In Switzerland, Mercedes-Benz has received an order from Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB) for 54 fully electric eCitaro buses. The 38 solo and 16 articulated buses are to be delivered next year.
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The Swiss public transport company intends to fully electrify its bus fleet in two steps by 2027. The eCitaro now forms the basis of the first order, according to Daimler. The decision was made after a tender and “intensive testing of several vehicles,” it said.
For the complete fleet conversion, the procurement of a total of 126 electric buses has been planned in two stages. The first group of buses were put out for tender in September last year and have now been filled with this order. According to BVB, the total project will cost around 360 million Swiss francs (around 334 million euros), of which around 147 million Swiss francs (around 136 million euros) will be spent on the procurement of the e-buses.
The remaining investment will go toward the construction of the new Garage Rank bus depot, the installation of temporary depots and the development of the charging infrastructure.
According to Daimler, the 38 solo buses that have just been ordered all have ten battery assemblies, which corresponds to the maximum configuration of the 12-meter bus. The batteries of the BVB buses are charged either via CCS with up to 150 kW or via pantograph, in which case up to 450 kW is possible. The eCitaro has two motors on the rear axle, which produce 2 x 125 kW, and the torque amounts to 2 x 485 Nm.
In the case of the 16 articulated eCitaro G buses, Daimler has not revealed which battery the Basel public transport service has ordered. As of last year, the articulated bus is not only available NMC cell batteries with a maximum of 396 kWh, but also solid-state batteries with 441 kWh. Here Daimler says only that the articulated buses for Switzerland will have two powered axles, i.e. the middle and rear axles.
Daimler describes the interior of the Basel buses as being “friendly and functional”. Handrails made of stainless steel and brushed stainless steel, side walls covered with needle fleece and upholstered seats with leather upholstery have been designed to create a “dignified atmosphere.” In addition to the usual special-use area for wheelchairs and baby carriages opposite the second doors, the articulated buses offer a further special-use area in the rear car. There is WLAN and numerous USB sockets for passengers. The driver’s seat not only has a video surveillance system for the interior and surroundings, but also a swivelling, heated and air-conditioned seat.
“We are very pleased to be able to operate almost half of our bus fleet electrically from spring 2023. This will make our bus fleet more environmentally friendly, quieter and more modern,” says BVB Director Bruno Stehrenberger. Frank Scherhag, CEO of EvoBus (Schweiz) AG adds: “We are very pleased to have been awarded the contract by BVB. It confirms the performance of the eCitaro and our services.”
The Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe not only provides public transport for Basel city residents, but also for those living in the greater Basel area, and even connecting Basel with the neighbouring countries Germany and France. In total, 115 buses – now already partly fulfilled with the eCitaro electric buses – serve 14 routes while 135 trams cover the company’s nine tram lines. All in all, the buses used in the Basel region clock up six million kilometres every year.
Update 26 May 2021: A further eight electric buses have been ordered from Swiss bus builder Hess. The Hess LighTram 25OPP vehicles are 25 meters long and will be used on the airport line.
The vehicles of the type Hess LighTram 25OPP are 25 meters long and will be used on the airport line (line 50). According to Hess, the EuroAirport has experienced “a constant increase in passenger numbers and in recent years has clearly reached the limit of its capacity”. Therefore, the ordered vehicles are about six meters longer than the diesel buses that they are replacing.
With this order, BVB’s future electric bus fleet will consist of 38 twelve-meter solo buses, 16 18-meter articulated buses and eight 25-meter buses with two articulated buses now on order.