Public transport provider Verkehrsbetriebe-Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH) has ordered 95 Mercedes-Benz eCitaro/eCitaro G buses. The first of the fully electrically powered and locally emission-free buses is expected to be delivered by the end of this year, while the other vehicles will be delivered in the first half of 2024. In addition, VHH has secured an option for a maximum of 155 further vehicles by 2028.
VHH already has 37 eCitaros and eCitaro Gs in use. The first vehicles were put into operation in 2020, shortly after the start of the model’s series introduction. Together with the buses now on order, the number rises to a total of 132 all-electric, low-floor buses in the VHH fleet.
Mercedes-Benz eCitaro with all-electric drive, exterior, smoke silver metallic, 2 x electric hub motor, 2 x 125 kW, 2 x 485 Nm, 12 HV battery modules, 24 kWh per HV battery module.
The current order consists of 47 three-door Mercedes-Benz eCitaro solo buses and 48 four-door eCitaro G articulated buses. They feature the latest battery technology with high-performance NMC3 batteries. Mercedes-Benz introduced the NMC3 21700 cylindrical cells in the eCitaro in 2022, replacing the prismatic design of the earlier generation.
The NMC3 cell features a new, high-energy NMC cathode (NMC: lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide), a liquid electrolyte and an advanced graphite anode. The combination of improved cell chemistry and an optimized battery pack leads to an increase in the overall gravimetric and volumetric energy density of the battery pack. The capacity of 4.93Ah per battery cell results in a considerable increase in capacity of around 50% at the same weight.
The eCitaro units for VHH offer an energy capacity of 490 kWh for the solo bus and as much as 588 kWh for the articulated bus. The buses are charged at VHH depots. Charging sockets on both the left and right at the height of the front wheel arches ensure a high degree of flexibility at the depot.
The safety equipment of the 95 city buses includes Preventive Brake Assist, Sideguard Assist and the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). As standard, the eCitaro already comes with anti-roll protection as well as the ESP electronic stability program in the solo bus, plus the anti-jackknifing protection ATC (Articulation Turntable Controller) in the articulated bus.
Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH operates 170 routes throughout the Hamburg metropolitan region. With more than 2,300 employees and around 670 buses at 17 sites, VHH is the second-largest local transportation company in northern Germany. The vehicles cover around 34 million kilometers (21 million miles) in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein every year, carrying around 62 million passengers. The backbone of the fleet is the low-emission Mercedes-Benz Citaro and the locally emission-free eCitaro, both as solo and articulated buses.
With the elexity brand, VHH is bundling all aspects of sustainable mobility – from the infrastructure at depots to specially trained staff and vehicles that run on 100 percent green electricity. Since 2020, VHH has been exclusively procuring locally emission-free buses for use in Hamburg’s urban area. The goal is to convert the VHH vehicle fleet to zero-emission drives as far as possible by the 2030s.