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Saturday, May 03, 2008
Daimler Fuel Cell Bus
Image: courtesy Daimler AG (www.daimler.com)

Two Million Kilometres - 7 Million Passengers

The picture is of a Mercedes Benz Citaro Fuel Cell Bus undergoing trials in Beijing, China as part of Beijing's Summer Olympics preparation. Daimler AG announced this week that their worldwide zero emissions hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Project (HyFleet:CUTE), which started in 2003 and currently comprises 36 hydrogen buses, had reached a combined total of 2 million kilometres travelled and 7 million passengers carried.

CUTE stands for Clean Urban Transport For Europe, and through this initiative Daimler's Mercedes-Benz is creating the knowledge and infrastructure for the operation of zero emissions hydrogen fuel cell buses throughout Europe. Daimler Engineers are currently designing the second-generation fuel cell bus as part of this European initiative.

30 Citaro Fuel Cell buses were assigned to European city centres and 3 each were operated in Beijing, China and Perth, Australia. European cities that have been operating the fuel cell buses are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, and Madrid, and there have also been trials in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Daimler's second-generation fuel cell bus will incorporate lithium ion batteries for energy storage making it a hydrogen electric hybrid bus. The batteries will give better peak acceleration to the bus and also a means to capture energy from regenerative braking. The other design requirement is weight reduction, and Daimler's engineers have replaced mechanical driven systems like power steering, air conditioning and the air compressor with electrically driven systems giving a total weight reduction of 200 kgs (aprox 440 lbs) over the first generation bus.

Daimler expects the second generation fuel cell bus to be completed by mid 2009, at which time it will start a thorough set of commercial field trials within Europe. The expectation is that the second-generation fuel cell bus will be commercially available for sale throughout the world.

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