In Germany, Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) has commissioned three fully electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro buses for use in Heidelberg’s historic city centre and Mannheim’s new Franklin district. The corresponding agreement between the public transport company and Daimler was signed in 2017.
In Heidelberg, the BEVs will be on the move between 9:00 am and 10:00 pm and in Mannheim between 6:00 am and midnight. “This corresponds to a daily mileage of 200 kilometres and more per vehicle,” says Daimler in a press release. Ten built-in lithium-ion battery modules provide a total capacity of 243 kWh in the buses – six of the batteries are mounted on the roof and four have space at the rear.
In order to achieve the daily workload, interim charges are planned during breaks in operation. “Another eCitaro will be used at the Heidelberg and Mannheim sites during these breaks, otherwise the requirements would not be affordable,” says Daimler. Charging is carried out via Combo 2 plugs above the front wheel arch. The new ISO 15118 standard offers extended functions, such as automatic authentication of vehicles without a separate loading card. Mercedes-Benz has also developed a function with the aid of extended data transmission that enables automatic control of the preconditioning of the bus via the charging plug. “Additional cables or lines for compressed air, low voltage or communication are no longer required,” it says. The newly developed charger has an output of up to 150 kW and is supplied with the eCitaro copies to the RNV.
During the forthcoming trial operation, Mercedes-Benz, together with energy management specialist The Mobility House, will also develop and implement a tailor-made charging management system for the RNV. “We have put together a complete package consisting of vehicle, charging management and consulting, with which we support the transport company in the electrification of its bus traffic,” confirms Till Oberwörder, Head of Daimler Buses.
By the way, nobody had to travel far to the handover: Daimler Buses produces the eCitaro locally in the Evobus plant in Mannheim. The company also occupies a special position among Germany’s local public transport companies: The RNV was founded jointly by the cities of Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim and simultaneously operates in the German states Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse.