LATEST LARGEST MB ELECTRIC BUS ORDER TO INCLUDE SOLID-STATE BATTERIES


MERCEDES-BENZ in Europe has received a record-breaking order for 56 eCitaro urban electric buses – 41 with the latest solid-state battery technology - from public transport company ESWE Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH in Wiesbaden, within Germany's Hesse region, it’s been announced recently.

LATEST LARGEST MB ELECTRIC BUS ORDER TO INCLUDE SOLID-STATE BATTERIES
"Wiesbaden's invitation to tender, however, also shows the systemic challenges involved in the introduction of e-mobility, which we are happy to play a part in," said Ulrich Bastert, head of Marketing, Sales and Customer Services at Daimler Buses.

The company will take care of the adaptation of the service yard, the equipment and setting up of charging infrastructure, as well as the charging management process itself, it explains. With this commission, the city of Wiesbaden is switching a fifth of its bus fleet to electro-mobility within a short period of time, it’s claimed.

Ulrich Bastert, head of Marketing, Sales and Customer Services at Daimler Buses, said: "Due to its outstanding features, the new eCitaro has won through in no time. Wiesbaden's invitation to tender, however, also shows the systemic challenges involved in the introduction of e-mobility, which we are happy to play a part in."

Frank Gäfgen, managing director at ESWE, said: "We are now starting to realise our vision of emission-free driving in Wiesbaden's public transport. And in this regard we want to take the lead in Germany."

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Presented as recently as last European autumn at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show, the fully electrical powered and locally emissions-free Mercedes-Benz eCitaro city bus is rapidly spreading, the company says.

With its newest record large-scale order for 56 buses from ESWE Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH in Wiesbaden, the state capital of Hesse will receive the first 10 eCitaro buses from the order this year already, while the remaining buses will be delivered next year.

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The first 15 Wiesbaden eCitaros will be equipped with current-generation lithium-ion batteries. These are NMC batteries (lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide cells). Each eCitaro is equipped with 12 battery packs with a total capacity of 292kWh, it states.

The remaining 41 eCitaros will be equipped with solid-state batteries. With this new bus technology, solid-state batteries have a very high energy density. In this case, seven battery packs are sufficient in order to provide a huge battery capacity of 441kWh. Even in winter when faced with the difficult demands of using all-electric heating, the eCitaro can still cover more than 200km, according to the SORT 2 testing method, says Mercedes-Benz. All 56 buses are charged by plug in at the depot.

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BUS INFRASTRUCTURE

Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz says it has taken on the role of general contractor, supplying the complete system including the construction measures for the infrastructure – a first in Germany.

In this context, the existing depot will be reorganised, modified and successively equipped with charging stations for the buses. Planned tasks even include building the transformer station for converting medium-voltage to low-voltage electricity, as well as the installation of cables on the site.

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As Bastert explained: "Using the example of Wiesbaden, we want to gain a full and detailed understanding of introducing e-mobility in all of its multiple aspects in order to derive new ideas on how to optimise the overall system. But particularly due to limited capacity, this is going to remain an exception at least for the foreseeable future."

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CUSTOMISED SOLUTION

Charging management is also part of the order. It will be achieved with Berlin-based partner company IVU Traffic Technologies, a renowned specialist for customised IT solutions. Firstly, this involves assigning each bus a defined charging point upon arrival at the depot. Smart charging management ensures all buses are charged with the necessary amount of electricity for their next trip. This also includes preconditioning, i.e. the temperature control of the passenger compartment and batteries, and thus ensures maximum efficiency, it’s claimed.

Vehicle servicing for ESWE's eCitaro buses will be done in co-operation with Taunus Auto Verkauf AG (TAV) located nearby.

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ABOUT ESWE

ESWE Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH operates Wiesbaden's local public transport and has a fleet of 271 buses. With 41 bus lines, its buses transport nearly 60 million passengers per year, it states. Of its roughly 1100 employees, two thirds work in the transport service.

With the introduction of the eCitaro, ESWE is putting an ambitious plan into effect: within just one year, the company is changing a fifth of its bus fleet to fully electric vehicles, confirmed MB.

The majority of the vehicles in the fleet are Mercedes-Benz Citaro. Mercedes-Benz and ESWE Verkehr have been cultivating a successful business partnership for a long time; this is not only evident in two classic city buses with the three-pointed star built in 1961 and 1983. For example, ESWE Verkehr took over the first low-emissions Citaros compliant with the Euro 6 in 2012.

With the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro, the company is now taking another major step forward as ESWE Verkehr and the city of Wiesbaden have set themselves the ambitious goal of realising the vision of emissions-free local transport as the first city in Germany.

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MORE COMING

Further eCitaros will be operating in Hamburg. More than the 20-vehicle contract signed in 2018 by Hamburger Hochbahn, Mercedes recently announced that Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH) just ordered 16 "made in Mannheim" electric buses.

The public transport company connects the metropolis of Hamburg with the surrounding area. For the first time, the eCitaro will be equipped with no less than 292kWh (50 more than the former top version that features the 243kWh battery pack).

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