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English   15 years ago: Buses under a new umbrella: the EvoBus era begins
12.10.2010 von admin

No matter which Travego the driver steers, the cockpit of the new touring coach is perfectly tailored to him. Ergonomically ideal, the entirely new workplace for the driver has been made semicircular; all controls are within easy reach; the steering wheel is unusually compact in diameter. In the middle of his instrument panel the driver no longer looks at a collection of dials, but at an oval display with a large rev counter and speedometer; in between them is a display on which further indicators can be freely programmed and where warning indicators are shown if required.

Shifting by joystick

Instead of the endlessly long shift lever next to the driver’s seat, which drivers had been used to for decades, a short joystick as shift lever knob now grew out of the right side of the semicircular instrument panel. There’d never been one in a bus before. With the joystick the transmission could be operated by a tap of the hand. Richard Averbeck, Travego project manager and future General Manager Engineering at EvoBus: “We wanted to get away from the big sticks with their long shift travel and high shift forces. Changing gears like in a car was our objective.” And it was achieved. To top it all off, the driver’s area was pleasantly spacious and had many places to put things. The tour guide’s seat was even electrically adjustable.

The driver can call up all key information on a central display on the instrument panel.

“The coach must look attractive from the outside. Inside it must exude coziness,” said Travego designer Wolfgang Papke. And so the passenger compartment of the Travego also shone in new splendor. Compared with the predecessor: lower window sills, 2.10 meters headroom, full utilization of the width of 2.55 meters and thus 75 millimeters more interior width than in the O 404 – the Travego made a tremendously airy and spacious impression, unmatched by any other touring coach. Newly designed seats featuring one-button operation, folding tables with integral fold-out cup holder, larger luggage racks, almost sculpted service units over each double seat – the passengers of a Mercedes-Benz Travego noticed from the many details that they were taking a seat in a special touring coach. A part of the story are the three design and equipment lines Function, Fashion and Flair, which can be told apart by different decorative designs, fabrics and details such as inserts in the grab handles of the seats. Though the Travego made do without the extremely complex heating system of its predecessor, passengers still could enjoy cozy warmth, the product of a hot water heater with it convectors, enhanced by so-called axial fans as an optional extra. Given the high standard of the Travego, air conditioning was included anyway.

The control of the complete equipment from drivetrain to air conditioner was handled by FPS, the flexibly programmable control system. Five electronic control circuits took the place of several kilometers of cable and various trouble-prone plug connections. This technology had its premiere in a bus two years earlier in the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro urban regular-service.

The driver felt all warm inside not only because of the separate temperature control for his workplace, but also because of the engines. The days of the V-engines in touring coaches were almost over; the designers now banked again on in-line six cylinders. Depending on the model they are installed either horizontally or vertically. The twelve liter in-line six cylinder engine OM 457 with fully electronic control system, four-valve-per-cylinder technology and pump-line-nozzle injection developed 260 kW (354 hp), 300 kW (408 hp) or 310 kW (422 hp). If the buyer set store by more power or the special flair of a V8, he could purchase the Travego with the OM 502 LA. This engine was good for 300 kW (408 hp), 320 kW (435 hp) or even 350 kW (476 hp). For transmissions, there was a choice of Mercedes-Benz six-speed manual transmissions with control cables and pneumatic assistance or, coming a little later, the ZF AS-Tronic automated manual transmission.

The running gear reliably transferred the power of the engines to the road. The rear axle was an in-house product, first the cast-iron HO8 axle, later the lighter HO6 formed axle made of sheet steel. Up front, instead of an in-house design a ZF axle with twin control arms was used. Its big advantage: the inner turning angle was 58 degrees, which guaranteed an optimally small turning circle. The three-axle coaches had either a self-steer trailing axle or a third actively steered axle, which ensured extreme maneuverability, for example, for reversing.

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