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German Transport Ministry Includes Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Series Hybrid City Bus in Its Electric Mobility Development Program

The German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVBS) will provide funding for Daimler Buses to develop, evaluate, and test the first small fleet of Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid articulated buses (earlier post). The Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid is a series diesel-hybrid city bus able to run solely on electric power.

The Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid features four wheel-hub motors on the center and rear axles of the bus. These motors develop a maximum output of 80 kW each and are liquid-cooled. A roof-mounted Li-ion battery system has an output of 180 kW and a weight of less than 350 kg, including cooling. The batteries are charged not only by the diesel generator but also by fuel-saving energy recuperation from braking.

Instead of the large 12-liter six-in-line OM 457 hLA engine normally used in the articulated Citaro model, the hybrid bus is fitted with a compact OM 924 LA unit which develops maximum power of 160 kW (218 hp) from a displacement of 4.8 litres. This reduces the weight of the engine from approximately 1000 kg to around just 450 kg.

The Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid thus reduces diesel consumption by 20 to 30% compared to the conventional articulated Citaro and cuts CO2 emissions by the same amount. The new hybrid bus was extensively tested during the past several months, including weeks of successful trials at the Arctic Circle under the harshest conditions imaginable.

The BMVBS has designated eight model regions in which pilot projects will be conducted for the Electric Mobility Model Regions development program. The eight regions were selected following a call for expression of interest, which resulted in submissions of 130 applications for pilot projects. The BMVBS development program endowed with €115 million (US$165 million) from Germany’s Economic Stimulus Program II provides targeted funding for testing and accelerated market preparation of electric drive vehicles until 2011. The sponsored projects must be launched by late 2010.

The Electric Mobility development program will help Daimler to enhance and test the Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrids, enabling the company to continuously optimize the vehicle’s costs, ease of maintenance, and the state of the innovative drive technology’s development. The drive system of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid can run for several kilometers solely on electric power.

Next year Daimler Buses will test about 30 Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid buses in everyday operation in presumably model regions. The hybrid buses will demonstrate their suitability for everyday use by operating in regions with different topographies and speed profiles.


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