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English   Alternative drive systems in Buses of Daimler AG – Part I
23.12.2008 von admin

The aim of this small-scale trial operation with dual-mode buses was to compare battery and diesel drive as supplements to trolley wire network operation. The final report of the Esslingen local public transport authority came to a sobering conclusion in 1993: “The approach to use purely electric vehicles, favored for reasons of environmental protection and the possibility of entirely substituting for petroleum as primary energy source, has proven unsuitable in practice. The two network/battery vehicles did not live up to expectations either from an economic or a technical viewpoint.”

“The traction battery proved to be the main weak point,” the report continued: “The end of its useful life was already reached after 15 months of operation. Considering the high investment costs in the network/battery buses (90% higher than the cost of comparable diesel buses) and maintenance expenses which are 1.5 times higher than for diesel buses, we cannot recommend either continuing the operation of the two existing vehicles or following up any further on the vehicle concept.”

Milestones O 305 GTD and O 405 GTD: The long road to large-scale production

Further development work therefore concentrated on the combination of overhead cable and diesel drive. Instead of solo buses, without exception articulated buses now were used because the additional cost of the electric drive was almost equal, but could be distributed over a larger number of passengers. However, in the case of the very first articulated bus put into service in 1979 the electric drive proved too weak with its 80 kilowatts continuous output and 180 kilowatts peak output: to simplify matters the same Bosch motor had been used that powered the solo buses.

For this reason the new dual-powered articulated buses of model O 305 GTD were equipped with a more powerful unit from AEG. This time the continuous output of the electric motor was 180 kilowatts, and the diesel engine developed 280 hp. Nevertheless, the electric drive system, 445 millimeters high and featuring controls with sophisticated chopper technology and gate-controlled switches, easily fit under the level bus floor so that – owing to the low weight as well – there was no need to sacrifice passenger capacity. Two prototypes saw service from 1982 in Esslingen, one in Essen, while another bus remained at the testing facility in Rastatt as a reference vehicle. The company also tested the O 305 GG double articulated trolleybus on an O-Bahn test track there.

Mercedes-Benz O-Bahn large capacity bus O 305 GG, suitable for automatic track guidance, e.g. on narrow city centre routes, 1981.

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