Rhein‑Neckar‑Verkehr GmbH will be the first customer for the fully-electric Citaro city bus from Mercedes-Benz. (Earlier post.) 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. Apart from the delivery of vehicles, the two partners have agreed to exchange their findings during day‑to‑day regular service operations.
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.
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.