Three fuel-cell-powered Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses were handed over to a high-ranking delegation from China at the DaimlerChrysler AG bus and coach plant in Mannheim July 12.
The initial aim of this fuel cell project in China, which will run until October 2007, is to examine the day-to-day practicality of fuel cell technology on the roads of China and gauge the acceptance level for the new technology by the inhabitants of Beijing.
Other objectives are to gain experience with fuel-cell drive technology and in producing and handling hydrogen in the transport sector.
The buses will arrive in China in mid-September.
From the end of this year, as part of a fuel cell project which has been specifically conceived for the Chinese market, the fuel-cell-powered Citaro buses will enter regular service on a 19 km long route in Beijing.
In addition to DaimlerChrysler AG as the vehicle manufacturer, this project is under the aegis of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). The other project partners are the Beijing Public Transport Corporation (BPTC), which is one of the world’s largest public transport authorities with 17,000 buses and will operate the three new fuel cell Citaro buses, the oil company BP as the hydrogen supplier, Sinohytec as the hydrogen producer and Tsinghua University in Beijing, which is responsible for scientific monitoring of the project and the evaluation of results.
Forty percent of the vehicle costs are being borne by the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) as a further project partner. Air pollution is already a major problem in densely populated areas of China: owing to current levels of smog, there are tentative plans to ban road traffic at least in part in certain large conurbations and inner city areas during the summer months.