Mercedes-Benz is switching to a more powerful generation of lithium-ion batteries in its electric buses (earlier post). The first eCitaro G articulated buses have now been delivered to Hanover’s transport operator, ÜSTRA. They are part of a large-scale order and also an important element of a plan to electrify bus transport in Lower Saxony’s capital.
The two new eCitaro G buses for ÜSTRA feature second-generation NMC lithium-ion batteries. Their capacity is about a third higher than that of previous batteries so that the range between recharging stops is increased considerably.
The company also offers solid-state batteries as a storage option. These batteries have a very high energy density—around 25% greater than the second generation of traditional lithium-ion batteries with liquid electrolyte. The new battery technology—offered in configurations up to 441 kWh—is available both for the articulated bus and the solo bus.
The articulated buses for Hanover are equipped with ten battery packs which provide them with a total capacity of 330 kWh. Pantographs are installed on the roof for intermediate charging at the final bus stop on routes.
The new vehicles are part of an order from ÜSTRA for up to 48 city buses. The order comprises 30 eCitaro solo buses and 18 eCitaro G articulated buses. The first eCitaro buses have been in operation since September of last year in Hanover.
As part of their campaign to switch over to electric buses, ÜSTRA intends to drive electrically with 48 electric buses on all inner-city routes within Hanover’s low-emission zone by 2023. The switch-over could save 3800 tonnes of CO2 every year.
At the same time as the buses go into operation, the final bus stops on the inner-city bus routes will all be equipped with the necessary charging infrastructure and both bus depots will be converted to accommodate the charging and maintenance processes for the electric buses, also by 2023.
The fully electric eCitaro G buses have four double-width doors to ensure rapid passenger flow at the bus stops. All of the doors have light strips with green or red LEDs to highlight the floor edges at the entrances. Passengers with restricted mobility board the bus at door two using an electrically operated cassette ramp.
The passenger compartment is fully air-conditioned and pre-conditioning at the company depot or at the final bus stops saves energy and in turn helps achieve maximum range.
The driver cockpit has a separate air-conditioning system as well as a heated and climatized seat with electrically adjustable lumbar support. The inside rearview mirror and the roller sunblind are also electrically adjustable. The EDF Eco Driver Feedback technology contributes to an economic driving style with the goal of achieving maximum energy efficiency.
The driver’s cab door has a partition across the complete width of the door while video cameras monitor the door areas and the passenger compartment. These features all add up to a greater feeling of safety.
Active safety is provided for by the active braking assistance system Preventive Brake Assist, the turning assistance system Sideguard Assist and the standard Articulation Turntable Controller (ATC), an anti-jackknifing system. Its effect is similar to that of ESP. A reversing camera and an acoustic reversing signal prevent accidents when maneuvering.
ÜSTRA Hannoversche Verkehrsbetriebe AG is one of Germany’s leading local transport providers. The company transports 172 million passengers every year making it the highest-performing provider of local transport in Lower Saxony.
ÜSTRA operates 349 city trains, 142 buses and four electrically operated boats. The buses serve a network of 41 lines, measuring 540 kilometers with a total of 672 stops, which amounts to an annual mileage of more than twelve million kilometers.