NMC3 batteries are characterised by a high energy density. As a consequence, even longer routes with the eCitaro are now becoming a reality, something that had previously not been attainable with electrically driven city buses.
New battery generation for long ranges.
NMC3 is a new generation of high-performance batteries for the all-electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro low-floor city bus. These new NMC3 batteries are characterised by an incredibly high capacity. They enable longer ranges without intermediate charging. In addition, the battery equipment's modular design is geared towards the required deployment profile.
Improved cell chemistry in a new format.
NMC is an acronym for Nickel Manganese Cobalt. The third generation of batteries, making the eCitaro even more powerful, are therefore lithium-ion batteries, as had already been the case with NMC1 and NMC2 generation batteries.
These third-generation batteries feature a new high-energy NMC cathode (NMC: lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide), liquid electrolyte and a so-called “advanced” graphite anode.
The change in battery chemistry is accompanied by a new shape. Previously, cells had been configured as a prism, but the new generation is shaped like a cylinder.
Improved cell chemistry, an optimised battery package and a new battery carrier lead to a significant increase in energy density of around 50 percent – with identical weight when considering the overall vehicle.
600 of these battery cells are installed inside each battery module. Nine battery modules then form one battery pack. This package of a total of 5400 cells then boasts a nominal energy content of 98 kWh.
“In the eCitaro G, the energy capacity increases by more than 70 percent. Quite an achievement!”
For Patrick Nürnberger at Daimler Buses Product Planning, the increase in energy brought about by NMC3 batteries compared with the previous NMC2 generation represents a genuine milestone. "In the eCitaro G, the energy capacity thus increases by more than 70 percent. Quite an achievement."
NMC3 batteries enable long routes.
When it comes to equipping the eCitaro with the new NMC3 battery power packs, completely customised versions are available for the solo bus and the eCitaro G articulated bus, each completely adapted to the respective deployment profile. Nürnberger: “the maximum battery equipment for the solo bus is 588 kWh and 686 kWh for the 18-metre-long articulated bus.”
Considering the potential deployment profile, very long routes are possible thanks to the high energy capacity. NMC3 batteries guarantee a reliable range of 280 kilometres for the eCitaro solo bus and 220 kilometres in the eCitaro G with maximum equipment – throughout the battery's entire service life.
With the eCitaro Range Extender featuring fuel cell announced for 2023, the range of the solo bus will even be boosted to around 400 kilometres without the need for recharging.
Talking about it, Patrick Nürnberger almost goes into overdrive, saying "in favourable conditions, the range of the eCitaro with NMC3 batteries is even over 300 kilometres. In practice, this covers a large part of the route cycles in local, public transport."
NMC3 batteries simply last longer.
However, the NMC3 battery generation not only makes long ranges possible, it also impresses with its long service life. In daily use and "gentle" operating conditions, they can last for a service life of up to eight years or more.
This safeguards all the necessary conditions for transport companies so that the eCitaro can gradually replace conventional city buses.