Mercedes-Benz was only just celebrating the world premiere of the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid at the UITP Congress when the bus and coach manufacturer was basking in the success of another notable event: on 8 September the 25,000th Citaro was officially handed over to the customer, infra fürth verkehr gmbh, turning the model into the most successful urban bus ever, and with an end to this illustrious career still nowhere in sight.

“The low life cycle costs, its reliability and our continual enhancements ensure the best-selling Citaro goes from strength to strength”, said Michael Göpfarth, Executive Managing Director of the Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit of EvoBus GmbH, during the hand-over of the 25,000th Citaro to Klaus Dieregsweiler, Operations Manager at infra fürth verkehr gmbh. “The modular principle enables our Development department to put the Citaro through a continual facelift without having to modify the basic concept. And that’s the secret of the Citaro’s success”, Göpfarth adds.

As a technology and innovation leader, Daimler Buses has always set the standard in terms of safety, economy, reliability, comfort and design, offering its customers first-class, customised products. “For this reason, it goes without saying that we also want to be the best when it comes to service and supplying spare parts by offering a high-quality service concept that is tailor-made to bus and coach operations. This makes us a reliable partner even after the customer’s purchased the vehicle”, explains Holger Suffel, Executive Managing Director Sales at EvoBus GmbH.

Future-proof solution
In fact, the Citaro has always been a shining example of the future of public transport services since its series-production launch in 1997/1998. Whether it is in terms of design, passenger comfort or drive technology. The Citaro demon­strates that an innovative vehicle concept can indeed be compatible with eco­nomy and production maturity. From day one, the regular-service bus has set new standards in respect of environmentally friendly drive technologies – a flair for innovation that continues to this day. Thanks to BlueTec diesel technology based on the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) process, the Citaro met the Euro 5 emissions standard in 2006, three years ahead of its statutory implementation. Only shortly afterwards it was one of the first series-produced regular-service buses whose engine complied with the EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle) standard. With the premiere of the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid, the urban-bus concept once again impressively demonstrated its commitment to the en­vi­ron­­ment in 2007: the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid is a technologically sophisti­cated serial hybrid drive system that features electric wheel-hub motors. Thanks to this technology, sections of the route can be covered in emission-free operation using battery mode only. The Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid currently on show is also paving the way to emission-free local public transport services. This “logical step” from the BlueTec Hybrid to the FuelCELL Hybrid generates zero emissions and is virtually silent. Hydrogen is used to power its fuel cells.

User-oriented model range
Today the name Citaro is synonymous with a model series that can cater for the full range of local public transport requirements. From the original two members, the urban-bus family has been continually extended to the current twelve basic models: low-floor non-articulated bus in two and three-axle versions measuring between 10.5 m and 15 m in length, low-floor articulated bus and low-floor rural-service bus, the Low Entry Citaro LE and the high-capacity Mercedes-Benz CapaCity bus based on the Citaro provide the perfect solution for inner-city and suburban regular-service bus operations. The Citaro has long since been operating successfully in Europe’s major cities, providing sterling service in 40 countries around the globe, with buses in operation as far afield as Australia, Japan, China and Mexico.

Milestone bus to operate on Franconia’s roads
The Citaro LÜ sports a brilliant silver livery with contrasting black. The Metro Design package adds a distinctive touch to the roof transition, a styling option that makes the 15-metre-long Citaro even more contemporary and urban. The roof attachments, such as the air conditioning system, are effectively concealed from the onlooker’s gaze as they ‘disappear’ behind the styling features. The vehicle fitted with reversing cameras will in future be in service in Fürth, Franconia. The infra fürth verkehr gmbh fleet includes 46 vehicles, with the Citaro accounting for no less than 40 of them. Klaus Dieregsweiler, Operations Manager at infra fürth verkehr gmbh: “In 1999 we acquired our first Citaro, since then we’ve remained loyal to this model. It delivers everything you’d expect from a state-of-the-art urban-bus concept: economy, a wide-ranging equipment and model line-up as well as consummate reliability.”

Source: Daimler AG