by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

Daimler HighTechReport: The Fascination of Technology - Issue 02/2008 - PART IX


OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

Stuttgart, Nov 25, 2008

Smooth Running: Smooth Running

Tokyo is breaking all the records. A total of 35 million people live in this mega-city. So it’s no wonder that the city’s Haneda Airport is among the world leaders, with 600 takeoffs and landings a day and 65 million passengers a year. Its three terminals are connected by a busy fleet of shuttle buses.



Not long ago, an environmentally friendly trendsetter very quietly joined the bus fleet. The “Aero Star Eco Hybrid” is not a spectacular airplane - it’s a master of local transport produced by Mitsubishi Fuso. Its special secret is a series hybrid drive system consisting of a diesel engine, electric drive motors, and a lithium-ion battery.

Usually, bus passengers can feel every jolt when the driver shifts gears. But that’s not the case with the new Aero Star. It rolls silently along, accelerates gently - and, thanks to the electric drive system, no gearshifting is necessary. Passengers have to look out the window in order to see if the bus is moving, as they can hardly hear or feel the motion.

Some passengers are stirred to ask about this hybrid technology, because they’re not being shaken around any more. Hideto Yanagisawa and his driver colleagues also get appreciative looks when their buses silently roll up to the bus stops, generating electricity in the process, because they are braking with their electric motors.
Because they can always operate optimally, the buses’ diesel engines require less fuel. This is good news for the environment and serves the Keihin Kyuko Bus Company’s economic interests. Thanks to the hybrid engines, it’s now possible to drive buses in Japan smoothly, quietly, and with low emissions.

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