Daimler's 36 hydrogen fuel cell buses, including some that were used in the 2006 World Cup in Germany and since then used as public transportation vehicles in Berlin, have now driven more than two million kilometers (about 1.24m miles) in daily driving. 30 buses were in Europe and there were three each in Perth, Australia and Beijing, China. Daimler says that the buses are proof that its fuel cell tech (also available in cars, of course) has "proved its worth in different climatic regions." The buses - which have moved over seven million passengers during 135,000 operating hours since 2003 - operated throughout Europe, from Sweden to Spain. The European buses are known as HyFLEET:CUTE (Hydrogen Fleet Clean Urban Transport for Europe) and are all being monitored so Daimler knows how to make better hydrogen fuel cell systems in the future. More details after the jump.

Press Release:

Fuel cell on-road tests: Buses clock up 2 millionth kilometer

*36 buses clock up a total of more than two million kilometers in daily operations
*Fuel cell technology proves its worth in different climatic regions
*Daimler has a vast wealth of experience

Daimler's fuel cell bus fleet has broken a new record: the 36 buses together have clocked more than two million kilometers transporting around seven million passengers. Once again this zero-emission drive system has proved its high reliability and suitability for everyday use. Every kilometer clocked up also increases the extensive data, which is important for the further development of zero-emission drive systems providing valuable information for the next hybrid-based generation of fuel cell buses.

30 buses from the fuel cell fleet were involved in public short-distance traffic in large European cities, a further 3 were in Perth and Beijing respectively. The fleet has clocked up round about 135,000 operating hours to date with the vehicles proving their worth in the cold wintery northern conditions of Stockholm and Reykjavik, in the summer heat of Spain and in mountainous and flat conditions.

The first buses were operated from 2003 onwards as part of the CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe) project with 31 participating European partners from the world of business, science and politics helping to promote hydrogen technology and production, and the establishment of an appropriate infrastructure. Further buses were then used in Reykjavik and in Perth. In March 2006 all the projects were integrated under the name HyFLEET:CUTE and bus operations were extended. Today nine fuel cell buses still operate regular services in Hamburg.

The principle of fuel cell drive systems is simple and efficient: fuel cells produce energy from a reaction of hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen with an efficiency rate of up to 60%. This makes it about twice as high as with diesel engines. The electricity gained from electrolysis drives a 200 kW electric motor. The buses have a range of 300 kilometers; the top speed is 80 km/h. The fuel cell system and the hydrogen compressed to 350 bar are on the roof. The bus holds 70 passengers. The fuel cell buses are very popular as they run smoothly and quietly with no emissions.

[Source: Mercedes]

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