Battery capacity needs to go up

Mercedes-Benz just received an order for 16 all-electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro buses from Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH) from Hamburg, Germany.

Those new vehicles will be equipped with new maximum capacity battery packs of 292 kWh instead of 243 kWh, which results in a range of 170 km (106 miles) in SORT2 test cycle. The range in favorable conditions is up to 280 km (174 miles).

The introduction of higher-capacity, longer-range versions suggest that the customer demand for range is high - we assume that it's not the last increase in the near term from Mercedes (soon we should see expansion of the offer to 300-400 kWh). Other bus manufacturers already experienced that battery capacity and can go up to several hundred kWh higher.

VHH hopes to get the buses at the end of this year and from 2020 order solely electric buses to completely electrify its fleet of over 500 buses. The first 16 buses account for around 3% of the fleet.

"The company Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH) uses more than 150 buses to connect the metropolis of Hamburg with the surrounding area. The area served by VHH includes the city of Hamburg itself and the surrounding districts. The company's fleet is comprised of more than 500 buses, by far the majority of which are from Mercedes-Benz. They carry over 100 million passengers per annum.

As of 2020, VHH wants to buy exclusively locally emission-free buses for use in the Hamburg city area. In order to prepare for electromobility the Bergedorf depot has become the first of VHH's twelve depots to be converted for electromobility with a newly built workshop hall and the necessary charging infrastructure. The 16 eCitaro vehicles are charged at the depot's charging point using an ingenious charging management system. This technology ensures precise charging of every single bus to suit its specific application, without any unnecessary and expensive current spikes. In this context, the interior of the buses is also thermally preconditioned. This cuts the energy consumption for climate control during use and thus extends the range."

Mercedes-Benz eCitaro specs:

  • electric portal axle ZF AVE 130 with electric motors at the wheel hubs. The peak output of the motors is 2 x 125 kW, while torque is 2 x 485 Nm
  • up to 292 kWh battery for 170 km (106 miles) of range in SORT2 test cycle (280 km / 174 miles at best)