No more diesel buses from 2030
Daimler e-Citaro – charging stops are no longer necessary
04/05/2022, 7:19 p.m.
Next year Mercedes wants to enter the e-Citaro with a significantly improved battery. The urban bus should now have a range of 400 kilometers and thus manage its daily journeys without recharging. But the Stuttgart even revives almost forgotten technology.
Citaro city buses with the Mercedes star are circulating all over the world, so far almost all of them are equipped with a powerful diesel engine. Although the first Daimler electric buses were added four years ago, with just 600 e-Citaro sold since then, Mercedes is Europe’s number one, but it still plays a minor role. For comparison: in the Chinese city of Shenzen, which has a population of 12 million, there are nearly 18,000 electric buses on the road.
In Mannheim, Till Oberwörder, boss of Daimler Buses, announces that diesel will have had its day in city buses by 2030. The first new e-Citaro should arrive in cities next year. They know how to do everything better than before, can travel up to 400 kilometers on a single battery charge, depending on the model, recharge faster than before and, above all, have a kind of “spare container” to edge. A 60 kWh hydrogen fuel cell generates electricity on board, which then powers the batteries up to 686 kWh. This eliminates the need for “intermediate recharging” in the depot, which previously slowed city buses on their daily journeys.
The fuel cell as a range extender
The fuel cell comes from Toyota and serves as a “range extender” that can recharge the batteries while driving. A technique that is also known from cars. For example, the BMW i3, one of the first electric cars in Germany, had a 650 cc twin-cylinder petrol engine taken from a scooter, which supplemented the battery, which these days is modest, with just under 19 kW at the time. threatened with collapse. As we know, this idea of extending the range did not catch on in passenger cars.
Other dimensions apply to city buses. As before, the new generation of solid-state batteries is made of nickel, manganese and cobalt and is therefore called NMC. The up to seven batteries provide 70% more energy than in the current e-Citaro model. In the articulated Citaro, they consist of up to 5,400 individual cells. The capacity of up to 686 kWh is huge compared to the 108 kWh of the Mercedes EQS luxury electric vehicle.
Charging also possible with pantograph
Depending on the size of the urban area, a customer can choose from different battery sizes and their possible autonomy. A solo bus, that is to say without the rear part of an articulated bus, can travel a good 300 kilometres. If the area of application requires more kilometres, for example in cities with more than one million inhabitants, the “Range Extender” comes into play and provides an additional 100 kilometres. It is charged at the socket with up to 150 kW. This is twice as fast with a so-called “pantograph”, as pantographs are called in technical jargon, for example on trains or trams. Such scissor-like structures can also be mounted on the e-Citaro.
Daimler implements a wide range of services related to the city bus sector. Transport companies are advised so that their electric buses are perfectly adapted to local needs. There is also support to expand charging options at depots, including planning, construction work and electrical installation. Software programs for traffic control or remote monitoring are also included in Daimler’s worry-free package.
The bus and truck departments work together on all innovations. Range extender technology could also find its way into utility vehicles. The next goal is a more climate-friendly operation of coaches on long journeys. As a hybrid, the diesel-powered Mercedes Intouro is equipped with an additional electric motor that supports the combustion engine when starting or accelerating. The advantage is reduced fuel consumption.