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Transperth OC500LE (Volgren) serving as the Blue CAT in Perth, Australia.
|Body and chassis|
|Doors||1 or 2 doors|
|Engine||Mercedes-Benz OM457hLA (diesel)
Mercedes-Benz M447hLAG (CNG)
The Mercedes-Benz OC 500 LE is a modular, heavy-duty, twin-axle bus produced by Mercedes-Benz/EvoBus Ibérica S.A. in Sámano, Spain. It was designed as a platform for low-entry city, suburban, and intercity buses weighing a maximum of 18,000 kg. It has much in common with the chassis used for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro integral bus range. The engine is horizontally mounted over the rear overhang.
- 1 Australia
- 2 Singapore
- 3 United Kingdom
- 4 Variations
- 5 Transmissions
- 6 Body lengths
- 7 Euro 4 and Euro 5
- 8 Competitors
- 9 References
Large numbers of buses built on the OC500LE chassis can be found in Australia, where it is marketed as the O 500LE. Particularly notable are the OC 500 LE/Volgren CNG-fuelled buses that were delivered to the city of Perth in Western Australia for operation on the Transperth suburban bus network between 2003 and 2010. Transperth's OC500LEs have the Volgren CR228L bodywork, featuring McConnell Centra seats. The earlier models were air-conditioned by Coachair SRLT and the later models were air-conditioned by Thermo King Citi-RT. The earlier models ran on CNG (compressed natural gas) and the later models on diesel. The later models do not have a back windscreen. There has been 14 Mercedes-Benz OC500LE CNG fires in Perth, and is currently the subject of a lawsuit initiated by Public Transport Authority against Mercedes-Benz and two other companies.
State Transit Authority (Sydney Buses) in NSW, Australia has taken delivery of 254 Mercedes OC500LECNG units with Custom Coaches 'CB60' Evo II bodies. Weight and performance issues has delayed the delivery of the first vehicles from mid-2007 until June 2008, with the final unit delivered in June 2011. In 2010, 20 OC 500 LE Euro 5 diesel units, also with Custom Coaches 'CB60 Evo II bodies (but with Denso airconditioning instead of Thermo King), were introduced to Sydney's eastern suburbs bus services.
Many operators across Australia have now purchased the OC500LE in various configurations. Problems related to quality control and unreliable electronics have not been uncommon. A lot of these complaints have come from drivers due to some units being under-powered, uncomfortable or rough.
Brisbane Transport withdrew their OC500LEs from the fleet for a short period because of a major unidentified fault which caused buses to suddenly accelerate without warning. This problem was reportedly fixed by Mercedes-Benz and these vehicles are now back on the road.
SMRT Buses had taken delivery of 134 Mercedes-Benz OC500LEs for fleet replacement and expansion. These buses feature bodywork built by Gemilang Coachworks of Malaysia and assembled by Thonburi Busbody Limited of Thailand,  with a CapaCity licenced front from Mercedes-Benz, engines that meet Euro 5 emissions standards and are SMRT's first wheelchair accessible buses (WABs). They were the first to feature voice announcement system, with announcements similar to the ones used on the MRT. They are also the first buses in South-East Asia to be fitted with a Euro 5 engine. The last bus to be registered, SMB134H, was registered on 1 October 2009.
The first OC500LE took part in the launch of SMRT's Go Green event on 30 April 2008. The bus was later registered as SMB1H and initially entered revenue service on Service 190 on 29 June 2008. It was later redeployed to operate on Service 172, only half a year into service. It is currently used as a Kranji Bus Depot (KJDEP) training bus with a new design of EZ-Link card readers installed.
First production batch
The batch were registered in the ranges of SMB2E to SMB67T. The first few units of this batch were put to service from 22 September 2008 onwards.
Second production batch
The second production batch featured many more differences as compared to its first batch counterparts, most notably its interior. Blue as well as purple colour schemes were used on the seats in contrast to the first batch's corporate colour seats. Stickers greeting onboard passengers can be found at the front and the rear of the bus. A blue tint situated on the top of the windscreen below the Electronic Destination System reduces glare from the sun, and more grab poles and aircon outlets were added at the last few rows of seats.
They were registered from SMB68R till SMB134H. The first few units commenced passenger service on 1 July 2009, almost a year to the day the first unit of the OC500LE (SMB1H) made its first trip. They can be mostly found on WAB-certified services, similar to the first production batch.
SMB91Y is installed with Mobitec MobiLED EDS replacing its original EDS, LAWO BENEFIT EDS due to accident.
SBS Transit received one unit of the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE for demonstration purposes in early 2009. It features bodywork built by Gemilang Coachworks, though it looks slightly different from the SMRT version which has a CapaCity licenced front. SBS Transit then rejected the trial and now the bus belongs to Chitson Transport, registered as PA9588S.
MCV have started to body the OC500LE with its Evolution bodywork as a city bus. The first bus was unveiled in March 2010, and was also exhibited at IAA Hanover 2010. A number have been purchased by Carousel Buses for use to and from Heathrow Airport for express services.
OC 500 LE 1825h
- Engine type: OM 457 hLA (Euro 3) inline 6-cylinder 11.967-litre turbocharged intercooled, direct injection diesel
- Power: 185 kW (252 hp) @ 2000 rpm
- Torque: 1100 N m (811 ft·lbf) @ 1100 rpm
OC 500 LE 1825hG
- Engine type: M 447 hLAG (Euro 4/Euro 5/EEV) inline 6-cylinder 11.967-litre turbocharged intercooled, lean burn, spark ignition single point injection CNG
- Power: 185 kW (252 hp) @ 2000 rpm
- Torque: 1050 N m (774 ft·lbf) @ 1000-1400 rpm
OC 500 LE 1830h
- Engine type: OM 457 hLA (Euro 3/Euro 4/Euro 5/EEV) inline 6-cylinder 11.967-litre turbocharged intercooled, direct injection diesel
- Power: 220 kW (299 hp) @ 2000 rpm
- Torque: 1250 N m (921 ft·lbf) @ 1100 rpm
Currently, Mercedes-Benz only offers a ZF EcoLife 6-speed automatic transmission with integrated hydraulic retarder (model 6 AP 1200 B for the 252 hp CNG engine or model 6 AP 1400 B for the 299hp diesel engine). Previously available was the Voith D864.3E 4-speed automatic transmission as well as the ZF Ecomat 5 HP 502/592 5-speed and 6 HP 502/592 6-speed automatic transmissions.
The OC 500 LE can have a total body length of between 10.8 m and 13.5 m.
A low-entry articulated chassis, called the O500UA is also available in some markets. It is produced by Mercedes-Benz in Brazil.
Euro 4 and Euro 5
The OC 500 LE chassis is now available with a Euro 4, Euro 5 and EEV-compliant diesel engine using AdBlue Selective Catalytic Reduction technology. With Euro 4, Euro 5 and EEV, the 252 hp rating of the OM 457 hLA was discontinued. Therefore the OC 500 LE will have a 299 hp engine as standard.
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- Natasha Boddy and Kent Acott (3 August 2013). "Legal action on gas bus fires". The West Australian. Retrieved 24 October 2013.