Mercedes-Benz to supply 56 electric urban buses to Wiesbaden; shifting to solid-state battery packs in 2020
The public transport company ESWE Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH from Wiesbaden in Germany’s Hesse region has ordered 56 Mercedes‑Benz eCitaro electric urban buses. With this commission, the city of Wiesbaden is switching a fifth of its bus fleet to electromobility within a short period of time.
As a provider of comprehensive electromobility solutions, Mercedes‑Benz also takes care of the adaptation of the service yard, the equipment and setting up of charging infrastructure, as well as the charging management process itself. 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.
Wiesbaden will receive the first 10 eCitaro buses from the order this year, with the remaining buses to be delivered next year.
From left to right: Ulrich Bastert, Head of Marketing, Sales and Customer Services Daimler Buses, Frank Gäfgen, Managing Director ESWE Verkehr, Sven Gerich, Mayor of the city of Wiesbaden, and Andreas Kowohl, Head of Traffic Department of Wiesbaden.
The first 15 eCitaro for Wiesbaden will be equipped with current-generation lithium-ion batteries—NMC batteries (lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide cells). Each eCitaro is equipped with twelve battery packs with a total capacity of 292 kWh.
The remaining 41 eCitaro will be equipped with solid-state batteries. Solid-state batteries have a very high energy density—in this case, seven battery packs are sufficient to provide a total capacity of 441 kWh.
Even in winter when faced with the difficult demands of using all-electric heating, the eCitaro can still cover more than 200 km according to the SORT 2 testing method. All 56 buses are charged by plug in the depot.
With the solid-state batteries, the eCitaro can meet about 70% of all requirements without opportunity charging. The characteristics of solid-state batteries differ significantly from NMC batteries—different shape, larger and not suitable for quick-charging. As a result, city buses equipped with them cover different operational profiles. For this reason, Mercedes-Benz will offer the eCitaro with a choice of NMC or solid-state batteries.
Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz plans to increase the range of the eCitaro yet again by a fuel cell range extender. It will be designed to allow the eCitaro to fulfil nearly 100% of all requirements on city buses. This technology eliminates the need for opportunity charging and the complex infrastructure required for it in almost all cases—the eCitaro will be able to replace city buses with combustion engine virtually one to one.
Charging management is also part of the Wiesbaden order. It will be realized together with the Berlin-based partner company IVU Traffic Technologies, a specialist for customized IT solutions. First, this involves assigning each bus a defined charging point upon arrival at the depot. Smart charging management ensures that 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. Vehicle servicing for ESWE’s eCitaro buses will be carried out in co-operation with Taunus Auto Verkauf AG (TAV) located in the immediate vicinity.
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 a year. Of its roughly 1,100 employees, two-thirds work in the transport service.
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 Citaro compliant with the Euro VI norm in 2012. It had previously had its world premiere in public there.