Customised bus bodies for special applications, or for meeting legal requirements and particular demands in a specific country, are best mounted onto proven bus chassis by local manufacturers. This applies to many countries in Europe and, above all, to the world market. With its OC 500 series, the Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit, a part of EvoBus GmbH, offers a broad range of chassis and engine variants for the most diverse urban bus, rural bus and touring coach applications. The Global Chassis Competence Centre is located in Brazil, but the facility does not just build vehicles for South America; it also exports chassis to Indonesia, for example.
The OC 500 chassis for European markets are produced in Sámano, Spain. At the FIAA 2006, the Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit will present a new weight-optimised variant of the two-axle touring coach chassis OC 500 RF. It will be powered by an OM 457 hLA horizontally mounted Euro 4 turbodiesel engine equipped with Blue-Tec diesel technology.
Wide range of chassis for all applications
The OC 500 series from the Sámano plant includes chassis for rural buses and touring coaches (OC 500 RF) with two and three axles, and a low-entry chassis (OC 500 LE). All chassis are available in right or left-hand-drive versions and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Like the complete buses from Mercedes-Benz, they now also come with Euro 4 turbodiesel engines that employ Blue-Tec diesel technology. The OM 457 (h)LA engines, which are installed in the rear of the buses, are either vertically or horizontally mounted (in the OC 500 RF), or else horizontally mounted only (OC 500 LE). The straight six-cylinder units with 12-litre displacement are available in three power ratings ranging from 220 kW (299 hp) to 315 kW (428 hp). A natural gas engine is also available for the OC 500 LE chassis.
Depending on the power rating and model in question, power is transferred to the axles by either a Mercedes-Benz six-speed manual transmission with Servoshift and joystick shifting, or a six-speed automatic transmission made by ZF or Voith.
Most of the chassis are delivered as completely assembled units, which means they are ready to roll right from the outset. The modular construction of the OC 500 RF and OC 500 LE model series, with up to five modules, makes it possible to vary the length of the finished buses. The chassis buggies have a central part that permits a wheelbase of up to 6.08 metres, and is later removed by the body manufacturer. The front module consists of the cowl, framework structure, gear lever, instrument panel, steering column and steering wheel. The second module contains the front axle with wheel suspension, steering gear, wheels and tyres. The third module consists of the centre buggy component, including the cable harnesses. The fourth module holds the rear axle – for three-axle trucks, it also includes the trailing axle. The fifth module consists of the engine, engine mounting, transmission, propshaft, floor frame, exhaust and radiator system, fan, air filter, steering oil reservoir and expansion tank.
State-of-the-art technology for safety and comfort
The OC 500 RF (RF = raised floor) chassis is a foundation for today’s rural buses and touring coaches for the European market in particular that stands out through its state-of-the-art technology. It comes with CAN data bus technology, the Electronic Braking System (EBS) with integrated ABS anti-lock braking system, disc brakes all round, independent front suspension, air suspension on the front and rear axles, a Mercedes-Benz six-speed manual transmission with Servoshift and joystick gearshift, and interfaces to the electrical/electronic system in the body. The chassis is designed to serve as the basis for bus bodies with a floor height of 920 mm and up.
The OC 500 LE low-entry chassis has been taken from the low-entry Mercedes-Benz Citaro LE complete bus. Characteristic of this chassis is the low front entrance and complete low-floor design throughout the entire front section of the vehicle, which has a floor height of approximately 370 mm. The rear section of the chassis stands around 890 mm above the road and is entered via two steps.
New: optimised weight and Euro 4 engines equipped with Blue-Tec diesel technology
The Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach unit will present a “redesigned” variant of the two-axle OC 500 RF chassis at the FIAA 2006. Along with the OM 457 hLA low-emission and economical Euro 4 turbodiesel engine equipped with forward-looking Blue-Tec diesel technology, the chassis also features a new weight-optimised design that makes both the rear axle and the overhang much lighter, although just as strong as before. Despite the switchover to the Euro 4 engine, the unit’s weight has therefore been reduced by approximately 150 kilograms. This extra weight can be used for the body and payload. The tubing design has also been optimised with respect to connecting up the body and its components.