|Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro|
Citaro LE in Groningen, Netherlands
|Body and chassis|
|Doors||2-, 3- or 4-door (Articulated buses)
1-, 2- or 3-door (Single decker bus)
|Floor type||Low floor|
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro (or O530) is the current Mercedes-Benz/EvoBus mainstream single-decker bus intended for public transport, introduced in 1997 and replaced the Mercedes-Benz O405/O405N series. Manufactured in Mannheim (Germany), Ligny-en-Barrois (France) and Sámano (Spain), it features a low floor for easy access.
The standard urban model is available in a number of versions:
- standard 12m twin-axle
- 10.5m twin-axle (Citaro K)
- 15m tri-axle (Citaro L)
- 18m tri-axle articulated (Citaro G)
- 20m four-axle articulated (Citaro GL "CapaCity")
- 12m twin-axle "low entry" (Citaro LE)
A series of suburban/interurban versions is also produced, with all seats fitted on platforms:
- 12m twin-axle (Citaro Ü)
- 13m twin-axle (Citaro MÜ)
- 15m tri-axle (Citaro LÜ)
- 18m articulated (Citaro GÜ)
- 12m twin-axle "low entry" (Citaro LE Ü)
- 13m twin-axle "low entry" (Citaro LE MÜ)
Operators are able to choose between two different front stylings: the standard design features an angled destination display and is primarily marketed for urban buses, while a version with a one-piece windscreen covering the destination display also is available and is primarily intended for interurban use. However, all models are available with either version.
Other customizations include the number and type of doors as well as the internal layout. Two types of seats are offered as part of the standard range, again with a basic model for urban use and an enhanced version for longer-distance routes, although both also are available on all models.
Aside from the usual diesel engines, the Citaro is also available with a powerful Euro IV natural gas engine (model M 447 hLAG) rated at 185 kW (252 PS) or 240 kW (326 PS) - the latter rating used mainly for interurban and articulated buses or standard-length city buses operating in areas with a hilly topography. These engines are also optionally available with Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle (EEV) certification, meaning that their emission levels are lower than even the most stringent European Union emissions standards.
In 2005, Mercedes-Benz/EvoBus launched a new version of the Citaro to coincide with the introduction of Euro IV-, Euro V- and EEV-compliant engines. Apart from minor technical alternations, mainly to accommodate the new generation of engines, the external design received a facelift to give the buses a less angular look, with internal panelling altered accordingly. Production of the old model ceased by autumn 2006. The Citaro LE and Citaro LE Ü models, which were introduced at the same time, were never produced to the old design.
As a one-off, German operators üstra of Hanover and LVB of Leipzig took delivery of a batch of Citaros bodied to a special design by James Irvine for the 2000 World Exposition. Leipzig's vehicles were lent to Hanover for the duration of the exhibition, but subsequently returned to normal service in their home city. All other Citaros bodied by Mercedes-Benz were to standard designs, however a number of chassis were bodied by independent manufacturers, most notably Hess of Switzerland. However, the Citaro has more recently only been sold as a complete product.
In 2007 the workshops of the Szeged (Hungary) bus operator SZKT converted a regular Citaro to a trolleybus. As of April 2010 5 such buses are already serving as a trolley and more examples are in preparation in the near future.
In 2010, the french city Rennes ordered a longer version of the Citaro, the Citaro M, which is 13 meters long with an urban arrangement. 15 vehicles were built over the chassis of the Setra S416NF.
Hydrogen fuel cell version
Even though the usual Citaro models are powered by diesel or natural gas, there is also a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version, designated Citaro BZ or O530BZ. About 35 of these buses have been in service in a variety of different world cities in order to test the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cells in different operating circumstances and different conditions, especially weather conditions.
Hybrid electric version
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid is a series-hybrid articulated bus with a compact 450 kg, 4-cylinder, 4.8-litre, 160 kW, Euro 4 OM-924LA diesel engine providing power for a roof-mounted 19.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and four 80 kW electric wheel hub motors located on the centre and rear axles. (Contrast a conventional bus diesel engine: 6-cylinder, 12-litre, 1,000 kg.) The battery pack is also charged by regenerative braking (recuperation). The manufacturer anticipates fuel consumption 20% to 30% lower than conventional diesel Citaros. Field trials with a public transport operator are planned for 2009.   
When Transport for London bought articulated Citaros in 2003 and 2004, four buses caught fire, although there were no casualties involved. In fact, one was burnt on its delivery journey, for unexplained reasons. Mercedes-Benz did, however, address the problem, though the buses were withdrawn for some time that saw the brief return of the just-retired Routemasters. Unfortunately, these buses were said to have marred the reputation of articulated buses in the United Kingdom, and some Londoners nicknamed them "Chariots of Fire".
All bendybuses have now been withdrawn, and some are now in service with Arriva Malta. However some rigid 12m examples still exist for London General's "Red Arrow" routes 507 and 521. There also some in use with other operators on suburban routes. The same articulated buses that have been shipped to Malta have been withdrawn following 3 similar fires in as many days.
Latin American Citaros
In Latin America, Citaros are not present in large quantities in public transport systems. Only Mexico has 14 Spanish-built Citaros for the BRT Internal System of UNAM.
It is rumored that several public transport enterprises have plans to acquire Citaros in Mexico.
Citaro (right hand drive version) in Oxford, United Kingdom
Citaro G (face-lifted right hand drive version) in Atsugi, Japan
Citaro G (face-lifted right hand drive version) in Chiba, Japan
Citaro Ü in Tübingen, Germany
Citaro G in Strasbourg, France
Citaro G CNG in Tübingen, Germany
Citaro in Saint-Louis, Haut-Rhin, France
Irvine-designed Citaro G in Hanover, Germany
A rear view of an early Citaro owned by First Greater Manchester, showing the slightly different engine grille on the first Citaros.
A Mercedes-Benz Citaro G articulated bus (face-lifted styling) in Thessaloniki, Greece
Citaro L (face-lifted styling) in Ingolstadt, Germany
- YouTube: Mercedes-Benz Citaro trolley in Szeged. Retrieved on 31 October 2007.
- "Mercedes-Benz Citaro G Bluetec Hybrid Bus Given 2008 DEKRA Environmental Award". Green Car Congress. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- Michael Graham Richard (2008-01-31). "Citaro Hybrid Bus Wins 2008 DEKRA Environmental Award". Treehugger. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- "The 2008 DEKRA environmental award - The Citaro G Blue Tec Hybrid bus". Mercedes-Benz - Omnibus News. 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- London Evening Standard: New bendy bus blaze scare. 2 October 2007; retrieved on 2013-08-14.
- London bendybuses off road in Malta after third catches fire in 3 days. 28 August 2013
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mercedes-Benz Citaro.|
- Mercedes-Benz/EvoBus Citaro page
- Mercedes-Benz/EvoBus Citaro G page
- Paumgarten, Nick (2008-05-26). "Ich Bin Ein M4". New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-05-24.