Rhein Neckar Verkehr GmbH will be the first customer for the fully-electric city bus from Mercedes-Benz. Representatives of the Daimler subsidiary EvoBus GmbH and Rhein Neckar Verkehr GmbH have signed a corresponding memorandum of understanding. The first vehicles will be delivered at the end of 2018, and then go into practical operation in the Rhein-Neckar metropolitan region as part of customer trials. This means that the first examples of the fully electric Mercedes-Benz city bus will remain close to home – as they are produced in Mannheim. Apart from the delivery of vehicles, the two partners have agreed to closely exchange their findings during day to day regular service operations.
"Our bestselling Mercedes Benz Citaro is built in the EvoBus plant in Mannheim, our Centre of Competence for city buses. Naturally this also applies to the electric version, which we are currently preparing for series production. I am therefore pleased that our first customer for the fully electric city bus also comes from the Rhein Neckar metropolitan region, In the very proximity to our location, the cooperation with Rhein Neckar Verkehr GmbH enables us to gather important findings about the daily operation of our fully electric Citaro and for the urban public transport of the future," says Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses.
"In regards to local public transport electric mobility for city buses is one of the future topics - not just since the discussion about nitrogen oxide emissions in cities," says Martin in der Beek, Technical Director of rnv. "We as a company want to do much more than just move with the times and react. We want to actively shape the growth of electric mobility in local public transport. In EvoBus, we have found a powerful and important partner, to test the benefits of the technology and the appropriate operating strategies in everyday service, together with our passengers.
About the Mercedes Benz Citaro with fully electric drive
The fully electric Mercedes Benz Citaro receives its drive energy from lithium ion batteries. The modular design of the battery pack means that individually customised solutions can be devised to match a wide range of applications and requirements in city traffic. As well as the possibility of charging from a power socket at the depot, Mercedes Benz can also optionally supply the Citaro with intermediate recharging solutions. The vehicle is powered by electric wheel hub motors at the rear axle.
One of the particular features of the Citaro with all electric drive will be the precise refined thermal management of the bus's drive and climate control systems. This thermal management reduces energy consumption significantly. As a result the range without changing the size of battery will be extended.
"We are convinced that the Citaro with battery electric drive and intelligent onboard energy and thermal management is a milestone for the urban public transport of the future. We are developing our electric bus very carefully for dependable operation in a hard operating routine," says Hartmut Schick.
Successful testing in bitter cold as well as extreme heat
The Citaro with all electric drive is currently being put through the same comprehensive cycle of trials and testing to which every other bus built by Mercedes Benz is subjected. Prototypes have, for example, already successfully run through initial winter testing in icy temperatures at the Arctic circle as well as summer testing in the heat of Spain's Sierra Nevada. Endurance testing and detailed refinements will now follow, ensuring that Mercedes Benz will be able to offer maximum availability on a par with that of a conventionally powered city bus.