DaimlerChrysler Offers First Commercial Fuel Cell Vehicles
DaimlerChrysler (Frankfurt, Germany) has become the first automaker to offer fuel cell vehicles for sale. The company plans to build 20 to 30 city buses with fuel cell drives during the next three years. The buses will be sold to transport-operating companies in Europe and abroad.
The first vehicles are planed for delivery by the end of 2002. EvoBus GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, will supply the Mercedes-Benz Citaro low-floor city buses with fuel cells at a price of US$1.2 million each. The price includes comprehensive technical consulting and on-the-spot maintenance by EvoBus for a period of two years.
"The first production step demonstrates that fuel cells have reached a stage of technological maturity," said Ferdinand Panik, head of the DaimlerChrysler Fuel Cell Project. "At the same time, we are aware that we have to reduce the cost, volume and weight of the fuel cell systems in order to become competitive with internal combustion engines. We have decided to begin a dialog with our future customers at this early stage so that they can gain experience with this new technology."