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Mercedes-Benz at the UITP Congress in Geneva 2013: Clean, economical and innovative buses, successful BRT concepts
- Citaro: broad range of Euro VI-compliant urban buses
- Innovative technology: Euro VI, regenerative braking, weight optimisation
- Record Run Buses 2012: Euro VI pays its way, Citaro 8.5 percent more fuel-efficient
- Citaro Euro VI: Bus of the Year 2013
- Emission-free urban driving: Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid
- BRT systems continue on successful course
- Team of international experts to advise transport operators
Stuttgart/Geneva – The Mercedes-Benz stand at the UITP Congress in Geneva from 26 – 29 May will be dominated by the Citaro, the world's best-selling regular-service urban bus model. The Citaro takes to the stage at the World Congress for transport operators as the first regular-service bus to offer a complete range of Euro VI-compliant models. While the Citaro demonstrates the excellent progress made in diesel engine development, a Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid on the open-air part of the site serves to demonstrate the pioneering role of Mercedes-Benz in the development of alternative drive systems. Daimler AG, however, takes a holistic view of inner-city transport needs, as evidenced at the UITP Congress not only by a smart electric bike but also by a locally emission-free smart fortwo electric drive. Amongst other things, this provides a platform for networking public with private means of transport in the form of innovative systems such as car2go.
Citaro: broad range of Euro VI-compliant urban buses
Tradition has it that the inventor of the bus should also be the pioneer when it comes to buses with clean exhaust systems, and Mercedes-Benz was able to supply the first series-production Citaro models with Euro VI-compliant powertrains as early as last year. Right from the start, the range included the Citaro as a 12.1-metre rigid bus with two or three doors and the 18.1-metre articulated Citaro G with three or four doors, along with the corresponding rural-service versions. These are the cornerstones of the comprehensive Citaro portfolio. They were joined later last year by the Citaro K, a two- or three-door model version at a compact 10.6 metres in length. In the spring of 2013 the Citaro LE 'Low Entry' model in both urban and rural-service versions, 12 metres and 13 metres long, joined the line-up, along with the right-hand-drive versions of the Citaro K and the 12.1-metres rigid bus. By the autumn of this year, the Citaro range meeting the Euro VI emissions standard will comprise 18 different model variants.
Mercedes-Benz is thus the first bus manufacturer to have systematically converted its full fleet to Euro VI. The early availability of Euro VI is not only beneficial for the environment: by the end of 2013 well over 1700 vehicles from Daimler Buses, 1100 of which are Euro VI-compliant Mercedes-Benz buses, will have taken to the roads. 900 of these are regular-service buses from the Citaro Euro VI model series. These Euro VI-compliant Citaro models also bear the "Blue Angel" environmental label that is awarded to low-noise and low-emission vehicles.
Innovative technology: Euro VI, regenerative braking, weight optimisation
The Citaro, newly launched two years ago, was systematically developed with the Euro VI emissions standard in mind. A year ago Mercedes-Benz then became the first manufacturer to introduce Euro VI technology and, in order to accommodate this, undertook a redesign of the tail end of the Citaro. It is thanks to this holistic approach that, despite the additional components required to deliver Euro VI, the Citaro consumes less fuel than before and doesn't weigh even a single gram more.
The completely redesigned BlueEfficiency Power engines are derived from six-cylinder in-line units with a displacement of either 7.7 or 10.7 litres and deliver output that ranges from 220 kW (299 hp) to 290 kW (394 hp). Factors common to all include their durability, low consumption of fuel, AdBlue and engine oil, as well as long maintenance intervals. They offer impressively high torque even at very low engine speeds, which means that the shift points of the automatic transmission remain extremely low and that the final drive ratios could be lengthened, without compromising performance in any way. At the same time the engines run more quietly and harmoniously.
The new Citaro Euro VI also saves fuel, thanks to its innovative recuperation module: free electricity generated during the overrun phase is stored in double-layer capacitors (Supercaps) and used during acceleration. This process
reduces the Citaro's fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by more than three percent, depending on the specific operating conditions.
Battery and alternator management systems also help to save fuel, while at the same time extending the service life of the components. Lowering the door height at entrances two and three reduces the use of compressed air for the 'kneeling' function, so saving around 0.4 to 0.5 percent fuel. Fuel efficiency is enhanced further by the new efficiency-optimised and electronically controlled two-stage air compressor.
Depending on seating arrangement and appointments specification, the new Citaro Euro VI as a rigid bus offers space for up to 105 passengers. This is made possible by its low weight, achieved despite the extra components required to achieve the new emissions standard. The new compact engines also play their part, as do the adapted rear axle section, the reduced thickness of the wheel arch walls, the new roof made out of glass-fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP) and the rear flap in aluminium. An optimised roof frame, an aluminium engine mount, the aluminium housing for the fan or the smaller tanks for fuel and AdBlue as a consequence of the reduced consumption – in developing the Citaro Euro VI, the engineers have examined absolutely every element of the vehicle.
