Mercedes-Benz has received a major order from the ESWE public transport operator in Wiesbaden for the electric city bus eCitaro. The local transport company of the Hessian capital ordered a total of 56 units of the electric bus, which is manufactured in Mannheim.
The first ten buses are to be delivered this year, while the remainder awaits in 2020. An interesting note is that while the first 15 eCitaro models for Wiesbaden will still be equipped with the latest lithium-ion batteries, the 41 other eCitaro models will, according to Daimler, already be equipped with solid-state batteries. The manufacturer explains: “Solid-state batteries have a very high energy density. In this case, seven battery packs are sufficient in order to provide a huge battery 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”.
Daimler had already announced at the presentation of the eCitaro series in July 2018 that it would be offering the electric city bus as an alternative to the next generation of lithium-ion batteries or solid-state batteries from 2020. Hats off, if they actually succeed in doing so as early as next year.
Otherwise, Mercedes-Benz will also take on the conversion of the depot, the design and construction of the charging infrastructure and charge management as part of the ESWE contract. Among other things, the upgrading of the depot also includes the construction of a transformer station to convert the current from medium to low voltage and the laying of cables on the site. The background is that all 56 electric buses will in future be charged via plugs at the depot.
With this order, Wiesbaden will convert one-fifth of its bus fleet to electric buses within a short period of time. ESWE currently operates 271 buses on 41 lines and plans to operate the fleet completely emission-free from 2022. In December, the company received a grant from the federal government for the procurement of the first 56 electric buses. At 14.5 million euros, the city has announced that this was the first “maximum” subsidy. It applied for a total of 60 million euros over the next four years.
Originally, ESWE wanted to put the first 50 electric buses on the road this year. But the ambitious timetable was not to be. On the one hand, there was a problem with the above-mentioned funding decision, and on the other hand, the Europe-wide tender had to be extended in September 2018. This was already the second major delay in the tender. As early as mid-2018, the ESWE determined that the bids received to date were not comparable, which is why it first had to compile a detailed catalogue of requirements.