- Capacity of up to 193 passengers, low costs
On show as a prototype for the first time at MOT 2005, the new „CapaCity“ low-floor high-capacity regular-service bus represents an entirely new concept for the public transport sector. Measuring 19.54 metres in length and boasting a Euro 4-compliant engine, the new four-axle, four-door „CapaCity“ bus concept with a single articulation joint heralds a new chapter in the development of high-capacity urban buses for regular-service operations.
Despite the size of the vehicle, its distinctive and innovative exterior design ensures that it makes an attractive first impression which clearly identifies it as a member of the Mercedes-Benz urban-bus family. It has an extremely high capacity of up to 193 passengers, allows fast boarding/alighting and can be used wherever required thanks to its manoeuvrability and dynamic qualities. For the pur-poses of comparison: the 18-metre-long Citaro G articulated bus - which until now held the distinction of being the largest member of the Mercedes-Benz regular-service bus family – can carry a maximum of about 150 passengers. The Mercedes-Benz „CapaCity“ also benefits from the advanced vehicle concept and the advanced, tried-and-tested components of the other regular-service bus model series from Mercedes-Benz – this clearly distinguishes the new high-capacity bus concept from technically exotic or extremely complex and costly solutions.
The Mercedes-Benz „CapaCity“ represents the carefully considered response of the Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit to the directions in which the European urban-bus market is developing: the „CapaCity“ answers public transport operators’ calls for passenger-carrying capacity to be concentrated on main routes while reducing fuel, driver, workshop and capital costs. At the same time, it meets the rising expectations which passengers have with regard to the attractiveness of public transport solutions. It also takes full account of the statutory context of developments such as more stringent emissions legislation and the cutting of subsidies.
Capacity of up to 193 passengers, low operating costs
Thanks to its length of 19.54 m as well as the fourth axle and the resulting in-crease in the permissible gross vehicle weight to 32 tonnes, the „CapaCity“, which features a continuous low floor extending to the very rear of the vehicle, has a significantly higher passenger capacity than the articulated buses commonly in use today. Assuming that the permissible standing room of eight people per square metre is used to the full, the payload of 13 tonnes means that the capacity increases – depending on the seating configuration – by as much as 40 percent to attain a maximum of 193 passengers. Four double-width doors, two of which are situated in the trailing section, step-free entrances and exits through-out and areas for standing passengers, parents with pushchairs, and wheelchair users make for fast passenger turnover.
The high capacity of the „CapaCity“ is a major plus in several respects: in future, it will be possible to provide the same transport capacity with fewer buses. This significantly reduces purchase, upkeep and staff costs and is also highly beneficial in that it keeps the environmental impact as low as possible. Furthermore, extra costs associated with the conversion of bus stops and other route infrastructure elements can be avoided almost entirely thanks to the „CapaCity“ high-capacity urban regular-service bus.
Distinctive and assured design
The „CapaCity“ takes its place within the Mercedes-Benz family of regular-service buses with a unique, distinctive and coherent design which nevertheless instantly identifies it as a member of the Mercedes-Benz bus family. The principal characteristic of the external appearance of the „CapaCity“ is its harmonious design which does much to reduce the visual impact of its exterior size.
Thanks to the smoothness and the clarity which define its formal vocabulary, the whole vehicle makes a dynamic, elegant statement which immediately communicates its attractive character. The design of the friendly „face“ with the three-dimensional front panel, in which the Mercedes star is positioned self-confidently on a prominent base, flows into a smooth side wall. The wheels on the non-steering axles are concealed behind panels, a measure which has the effect of emphasising the length of the vehicle. Black painted areas which extend as far down as the wheel arches enlarge the side windows visually. The roof is also designed to make a harmonious impression – all the roof equipment, such as the air conditioning system, fans etc. is concealed beneath attractively styled panels and thus dovetails seamlessly with the rest of the smooth and dynamic exterior.