At the same time, corrosion protection has been improved still further, as have the fire protection measures. Everyday practicality was very much a key focus of development work. LED lamps save fuel and have a long service life; a service flap to the left of the rear window allows easy access to the major assemblies in the engine tower. The radiator and the air intakes for the engine are located well above the areas where dirt is liable to accumulate.
Record Run Buses 2012: Euro VI pays its way, Citaro 8.5 percent more fuel efficient
The Citaro Euro VI demonstrated its outstanding fuel efficiency in a direct comparison with its predecessor, a model already known for its frugality. In the Record Run Buses 2012 held in Wiesbaden, the capital of the German state of Hesse, it delivered a fuel consumption figure of just 38.7 l/100 km, coming out well ahead of the Citaro Euro V by a clear margin of 3.6 l/100 km or 8.5 percent. In Wiesbaden the buses, monitored by the independent technical expert organisation Dekra and carrying a realistic 50 percent payload, covered some 1400 km over five days on a demanding regular-service city route. The Citaro operated around the clock and pulled in at every bus stop along the way. In order to be able to compare the buses properly, the engineers opted to equip the buses with exactly the same transmission, axle ratio and tyres.
And the outcome of the Record Run Buses 2012: assuming an annual mileage of 60,000 km, the new Euro VI-compliant Citaro rigid bus delivers fuel savings of more than 2000 litres compared with the identical Euro V model. At the same time, the CO2 emissions it releases into the environment have been reduced by more than 5000 kg – in other words Euro VI for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro is a good investment in every respect. The Citaro G Euro VI, too, demonstrates a fuel saving of more than six percent compared with Euro V.
Citaro Euro VI: Bus of the Year 2013
The outstanding performance of the Citaro Euro VI was also recognised in the voting for the Bus of the Year award 2013. It won the award, conferred by a jury of European journalists, in an international comparison test against some renowned competitors, all of whom were competing against the Citaro Euro VI with hybrid buses.
Visitors to the UITP Congress can see the winning vehicle for themselves on the Mercedes-Benz stand. It is, however, barely recognisable, since Mercedes-Benz has decorated the Citaro for the occasion with colours and images to reflect the host country of the UITP Congress 2013.
Display vehicle at the UITP Congress
The winning vehicle now on display at the UITP Congress is a 12.1-metre-long full low-floor rigid bus with three doors. It is powered by the new, vertically installed OM 936 Mercedes-Benz engine. This six-cylinder in-line unit with a displacement of 7.7 litres delivers an output of 220 kW (299 hp) and reaches its maximum torque of 1200 Nm at 1200-1600 rpm. Its emission control system combines an SCR system with AdBlue injection with an oxidising catalytic converter, a closed-loop diesel particulate filter and exhaust gas recirculation.
Power transmission here is the responsibility of the six-speed ZF Ecolife automatic transmission. A recuperation module stores the electricity regenerated during braking. With a package of equipment that includes the Electronic Stability Program ESP, electronically regulated level control, a roll-and-pitch control system, bi-xenon headlamps, fog lamps with integral cornering light function and LED daytime running lamps, the Citaro sets new standards when it comes to safety technology.
The same is true of the video monitoring system for the interior and the fire detection and extinguishing system in the engine compartment.
Amongst other features, passengers enjoy the benefit of an electrically operated cassette ramp at the middle door, LED lighting strips underneath the entrances, air conditioning and ambient lighting in the passenger compartment. The driver's seat is behind an electrically locking cab door with a glass partition across half its width, from where they are able to operate the electric pivot-and-slide doors. Further benefits enjoyed by the driver include separate air conditioning and a coolbox.
Emission-free urban driving: Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid
Test drives with a locally emission-free Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid are possible over at the open-air section of the site. The vehicle concerned is one of five operated by PostBus Switzerland Ltd. The buses have been running since late 2011 on regular-service routes in and around the town of Brugg in the Swiss Canton of Aargau and have so far covered almost 250,000 km between them.
Fuel cell stacks located on the roofs of these two-axle rigid vehicles are used to generate electricity from hydrogen. This then powers two powerful wheel hub motors with an output of 120 kW each, along with the electrified ancillary components.
Lithium-ion batteries, also located on the roof, are used to store energy that is regenerated during braking. This is then also made available to the drive system. With the power from the energy accumulators, the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is capable of driving several kilometres on battery power alone. Thanks to this hybridisation and to improvements made to the fuel cell components, the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid uses some 50 percent less hydrogen than the previous generation did and has a range of more than 350 km.
PostBus Switzerland operates some 2100 buses, of which around a third bear the three-pointed star. 500 of these are Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses, representing virtually all variants. Since 2011, Mercedes-Benz has already supplied 14 Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid buses from the current model generation to customers. Apart from in Switzerland, these are to be found in the German cities of Hamburg and Karlsruhe and in the Italian city of Milan. A further nine Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid buses will be delivered this year to Bolzano, in northern Italy, and Stuttgart, in Germany.
