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 diesel-hybrid city buses able to run solely on electric power. To this end, the ministry (BMVBS) yesterday signed a letter of intent.

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 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, however.

The Electric Mobility development program will help Daimler to enhance and test the Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid articulated bus, 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 is currently the only publicly presented bus concept that can run for several kilometers solely on electric power. Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses: “The bus is thus making an important contribution to achieving electric mobility in Germany. With this initiative we want to further remove the technology leadership in the bus segment.”

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. In March of this year 250 experts from various European mass transit companies had the opportunity to experience the Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid articulated bus in action for the first time. The experts praised the 18-meter-long hybrid city bus for its quiet and smooth operation and its completely emission-free driving for short distances. They also commended the vehicle’s unique concept, which features four wheel-hub motors and the world’s largest lithium-ion battery for automotive use. This battery stores the electrical energy from the diesel generator and that recovered by the braking system.

The Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid thus reduces the already low diesel consumption by 20 to 30 percent 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.

With its Shaping Future Transportation global initiative, Daimler Trucks is setting the standards for the zero-emission commercial vehicle of the future. The Shaping Future Transportation initiative includes using resources sparingly and reducing emissions of every kind while at the same time guaranteeing maximum traffic safety. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid that is now receiving public funding is part of this initiative, as is the Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL hybrid bus presented in June at the World Congress and Mobility & City Transport Exhibition (UITP) in Vienna. About 2,000 hybrid buses of the Daimler bus brand Orion are already in use in North America, making the automaker the world’s leading producer of hybrid technology for commercial vehicles.

Source: Daimler AG