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The Mercedes-Benz Citaro breaks all the records
- 20,000 regular-service buses in just ten years
- Bus number 20,000 will be operated by travel company Pflieger Reise- und Verkehrs GmbH in Böblingen
- Bus concept compatible with future drive technologies
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro has attained a new manufacturing milestone with the production of the 20,000th model. Michael Göpfarth, Head of the Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach Unit of EvoBus GmbH, handed over the landmark vehicle to Hermann Pflieger, the owner of Pflieger Reise- und Verkehrs GmbH in Böblingen. This company operates two dozen routes within the Stadtverkehr Böblingen-Sindelfingen (SBS) [Böblingen-Sindelfingen urban transport] network, itself part of the Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund Stuttgart (VVS) [Stuttgart transit and tariff association], and employs more than 120 staff. With a fleet of some 90 buses and coaches, including many Mercedes-Benz Citaro models, the 82-year-old company operates regular-service routes and is also active in the touring and excursion sectors.
Flexible, customer-oriented product range
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro goes from strength to strength. Its impressive total production volume of 20,000 units in just ten years is unique among regular-service buses and almost 3200 units were sold in the record year 2007 alone. Since production began in 1997/1998, the urban bus family has been extended steadily from two to the current twelve basic models. Continuously updated and available in the form of a new-generation model for the last two years, the highly advanced Citaro still sets the standard - as it did at the time of its initial launch - with its outstanding levels of safety, comfort and environmental compatibility. From the driver's area to the engine, the Citaro points the way with its design, comfort and technology. Drive systems with BlueTec diesel technology based on the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) principle reduce the environmental impact by ensuring compliance with the Euro 4 and the future Euro 5 emissions standards as well as the EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle) requirements. Thanks to the low exhaust and noise emissions as well as the reduced environmental impact of the manufacturing process, the natural-gas-drive Citaro and the diesel-powered Citaro were awarded the "Blue Angel" ecolabel in 2003 and 2007 respectively.
The success of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro has made it the benchmark for the current line-up of competitor products. This is partly due to the market-oriented vehicle range which has been continuously optimised in line with customer requirements. The modular structure of the Citaro provides scope for a high degree of flexibility in the manufacturing process. As well as making it possible to use different drive systems, this forms the basis for numerous special and modified versions. The Capa-City high-capacity bus, for example, is an innovative solution which has been developed to meet the transport challenges facing fast-growing cities.
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro is unmatched for the diversity of its model range: its two and three-axle low-floor solo buses from 10.5 to 15 metres in length, low-floor articulated buses, low-floor rural-service buses, the low-entry Citaro LE and the Citaro-derived Mercedes-Benz Capa-City high-capacity bus provide a host of answers to the requirements of regular-service operators in the urban and urban-fringe segment. The Citaro has been operating very successfully in most major European cities for a long time now. Present in a total of 39 countries, it can be found as far afield as Australia, Japan, China and Mexico.
Bus concept compatible with future drive technologies
The design concept of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro is also compatible with future drive technologies. As a result, the Citaro was used as the basis for the world's largest field test of fuel-cell technology. From 2003 to 2006, 30 fuel-cell buses based on the Citaro were operated under greatly varying conditions by transport authorities all over Europe. Perth in Australia and the Chinese capital Beijing each hosted another three test vehicles. The entire test fleet has now covered a total of more than two million kilometres and clocked up some 125,000 operating hours.
Hybrid-drive technology represents an intermediate stage on the way to the adoption of the fuel-cell drive in series production. Last year saw the premiere of the hybrid bus. The Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid went on to receive the DEKRA environmental award at the beginning of this year in recognition of the innovative and lasting contribution it makes to the quality of life of city dwellers. The hybrid bus is currently undergoing testing ahead of its market launch in 2009.