Citaro, CapaCity, Conecto, chassis – broad range sporting the star
As one of the world's leading manufacturers of buses, Daimler Buses is active on all continents, with the right vehicle for regular-service operations in each and every market. The core of the business is represented by the low-floor regular-service bus Citaro, the most successful urban bus in the world, of which nearly 40,000 units have been sold. The large-capacity four-axle CapaCity is derived from this. The Conecto is also closely related to the Citaro and fits the bill perfectly as a functional and economical low-floor bus in the economy segment. These models are complemented by an extensive range of minibuses on the basis of the best-selling Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
To cater for the global market for bus chassis, Mercedes-Benz offers numerous variants with either rear- or front-mounted engines, and as either rigid or articulated versions. For example the OC 500 LE built in Spain, a low-entry chassis that is already available in a Euro VI-compliant version. The completion of the buses is undertaken by reputable regional and local bodybuilders, and they work in close cooperation with Mercedes-Benz.
A glance at a map of the world makes clear the scope of this global approach: Mercedes-Benz builds the Citaro in Mannheim and Neu-Ulm, as well as in Ligny/France. Minibuses are manufactured in Dortmund, the Conecto in Istanbul-Hosdere in Turkey, and regular-service bus chassis in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, South Africa and Indonesia.
Global success with market-specific regular-service urban buses
The broad range of market-specific products is a key factor in the Mercedes-Benz recipe for success. Just a few recent orders from Europe will serve as examples here: the first nine new Citaro with Euro VI in Switzerland were taken into operation a month ago by BLT Baselland Transport AG. The Hungarian capital, Budapest, recently saw the arrival of the first of 159 Mercedes-Benz Citaro latest-generation models with Euro V, while 60 articulated Conecto buses will shortly be taking up operation in the Polish capital, Warsaw.
It's also worth taking a look at other continents: in Singapore, for example, the Mercedes-Benz Citaro will soon be very much an established part of the street scene. A major order for 450 Citaro is currently in the process of being fulfilled. Singapore had previously already ordered 300 Citaro.
In Brazil – host country for the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games – Mercedes-Benz holds a market share among urban buses of around 70 percent. In 2012 the company delivered more than 520 urban buses to the major cities of Fortaleza and Riberao Preto. Rio de Janeiro will be taking delivery of 91 articulated buses bearing the three-pointed star for its BRT system TransOeste, which was inaugurated last June. In March 2014 Mercedes-Benz will be supplying 2600 buses based on the robust front-engine chassis OF 1519 R for the Brazilian school bus fleet. The Turkish metropolis of Istanbul took delivery last year of 221 Mercedes-Benz Conecto articulated buses.
BRT systems continue on successful course
Mercedes-Benz also continues to be very successful in its work in connection with the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) systems that are so popular in South America, above all. In the context of this type of transport system, the market share of the urban bus segment which is held by Mercedes-Benz in Brazil reaches the impressive figure of almost 70 percent. The vast majority of the venues for the football World Cup and the Olympic Games in Brazil will be relying on BRT systems – and Mercedes-Benz will be there to help. A vehicle that particularly lends itself for use in such circumstances is, for example, the Superarticulado (CapaChassis), an articulated bus chassis with four axles for buses up to 23 metres in length.
In the Colombian capital of Bogotá, buses operate at one-minute intervals during peak periods to carry up to 1.8 million passengers each day – and of the city's 1700 buses, 650 are Mercedes-Benz vehicles. In Istanbul, 250 Mercedes-Benz CapaCity as well as numerous Conecto operate on a very well used express bus service. They carry 700,000 passengers a day at 45-second intervals – driving almost nose to tail during the rush hour. With 140,000 passengers a day and a service frequency of one bus every two minutes, Mexico City's bus route 3 seems almost quiet by comparison. In Nantes, in France, a series of very well appointed articulated Citaro buses operate a three-minute service that transports 13,000 passengers per day. In Santiago de Chile, on the other hand, the buses carry up to 22,000 passengers an hour on each route – more than 1000 of the buses there sport the Mercedes-Benz star.
Team of international experts to advise transport operators
But Mercedes-Benz's commitment to BRT systems goes far beyond simply supplying the most suitable vehicles. A team of international experts is available to advise transport operators around the world on how to introduce and develop a BRT system.
Advice from Mercedes-Benz will also be on offer during the UITP Congress in Geneva. Mercedes-Benz will be providing information to the around 10,000 visitors through a series of presentations by experts. As part of the Expo Forums, the brand will be talking about its work with Euro VI. On the exhibition stand, too, the Euro VI emissions standard will be one of the key themes, along with the advice and research services available from Mercedes-Benz in relation to BRT systems and alternative drive systems. Mercedes-Benz will be tracing the path that leads from the diesel bus through hybrid buses to the all-electric fuel-cell-powered bus.
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