The most striking characteristic of the interior is the extremely spacious, friendly and bright atmosphere. A completely new, contemporary colour scheme underlines the high design values of the overall concept. The ceiling, side walls, floor covering and seat upholstery are finished in perfectly coordinated colours and are complemented by a grab rail system made from brushed Nirosta stainless steel which also contributes to the airy and spacious atmosphere of the interior.
Same mobility and braking performance as conventional-size
Thanks to its four axles (two of which are steering) and the fact that it has just a single articulation joint, the 19.54-metre-long Mercedes-Benz „CapaCity“ is able to negotiate urban traffic as easily as a conventional articulated bus measuring some 18 metres in length. Indeed, the 22.85-m turning circle of the „CapaCity“ is exactly the same as that of the three-axle Citaro G articulated bus which is „only“ 17.94 metres in length; the new „CapaCity“ and the Citaro G also have identical „swing-out“ values and cornering-track widths. This means that the „CapaCity“ is considerably easier to handle than alternative double-articulated or trailer concepts which are currently being offered.
When it comes to braking, the „CapaCity“ benefits from the tried-and-tested electronically controlled braking system (EBS) in combination with ABS and acceleration skid control (ASR). Disc brakes on all wheels and independent front suspension are standard.
Easy manoeuvring and reversing
As the Mercedes-Benz „CapaCity“ has only a single articulated joint, manoeuvring is far more straightforward and thus safer, too. Unlike a double-articulated bus or one with a trailer, the „CapaCity“ is easy to reverse. This manoeuvre is supported in the „CapaCity“ by „Omnicam“, a camera with a particularly wide angle of vision. Furthermore, a virtual „corridor“ on the monitor of the camera system shows the driver the trajectory which the bus will follow if the current steering angle is maintained.
High level of directional stability and road grip thanks to four axles and pitch/roll control
The „CapaCity“ owes its great manoeuvrability to an electrohydraulically con-trolled trailing axle. This axle configuration also makes for even greater directional stability and road grip, even when driving on the straight. The chassis with independent front suspension as well as pitch/roll control which is provided by varying the response of the shock absorbers, offers excellent levels of safety and comfort. The Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit first implemented pitch/roll control successfully in the Citaro fuel-cell buses (which now number some three dozen) with their high roof loads.´
This system adjusts the damping characteristics in accordance with the driving situation and the load status. The resulting firmer damping response during braking or dynamic cornering enhances safety even further, while softer damping makes for a particularly comfortable ride in other driving situations. Further-more, any pitching, rolling or vertical body movements – which are all the more noticeable in articulated buses – are reduced and eliminated more quickly. Reduced variations in the wheel load also mean less wear and tear on the roads. Together with the independent front suspension, this system enables a degree of ride comfort which sets new standards for the urban-bus sector.
Powerful and economical Euro 4-compliant engine
The „CapaCity“ is powered by the tried-and-tested Mercedes-Benz OM 457 hLA 12-litre six-cylinder in-line engine which is situated at the rear of the vehicle and drives the third axle. Economical and clean, this power plant complies with the Euro 4 exhaust emission standard and features BlueTec diesel technology based on the SCR principle. Despite the higher weight of the „CapaCity“, the engine output of 260 kW (354 hp) means that the vehicle is able to attain performance and traction values almost identical to those of the shorter, three-axle Citaro G.
Special authorisation is still required at present
As the 19.54-metre length of the Mercedes-Benz „CapaCity“ exceeds the current legal maximum of 18.75 m, special authorisation is still required in order for it to be operated on public roads. This has already been granted in five of Germany’s federal states, and the aim is to obtain nationwide authorisation.
Service and maintenance
Designed using tried-and-tested components from the other Mercedes-Benz regular-service bus model series, the „CapaCity“ is easy to maintain, has low life-cycle costs and does not require any changes to the existing public transport infrastructure. As for the workshops where it is maintained, only relatively minor modifications are necessary. Like all other Mercedes-Benz buses and coaches, the Mercedes-Benz „CapaCity“ can call on the dense, Europe-wide service network provided by Omniplus, its authorised dealers and Mercedes-Benz sales and service outlets.