays their drive system. The principle of fuel-cell drive is simple, highly efficient, and is becoming ever more practical for mobile applications. Fuel cells generate energy from the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to create water. They work with a high degree of efficiency and emit only pure steam. A fuel-cell system with a power output of more than 200 kW and pres-surized gas bottles are installed on the vehicle’s roof. Hydrogen is used to generate electricity, which operates the 200 kW electric motor. The buses accommodate 70 passengers and have a range of about 200 kilometers. Their top speed is 80 kilometers per hour.


Optimal efficiency combined with good ride comfort

DaimlerChrysler is a pioneer and leading player in the development of fuel cells for the automobile. More than ten years ago, the Group presented the world’s first fuel-cell vehicle – NECAR 1. Since then, the technology has been further developed with numerous concept vehicles. In addition to the 33 buses, 60 Mercedes-Benz A-Class “F-Cell” cars are in daily use with customers all over the world. In the United States, UPS delivers parcels with fuel-cell Sprinters; in Singapore, Tokyo, Germany and the United States, customers are testing the A-Class “F-Cell” in fleet use every day. In total, more than 100 Daimler-Chrysler fuel-cell vehicles are in use – more than from any other manufacturer.

(Oct 18, 2005)

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