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Transperth  Driving Towards the future

Mercedes Benz O500LE

Introduction

On 4th May 2004, Transperth 1854, a Mercedes Benz OC500LE, arrived in Singapore, and was temporarily registered as CNG1854. This bus was completed and certified fit for operations on 4th August 2003 in Victoria, Australia. The bus is fitted with a Volgren CR228 body, and the chassis is assembled in Spain.

The general public was given a chance to ride this bus for a free city tour on the 8th May 2004, before it was subsequently evaluated by SBS Transit and SMRTbus. This is in light of the new government regulation that required all new public buses to be Euro 4 compliant by 2006 in a bid to control air pollution in Singapore.  It was shipped back to Perth, Australia as a demonstrator on 11th May 2004.

The Mercedes Benz OC500LE is powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), and has an emission that conforms to the latest Euro 4 standard. The CNG fuel is stored in special tanks that are supplied by Mannesmann of Germany, and is refilled via a valve in the engine compartment. This is different from the CNG Volvo B10BLEs that SBST currently has, as the SBST examples have a dedicated hatch at the side of the body for refuelling. It also incorporates new safety features such as a comprehensive interlock system, intelligent monitoring of the brake circuit that ensures even wearing of the brake pads, as well as an electronic air suspension that serves to balance the loads evenly on the axles. 

The cabin had been completely redesigned in order to give the driver the feeling of driving a car instead. The dashboard features electronic displays of the distance travelled and the current gear that is engaged. The buttons are also neatly lined up by the side for easy control. The driver's seat, which is manufactured by Isringhausen, features adjustable lumbar support to further increase the degree of comfort.

The air-conditioning system is designed by Coachair, and the interior incorporates 2 sets of foldable seats along each side of the bus. This is to accommodate wheel-chair bound passengers, and has an intercom to the driver should he require assistance. As this is a Low Entry model, there are no steps from the entrance to the exit. However, it has a step after the exit. There is also an extendable ramp at the entrance to allow prams and wheelchairs to board easily, and can support loads of up to 350kg.

The electronic destination sign is manufactured by mobitec, and receives data via a MMC card. In addition, the emergency door cocks are located under panels to give the bus a more streamlined appearance. However, this bus does not come cheap, given the many features, and cost A$400,000 to develop.

Technical Information

Registration number  (Temporary) CNG1854
Engine  Mercedes OM447hLA 
Gearbox  ZF 6HP502

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