European top model.
Omnibus Magazine

European top model.

The Mercedes-Benz eCitaro is popular all over Europe.
Series - Next chapter 02
The success story of the eCitaro in Europe.
New content - 13.05.2024

Success knows no bounds for this Mercedes-Benz electric bus. The image gallery shows where and how the eCitaro is used throughout Europe.

The Mercedes-Benz eCitaro is a real success story. Ever since its 2017 launch, it has defined locally emission-free public transport in many European regions, towns and cities. This electric bus bearing the three-pointed star proves its remarkable efficiency and reliability every day. So let's see where the eCitaro is employed and take a look at the transport companies who use it. What charging strategies are available? What do drivers and passengers think? And in what kind of applications is it used? The image gallery contains a fascinating selection of examples.

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Since November 2022, 19 eCitaro solo buses have been on the road at Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB). From June 2023, 38 articulated buses were added to the fleet. As far as charging strategy is concerned, the Swiss company primarily relies on depot charging via pantograph. On line 36, the eCitaro G also uses opportunity charging. The electric city bus from Mercedes-Benz needs a great deal of endurance, as the routes here are up to 320 kilometres long. In the busy city traffic of Basel, modern assistance systems such as Sideguard Assist and Preventive Brake Assist ensure the highest level of safety.

In Münster, Westphalia, the eCitaro buses drive more than 400 kilometres a day. Instead of charging all buses at the same time at night in central charging depots, Stadtwerke Münster opts for opportunity charging with pantograph fast charging stations at the end stops. This ensures decentralised utilisation of the electricity grid: an important aspect for the energy and mobility group. Another positive side effect of this charging strategy: intermediate charging via a pantograph means that fewer battery packs need to be used in Münster, which saves weight and helps with transport capacity.

"A dozen times better", says the Hungarian transport company DKV, which since August 2022 has had twelve eCitaro buses in its fleet. On average, the electric buses on the lines in Debrecen drive between 125 and 140 kilometres every day. In Hungary, the eCitaro was designed with numerous extras to increase passenger comfort. These include, for example, a folding ramp at the centre door, a wheelchair space with seat belt, free Wi-Fi, USB charging sockets, a security camera system in the passenger compartment and a modern passenger information system.

With the turning assistant Sideguard Assist, active braking assistant Preventive Brake Assist and mirror replacement systems instead of conventional exterior mirrors, when it comes to driver comfort, the 15 eCitaro buses at regiobus Hannover leave nothing to be desired. The quiet and low-vibration electric engine makes driving more pleasant. It's no wonder that the employees would prefer to drive only eCitaros. Many passengers also prefer the eCitaro with its information display screens, free Wi-Fi, USB charging sockets and special usage areas for carrying e-scooters.

School traffic? Cross-country routes? And in a thinly populated region? These hardly sound like perfect conditions for using electric buses. In rural Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, however, Stefan Lösel sees things very differently: “Electric buses are ideal wherever there is typical school traffic in rural areas", says the managing director of the transport company Ludwigslust-Parchim (VLP). Its sophisticated concept makes full use of the strengths of the eCitaro from Mercedes-Benz – and with success.

The 24 eCitaro buses from Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacji Autobusowej have been on the road in Gdynia since spring 2022. In this Polish port city, the 24 solo buses and eight articulated buses drive on routes of between 15 and 30 kilometres long. In order to ensure the highest possible transport capacity on the passenger-intensive routes, a deliberate choice has been made to use fewer battery packs per vehicle. This saves weight and, in combination with the charging strategy consisting of intermediate charging at the end stop points and overnight depot charging, the two length variants of the eCitaro manage their routes with ease.

“Very comfortable and a great design”: so says Bergkvarabuss – one of Sweden’s largest private bus operators based in Kalmar – of the eCitaro. The company uses 16 electric buses with the three-pointed star to serve urban bus routes. The vehicles are charged overnight in the depot. This strategy was chosen because it was the fastest and easiest to implement given the local circumstances. And more vehicles are set to arrive. In light of the positive experience, Bergkvarabuss has ordered more eCitaro buses which are due to be delivered in August 2024.

Cutting through the city centre and used daily by thousands, the number 68 bus route run by Dresden transport company DVB is one of the lines that form the backbone of public transport in Saxony's state capital. And it has been completely electrified using the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro G. The buses run 16 times every weekday along this circular route. Each articulated bus covers between 220 and 450 kilometres a day. This adds up to an average of approx. 80,000 kilometres per eCitaro G over the year. In the first 14 months, these electric buses have already covered 1.8 million kilometres.

Emile Weber is a Luxembourg-based bus company that uses the eCitaro to serve urban and intercity routes. These buses have exceptional levels of availability for both area-types. The routes are covered by a total of 28 electric buses bearing the three-pointed star. Emile Weber first used the eCitaro as far back as 2019, which means their fleet contains vehicles with NMC1 and NMC2 batteries. In the near future, they will receive a further 87 eCitaro buses with the latest generation of NMC3 batteries. Of these, 58 will be equipped with charging rails for opportunity charging. The buses charge using an inverted pantograph mounted on the charging mast.

Many Mercedes-Benz buses took their maiden voyages on behalf of the Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (rnv) transport company in Mannheim. It all started in 2018, when they put their first six eCitaro buses to work. 36 eCitaro buses are now used on all routes and circular lines and are well incorporated into the fleet. These have now been joined by the latest generation of the eCitaro as the first eCitaro fuel cell buses were delivered in November 2023. rnv was also one of the first to use OMNIplus ON digital services.

Safety is key for the transport company ÜSTRA based in Hannover. They make great use of the latest safety systems in their vehicles, such as the Preventive Brake Assist braking assistant and Sideguard Assist turning assistant. A reversing camera and acoustic reversing signal prevent accidents when manoeuvring. Furthermore, eCitaro Solo buses, produced from 2022 onwards, are all equipped with a 360° camera system, while eCitaro G articulated buses are fitted with a 270° camera system. ÜSTRA also stays on the safe side where maintenance is concerned and so puts the comprehensive OMNIplus eService options to good use.

In the Hungarian capital of Budapest and its suburbs, 40 eCitaro buses are already on the road. The first were delivered to the transport company Volánbusz in the summer of 2021. Mercedes-Benz electric buses are used to serve various routes in the metropolitan area of Budapest. In terms of equipment, both the comprehensive safety package and the modern passenger information system were equally important to the operator. By the end of October 2023, the eCitaros had already covered 3.14 million kilometres and saved around 3056 tonnes of CO2 compared to diesel buses.

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