The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and the Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid were among the prizewinners at ÖkoGlobe 2011, which was held on Tuesday evening at the Centre for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) in Karlsruhe.

The annual ÖkoGlobe awards are presented to the most eco-friendly products and for innovations in the automotive industry, in a total of nine categories. The sponsor that initiated the competition was the ÖkoGlobe Institute of Duisburg-Essen University, headed by Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer.

First place in the category “New mobility concepts” went to the innovative Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. In this concept, buses operate on separate, dedicated lanes, allowing a large number of passengers to be transported quickly and efficiently. BRT offers the benefits of optimum use of the transport area, along with a significant reduction in emissions per passenger km.

Typical areas of operation for BRT are in megacities in emerging countries, such as Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogotá and Pune, but Mercedes-Benz buses produced in Mannheim are also being used successfully in BRT systems in Europe, for example in Istanbul and Nantes. Worldwide, over 15,000 Mercedes-Benz buses are currently used on BRT routes.

“With its commitment to the Bus Rapid Transit system, Daimler offers a sensible alternative to private transport in large cities. A frequent service, more modern buses, and shorter travel times make the system very user-friendly.” These were the reasons the judges gave for their decision.

Andreas Renschler, head of Daimler’s Commercial Vehicles division, commented as follows at the awards ceremony at the ZKM in Karlsruhe: “At Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses, we see the 2011 ÖkoGlobe award as both recognition of our commitment up to now, and as an incentive to continue our pioneering role in developing sustainable, environmentally conscious transport solutions.”

BRT systems consist of one or more main arteries on which large-capacity buses operate at high frequency, and which are serviced by several feeder lines. Lanes that are separated from private transport, together with safe boarding at platform stops, ensure rapid and efficient transportation. Depending on requirements, buses with different capacities can be used in conjunction with the required service frequency. Ticket sales and access controls outside the vehicle keep boarding times to a minimum.

An intelligent, computer-controlled traffic management system, which gives buses priority at traffic lights for example, makes it possible to control traffic in real time, while guaranteeing high transportation speeds.

As with rail systems, more people can travel quickly and comfortably on inner-city routes. BRT systems can be implemented faster and much more cost-efficiently than rail systems, making them much more flexible if they need to be expanded. Further benefits with BRT are that the application can be customised for each city, and the ease with which it can be adapted to local conditions. A primary objective is to integrate it with existing means of transport to create a comprehensive public transport system.

The Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid was also one of the prizewinners at ÖkoGlobe 2011. Europe’s first production series hybrid truck took third place in the category “Production vehicle with sustainability factor”. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the Atego BlueTec Hybrid were reduced by between 10 and 15 percent by systematically integrating the hybrid components, and with the help of an application-specific vehicle operating strategy. Even greater savings are possible depending on the topography and operating conditions.

Noise emissions have also been reduced. In the braking and deceleration modes, the electric motor operates as a generator, storing energy in lithium-ion batteries, which is then available for extreme load situations. The Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid is thus setting new standards in the commercial vehicles industry: over 100 units of the “green truck” have already been sold.

In the long term, the efficiency of hybrid technology in commercial vehicles will determine its long-term success. Thanks to the fuel savings, hybrid technology has moved a good deal closer to achieving overall efficiency for the full service life of the vehicle.

Nevertheless, its introduction into corporate fleets will require a system of incentives, for example from government and local authorities, at least over the first few years.

Source: Daimler AG