STUTTGART, Germany - Daimler-Benz AG has built the first bus powered by a fuel cell. The test vehicle runs on hydrogen and has zero emissions.
'The most promising of all alternative propulsion concepts is the fuel cell,' said Klaus-Dieter Voehringer, Daimler-Benz management board member responsible for research and technology.
The NEBUS - which stands for New Electric Bus or No Emissions Bus - is based on Mercedes' O405N bus.
The fuel cell unit is mounted in place of the engine, transmission and exhaust in the rear third of the body under the elevated floor. Seven 150-liter, reinforced aluminum cylinders hold enough hydrogen to give the bus a range of 155 miles. They are placed on the roof.
Two electric motors are attached to the front wheels.
Top speed is 50 mph.
The motors act as generators when the bus brakes.
Mercedes chose an urban bus because there is no infrastructure for fueling private cars or trucks with hydrogen. Buses can be refueled overnight in their garages.
Cars, trucks and long-distance buses can be built with hydrogen generators fueled by methanol.
Another zero-emissions prototype, NECAR 3 - based on the Mercedes A class - will be presented at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
Daimler-Benz owns 25 percent of Ballard Power Systems, a fuel-cell manufacturer in Burnaby, British Columbia.