|Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL hybrid buses (earlier post) will be entering service next year in the CHIC (Clean Hydrogen in European Cities) project, which got underway in Cologne, Germany on 4 November. The EU-funded project will permit the integration of 26 fuel-cell buses into daily regular services in five European cities. At least three manufacturers—Mercedes-Benz, Van Hool and Wrightbus&sh;will be supplying fuel-cell hybrid vehicles in this project.
The project is based on a gradual introduction of hydrogen-powered fuel-cell buses and aims to set up bus fleets with fuel-cell vehicles and the necessary infrastructure. The vehicles will go into service in Aarau, Bolzano, Milan, London and Oslo.
Experience will also be leveraged from ongoing projects in cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Whistler (Canada) which have already been involved in successful previous CUTE and HyFLEET:CUTE projects run between 2003 and 2009.
The experience garnered in the project is intended to support and guide 14 regions in Europe through the next stage, as they start setting up fuel-cell fleets and the corresponding infrastructure.
Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid made its debut in Hamburg in November 2009. With improved fuel-cell components and hybridization with lithium-ion batteries, the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid consumes almost 50% less hydrogen than the previous generation. The fuel-cell bus has a range of around 250 kilometers (155 miles).
Daimler will use the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid as part of its involvement in a large-scale fleet trial in the CHIC project. The company is following on from the European Union CUTE and HyFLEET:CUTE projects, which were implemented between 2003 and 2009. Overall, 36 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses with a second-generation fuel-cell drive were in operation with twelve transport operators on three continents, clocking more than 140,000 operating hours and more than 2.2 million kilometers.