Fuel Cell Buses are Already Blazing the Path Towards the Future.
To safeguard mobility in a way that is sustainable, the Daimler Group has launched the "Shaping Future Transportation" initiative. The guiding principle behind the initiative is the responsible use of resources and the reduction of emissions in all forms, all the while ensuring the highest standards of road safety. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL hybrid therefore represents an important step towards realizing a vision of an emission-free commercial vehicle.
This vehicle concept is unique on a global scale: Two fuel cell systems using Mercedes B-Class F-Cell technology act as the power source, combined with a serial hybrid drive system. A combustion engine is thus rendered unnecessary. A high-performance, water-cooled lithium-ion battery provides temporary storage of the electrical energy Using a high-voltage intermediate circuit with 650 volts, the battery not only provides the two electrical liquid-cooled wheel hub motors on the drive axle with a total of 160 kW of power, but it also feeds the vehicle's auxiliary equipment. It is thus possible to recuperate energy from braking the vehicle and to then store that energy in the battery. The only "exhaust gas" is the water vapor that is created in the fuel cell.
EMISSION-FREE THROUGH THE CITY
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL hybrid is thus a true zero-emission vehicle (ZEV). With it you can travel particularly on environmentally-sensitive routes, such as pedestrian or environmental zones in inner-city areas, without generating emissions.
The innovative drive technology of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL hybrid will in the future contribute to quality improvements in the air and environments of our cities. Because the fuel cell as an energy converter achieves a higher level of efficiency than an internal combustion engine to begin with, and since additional braking energy is recovered through recuperation, the energy-based performance of the city bus in operation delivers exceptionally positive results. So, the consumption of resources is much lower. What's more, the fuel cell systems have smaller dimensions than their predecessor and a service life of 12,000 hours or 6 years - three times longer than that of their predecessor, the Mercedes-Benz Citaro BZ (O 530 BZ ).
HAMBURG, BOLZANO, STUTTGART, MILAN
There are currently 23 Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL hybrid buses in operation in 6 cities around Europe. Of those buses, 5 operated by PostBus Switzerland in the Aargau canton in the Alps have driven the highest number of kilometers so far. In second place are the 4 buses operated by the Hamburger Hochbahn. In third are the 5 buses of società autobus servizi d’area (SASA) in Bolzano, Italy. Another 3 buses are in operation in Milan, 4 buses are run in Stuttgart by Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) and two buses are used by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
The European Union has expressed its support for the further development of fuel cell buses, in part through the CHIC (Clean Hydrogen in European Cities) Project, which includes demonstration fleets in Hamburg (DE), Aargau (CH), Milan (IT) and Bolzano (IT).
QUIET AND COMFORTABLE DRIVING
Overall these buses have driven a total of 1.5 million kilometers without generating emissions. Traveling passengers value the minimal noise level and the smooth, comfortable driving characteristics. Since buses, as means of mass transit, are already an environmentally friendly transport method producing the lowest emission levels measured against kilometers per person, then these fuel cell buses can be seen as the next step towards completely emission-free transport.
Operators value the high availability of the buses even in the most diverse range of application scenarios and, above all else, the short "refueling" times of just a few minutes.
A BLUEPRINT FOR OTHER VEHICLE TYPES
Hydrogen has the great advantage that it can be produced decentrally from various sources. As part of the move away from nuclear and fossil-fuel energy, the storage of surplus energy from wind and photo-voltaic sources plays an important role in the efficient use of regenerative energy. Using electricity from a photo-voltaic source, hydrogen can be generated while the fuel cell buses are on the road during the day and in the evening they can be refueled. In the same way, wind-generated electricity can be produced during periods where winds are strong and then stored on an intermediate basis for several days or weeks.
Studies are currently being conducted with the aim of making the advantages of fuel cell systems (pollutant-free, in combination with low noise levels and, above all, a range and short refueling times) available also for commercial vehicles operating in urban centers.