Mercedes-Benz eCitaro: Electric bus celebrates world premiere

Mercedes-Benz eCitaro (2018)
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D he advantage of an electric drive in the city bus segment lies above all in the locally emission-free use in city centers. In addition, the eCitarto scores with its almost silent operation. This is made possible by the ZF AVE 130 electric portal axle with electric motors on the wheel hubs. The peak power of the motors is 2 x 125 kilowatts, the torque is 2 x 485 Newton meters. The power supply is provided by lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of up to 234 kilowatt hours. They are divided into a maximum of ten modules, each with around 25 kWh (according to Mercedes-Benz it should be possible to increase this output to 33 kWh in two years with the help of a solid fuel cell). The four battery modules in the rear take the position of today's drive combination of gearbox and combustion engine. There are also two battery modules on the roof - two or four more are available on request. Each module consists of 15 cell modules and a control unit.

Flexible charging technology

Like his Car brothers, the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro can be charged with a plug. This is done as standard via a Combo 2 connector. However, the e-city bus also has the option of extending its range using a pantograph. Two variants are possible at this point: In the first stage, a vehicle-mounted pantograph should be installed on the roof. In the second stage, charging rails on the roof offer space and mounting options for a fixed pantograph of a charging station. Through recuperation, the eCitaro recovers electrical energy when braking. Mercedes specifies a range of around 150 kilometers with a full battery. Under ideal conditions, even 250 kilometers should be possible.

New technology for air conditioning

How far and how How long an electric vehicle can be in use without recharging does not only depend on its battery capacity or the route profile. Heating is one of the many factors that can affect rangeor the air conditioning. An extremely important control variable in the passenger transport industry. Because passengers neither want to freeze in winter nor sweat in summer. At an outside temperature of minus ten degrees Celsius, the energy consumption of a city bus doubles as it has to be heated up strongly. Conversely, the range is halved. And unlike with cars, the large double doors are regularly opened at the bus stops, which ensures a renewed exchange of air and thus also heat.

With the new eCitaro, the engineers are said to have succeeded in reducing the energy requirements for heating and ventilation and air conditioning by around 40 percent. As? The batteries are cooled by a separate battery cooler on the roof. The standard passenger compartment air conditioning supports the cooling of the batteries in extreme outside temperatures. The interior is heated by a heat pump. Side wall heater with fan are part of the usual picture here. A double heat exchanger is used to reinforce the front heater. A fuel-operated auxiliary heater can also be used at extreme temperatures. In winter, the roof air conditioning system is also used as an additional heat pump.

More passenger seats

The use of electric motors naturally brings extra weight to the vehicle in the bus segment too. The maximum battery set alone brings about 2.5 tons. Nevertheless, up to 88 passengers can find a ride in the new Mercedes-Benz eCitaro. The changes compared to the combustion bus are very limited. The driver can find his way around his slightly modified cockpit right away. Only the rev counter has given way to a power meter that shows the current recuperation performance and the power demand.

In terms of driving behavior, the bus, which is controlled by the acceleration control, should always feel the same. Whether fully occupied or on an empty trip, it always accelerates the same. If the driver takes his foot off the accelerator pedal, the sailing familiar from the car scene begins. Alternatively, engine drag torques or the well-known retarder effect from the diesel bus can also be implemented. A multi-stage recuperation rate can be configured using the electric brake lever.

Optical differences to the combustion engine

Von On the outside, the new Mercedes-Benz eCitaro will be discreetly recognizable by the model logo with a blue ā€œeā€. In the interior, however, the eCitaro already shows the facelift of the entire Citaro model family. In the foreground of the changes is a coffered ceiling above the central aisle, in which the new air duct with textile ducts is hidden. The interior lighting will also be switched to LED.

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