Elio Catania, president of ATM – the company providing for public transportation in Milan – and Roman Biondi, president of EvoBus – the company responsible for distribution of Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses within the DaimlerChrysler Group – presented to the press the first hydrogen-powered bus in Milan. The presentation and demonstration tour in the city was also attended by the director of H2IT Marieke Reijalt and the secretary general of FAST Alberto Pieri.

Within this project ATM and the Lombardy Region have committed to supply the city of Milan with a fleet of 3 hydrogen buses starting from 2011. “ATM between 2008 and 2011 is going to invest 640 million in new trains, buses and trams: a huge effort of renewal to maintain the average life of our vehicles among the lowest in Italy” – said Elio Catania – “In the last two years we have invested 506 million euros in total”.

The bus presented today is a Citaro FuelCell Hybrid produced by Mercedes-Benz. Thanks to the hybrid traction and its sophisticated management system, the consumption of hydrogen in the Citaro FuelCell Hybrid is set to decrease substantially compared to previous fuel cell buses. The fuel cell generates electricity which is stored in the battery system. This, in turn, supplies power to the traction motors and the other vehicle components. During braking or no-load operation, the traction motors recuperate energy which is also fed into the battery system.

The fuel cells used in this bus offer a power generation efficiency of 51-58% compared to 38-43% of the previous generation. Thanks to this, it was possible to reduce from 9 to 7 the number of hydrogen tanks, now capable of storing 35 kg of hydrogen at 350 bar – enough to ensure a range of 250 km. The heat generated by the reaction is used by the heating system of the vehicle. The two fuel cell stacks generate 120 kW of power. The fuel cells are supported by lithium-ion batteries with a weight of 330 kg and an output of 250 kW.

“It has been many years for Mercedes-Benz investing in fuel cell technologies” – said President of EvoBus Roman Biondi – “The first project started in 2002 with 40 vehicles operating in 12 cities worldwide for more than 2 years. This project has allowed the company to accumulate operating experience, to further develop the components and reduce costs”.