The buses will be available with NMC or solid-state batteries (lithium-polymer batteries).

Daimler Buses revealed an articulated version of the all-electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro bus, the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro G.

It's about 18 meters long and can take up to 146 passengers. The German manufacturer said that it already received more than 60 definite orders (60 "units" we guess).

The most interesting part of the press release is however not the bus itself, but the "solid-state battery" option, hinted in 2018 and 2019.

"Solid-state batteries: innovative battery technology, a pioneering achievement in automotive construction"

Is this possible that Daimler already has access to the long-awaited solid-state batteries?

The conventional lithium-ion battery option is NMC - from 296-396 kWh, depending on configuration, available from H2 2020.

The "solid-state battery" (lithium-polymer) will be 441 kWh, which means slightly more (about 10% above the NMC). There is not many details about the cells, but from the previous reports we know that Mercedes-Benz was working with Bollore’s Blue Solution.

Bollore's Lithium Metal Polymer (LMP) (see info here) uses polymer electrolyte (instead of liquid electrolyte), but to operate they required a high temperature of 60-80°C (because of poor conductivity of solid polymer at room temperature). This type of batteries was used on a small-scale in EVs (Bluecars, Bluebuses or even energy storage) for about 10 years, but we doubt those are the batteries we were all waiting for when thinking about the superior solid-state battery technology.

The LMP batteries have metallic lithium cathode, so there are no other elements like cobalt, nickel and manganese.

We are waiting for low-temperature solid-state batteries, and the press release does not give us any indication about it:

"Solid-state batteries: innovative battery technology, a pioneering achievement in automotive construction

The eCitaro G is being launched with the NMC variant of lithium-ion batteries that have proved their worth many times in the eCitaro solo bus. The next stage of evolution has already been defined. It is expected that Mercedes-Benz will increase the performance of the eCitaro G this year by switching to a new generation of NMC batteries. This will increase capacity considerably from 292 kWh to up to 396 kWh. The range of the articulated bus will be increased accordingly.

At the same time the eCitaro G is beginning a new chapter with innovative solid-state batteries to store energy. They will be optionally available as a second possible technology. Their huge bonus: solid-state batteries are characterised by high energy density and a particularly long service life. Chemically speaking these are lithium-polymer batteries. They are known as solid-state batteries because the usually liquid electrolyte is in solid form. Also raw materials such as cobalt, nickel and manganese are not used for this type of battery. Equipped with seven battery packs, the eCitaro G achieves a remarkable total capacity of 441 kWh and thus guarantees ranges typical of city bus operations.

As the use of solid-state batteries is extremely restricted for fast and thus intermediate charging, the battery technology covers other usage profiles than lithium-ion batteries (NMC). They, on the other hand, are ideal for fast charging whether during breaks between journeys at the depot or along the route. That is why Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a two-fold strategy and is offering the eCitaro G with both battery technologies as an option. Thus the new eCitaro G is a custom-made articulated bus which flexibly adapts itself to the various operational strategies of transport companies."

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz eCitaro G

Mercedes-Benz eCitaro (18m articulated) specs:

  • 296-396 kWh battery (NMC) or 441 kWh lithium-polymer batteries (solid-state batteries)

Mercedes-Benz eCitaro (12m) specs:

  • up to 292 kWh battery for 170 km (106 miles) of range in SORT2 test cycle (280 km / 174 miles at best)
  • 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
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Fully-electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro G articulated bus complements the electric range from Daimler Buses

  • Next milestone on the way to locally emission-free local public transport
  • There are already more than 60 definite orders for the new Mercedes Benz eCitaro G
  • Solid-state batteries: innovative battery technology, a pioneering achievement in automotive construction
  • Mercedes-Benz electric drive campaign: innovative and leading-edge technological mobility solutions

The fully-electric driven eCitaro G articulated bus increases the product range of the Citaro city bus family. It is another important step on the way to more environmentally friendly towns and cities offering a better quality of life. With the new fully-electric articulated bus, Mercedes-Benz is further expanding its role as a technological pioneer: shortly after its market launch, the new articulated bus will be available with new battery technologies. This includes being the first bus in its category to be equipped with innovative solid-state batteries.

Milestone on the way to locally emission-free local public transport

Transport operators have been waiting for this city bus: there are already definite orders for over 60 of the new eCitaro G from half a dozen towns and cities – and the number continues to grow. First deliveries to several transport operators are planned for this year.

With this bus, Mercedes-Benz is consistently continuing the electrification of city buses. Two years ago Daimler Buses presented the eCitaro, a fully-electric driven solo regular service city bus. Today, the battery-electric eCitaro is already a series production vehicle manufactured at the Mannheim plant. There are now hundreds in regular operation in many European towns and cities. The eCitaro G now follows; the first fully-electric driven articulated bus bearing the three-pointed star which, depending on the version, can transport up to 146 passengers.

"I am really very pleased that our Mercedes-Benz eCitaro has established itself very well since its market launch. This shows that we are on the right track, offering products that our society wants and that our customers can work with. With the eCitaro as an articulated bus variant, we are consistently continuing the electrification of city buses: the eCitaro G will be equipped with innovative solid state batteries on request. In doing so, we are setting the course for sustainable and efficient passenger transport in urban centers," says Till Oberwörder, Head of Daimler Buses.

The articulated bus is ideal for operations in heavily-frequented towns and cities with large numbers of passengers and is an important factor for improving the quality of life in inner cities. The new eCitaro G combines the advantages of the well-proven Citaro G articulated bus with the extraordinary technology of the eCitaro and with revolutionary technologies for battery and electric drives.

Solid-state batteries: innovative battery technology, a pioneering achievement in automotive construction

The eCitaro G is being launched with the NMC variant of lithium-ion batteries that have proved their worth many times in the eCitaro solo bus. The next stage of evolution has already been defined. It is expected that Mercedes-Benz will increase the performance of the eCitaro G this year by switching to a new generation of NMC batteries. This will increase capacity considerably from 292 kWh to up to 396 kWh. The range of the articulated bus will be increased accordingly.

At the same time the eCitaro G is beginning a new chapter with innovative solid-state batteries to store energy. They will be optionally available as a second possible technology. Their huge bonus: solid-state batteries are characterised by high energy density and a particularly long service life. Chemically speaking these are lithium-polymer batteries. They are known as solid-state batteries because the usually liquid electrolyte is in solid form. Also raw materials such as cobalt, nickel and manganese are not used for this type of battery. Equipped with seven battery packs, the eCitaro G achieves a remarkable total capacity of 441 kWh and thus guarantees ranges typical of city bus operations.

As the use of solid-state batteries is extremely restricted for fast and thus intermediate charging, the battery technology covers other usage profiles than lithium-ion batteries (NMC). They, on the other hand, are ideal for fast charging whether during breaks between journeys at the depot or along the route. That is why Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a two-fold strategy and is offering the eCitaro G with both battery technologies as an option. Thus the new eCitaro G is a custom-made articulated bus which flexibly adapts itself to the various operational strategies of transport companies.

Mercedes-Benz electric drive campaign: innovative and leading-edge technological mobility solutions

With the introduction of the eCitaro G, Daimler Buses is continuing its promised plan to consistently introduce electro mobility to city buses and underscores its innovation and technology leadership. One of the aims of Daimler Buses is to shape and develop the future of global (bus) mobility in a responsible way. The next step is already clear: from 2022 the range of the eCitaro and eCitaro G will be increased yet again with a fuel cell as a range extender. This technology eliminates the need for intermediate charging and the complex infrastructure required for it in almost all cases. Nothing stands in the way of locally emission-free local public transport.