Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT set to make public debut

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The new Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT, which makes its public debut at Busworld
The new Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT, which makes its public debut at Busworld

Natural gas-fuelled Citaro headlining for Daimler at Busworld in Kortrijk

GERMANY With the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT, which makes its public debut at Busworld, Kortrijk, Daimler says it’s offering a virtually CO2 neutral alternative to the diesel-powered Citaro. It says urban bus registrations in Western Europe amount to about 10,500 a year on average and that figure remains at a steady level. Buses with natural gas engines presently comprise just under 1,000 units a year, but it’s expected that will increase in the light of the changing political climate when it comes to discussing the environmental burden in population centres or the preservation of resources.

The gas bottles on the roof of the Citaro NGT, available in rigid and Citaro G NGT artic configurations, are made of a composite material with a plastic core, a casing made of carbon fibres and – a new feature – additional glass fibres. It’s a lightweight combination and robust. The bottles are filled from the engine compartment as standard although optionally, the filler neck can be repositioned above the front right wheel arch corresponding to the position of the filler neck of the diesel-powered Citaro.

The capacity of the bottles has increased from 190 to 227litres, reducing the number, but the overall volume remains the same. The result is a noticeable weight saving depending on the number specified. The Citaro NGT can have the same operating range as a diesel-powered Citaro.

Due to the weight savings, the passenger capacity of the Citaro NGT is significantly higher than that of the predecessor – 96 instead of 93. The artic has a capacity of 153 passengers compared to 149 previously.

The Mercedes-Benz M 936 G engine is presently the most compact natural gas engine in its class, says Daimler. Weighing just 747kg including the primary catalytic converter, it is about 230kg or almost 25% lighter than the predecessor making this a textbook example of successful downsizing.

The natural gas engine is based on the turbo diesel OM 936. It has an output of 222kW (302hp) at 2,000 rpm while delivering a peak torque of 1,200Nm consistently from 1,200 to 1,600 rpm. To some extent, it remains well below the Euro VI emission limits. Fuel savings are potentially around 15 to 20% compared to the predecessor model and even more energy savings can be expected in conjunction with the optional energy recovery module.

Daimler says the premium Mercedes-Benz Travego is the yardstick for top technology in touring coaches. The standard-fit AEBS (Advanced Emergency Braking System) already exceeds the future requirements on emergency braking systems going into effect in 2018. The new generation engine rated at 350kW (476hp) lowers fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions and costs considerably. Combined measures on engine and transmission lower fuel consumption by up to 4%.

Introduced in 1999 and since then continuously advanced over several generations, Travego has long since grown into a best-seller among premium high-deck touring coaches, says its builder. For this reason, an exceptional anniversary is coming up at the Busworld, Kortrijk. Daimler celebrates the 10,000th Travego, which will be handed over to a Belgian customer. The anniversary vehicle, a three-axle Travego M, will carry appropriate markings for the occasion.

No current touring coach in Europe is more successful than the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo,” says Daimler. On the market in its second generation since 2006, the 10,000th has already been delivered.

Tourismo has earned a reputation as a vehicle for long-distance regular-service routes and since the liberalisation of long-distance transport in Germany has asserted its position in this sector. It now comprises a large family of vehicles with seven base models and numerous individual equipment options. The model range spans the gamut from functional high-floor tourer to a versatile club coach with two and three axles.

The Busworld coach is also the anniversary vehicle, a 13.99m high-deck Tourismo 17 RHD, the largest model available. It’s painted in an elegant royal blue metallic scheme and markings on the inside and out discreetly point out that it’s the 10,000th Tourismo of the second generation. The driveline comprises an OM 470 engine rated at 315kW (428hp) and the fully automated Mercedes GO 250-8 PowerShift eight-speed transmission.

The Mercedes-Benz Intouro is designed for regular service and occasional excursions and today is one of the best-sellers in its class, says Daimler. A wide range of uses can be met by what are economical two-axle vehicles in three lengths from 12.14 m to 13.32 m powered by an OM 936 engine rated at 220kW (299hp) or 260kW (354hp).

At Busworld will be a France specification 12.6m Mercedes-Benz Intouro M with 55 Travel Star Eco touring coach seats that have adjustable backrests and armrests. This includes two swivelling seats at the two-leaf centre door and two folding seats on the opposite side in the ‘special-use’ area.

The vehicle is powered by the compact Mercedes-Benz OM 936 six-cylinder in-line engine coupled to a fully automated Mercedes GO 250-8 PowerShift eight-speed transmission.

Completing the Kortrijk line up will be a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter City 65 minibus. This vehicle is based on the cowl chassis of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with a wheelbase of 4,325mm and the lowered frame between the axles is a special modification for use in regular-service operations. Gross Vehicle Weight is 5,650kg.

The body structure is based on a system of structural ribs that have undergone cataphoretic dip priming. They’re clad with high-strength exterior panels of glass-fibre reinforced plastic and there are large areas of panoramic glass. The wide, double-leaf passenger door ensures a smooth flow of passengers at the bus stop.

The combination of the Mercedes-Benz OM 651 engine rated at 120kW (163hp) with a customised final drive ratio of the driven rear axle and the seven-speed torque converter automatic transmission ensures powerful acceleration and at the same time an economical driving style.

Passengers and drivers benefit from a chassis specifically tailored to the use as a regular-service bus. That includes a reinforced front axle, reinforced stabiliser bars and a rear axle with air suspension. Included in the specification are Electronic Stability Program Adaptive ESP, ASR acceleration skid control, the start-off assist system AAS and Brake Assist (BA).