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Mönchengladbach: Four Mercedes-Benz eCitaro for the first electric bus line

Eicken terminus | © Christian Marquordt

On 11 November 2021, Mönchengladbach’s municipal transport company NEW started operation of its first electric bus line.

Bus line 033 operates between Breiten Graben / Venn district via Waldhausen, the city centre (Alter Markt) and the main railway station and Künkelstraße / Eicken district. Venn and Eicken are located in the north of the city, Venn rather northwest, Eicken rather northeast. On the way from one terminus to the other, the buses to the main station first head south to the city centre. According to the timetable, the buses take 33 minutes to cover the entire distance.

For this line, NEW had purchased four Mercedes-Benz eCitaro numbered 2121 to 2124 (the first two digits of the car number indicate the year of purchase). The buses have a special paint scheme that emphasises the “magenta” colour, which all Mönchengladbach buses display, especially at the rear, more than on the other cars. In addition, there are large areas on the sides in a relatively dark blue. And here on the sides, the e-buses show the slogan “My mission – no emissions” in large letters.

© Christian Marquordt
NEW 2123 charging with pantograph supplied by Schunk in Eicken | © Christian Marquordt
NEW 2124 Breiter Graben terminus in Venn | © Christian Marquordt

The buses are recharged after each round trip at the Künkelstraße terminus. This is done with the help of a pantograph that rises from the bus to the charging station (“Panto up” system). The charging system has be supplied by Siemens, the pantograph by Schunk. Most importantly, they are thoroughly charged overnight at the depot.

When Mercedes first presented its eCitaro, it was still said that the vehicle was primarily intended for overnight charging at the depot. But Mercedes also offered the possibility: “If an operator wants to recharge on the line, we’ll make that possible, too.” Mönchengladbach is one of these operators.

Another interesting detail about Mönchengladbach’s electric buses: NEW had originally ordered its electric buses from another manufacturer, who was also supposed to deliver in 2019. But the manufacturer was struggling with technical problems. When they struggled to fix the problems, NEW cancelled the contracts with this manufacturer and placed a new order with Mercedes.  

Line 033 runs every 20 minutes, and all four cars are needed for its operation.

NEW 2124 – Breiter Graben in Venn | © Christian Marquordt
Technical data Mercedes-Benz eCitaro NEW Mönchengladbach

Length: 12,135 mm

Width: 2,550 mm

Height: 3,400 mm

Passenger capacity:    

67 passengers

32 seats

35 standing room


Nickel-manganese-cobalt (lithium-ion) batteries, 2nd generation

Capacity: 330 kWh

ten battery packs on the roof and in the rear (where the diesel bus has its engine)

Electric motor: power 252 kW

Consumption: 1.3 to 1.5 kWh per kilometre

V/max: 80 km/h

Range per charge: about 180 kilometres

Mileage on the line per bus and day:

around 215 kilometres, therefore also recharging on the line (opportunity charging)                                                      

Recharging posts at Künkelstraße and in the depot

            Charging time at Künkelstraße: 6 to 7 minutes

            Charging capacity at Künkelstraße: 300 kW

            Charging time at the depot (at night): 4 to 5 hours         

            Charging capacity at the depot: four charging stations, charging capacity: 150 kWh

Manufacturer of the charging technology: Siemens

Expected annual mileage: 55,000 kilometres

Savings in emissions per bus and year: 50 tonnes

Savings in diesel fuel per bus and year: 18,750 litres

WLAN and USB plugs throughout the bus

Unladen weight: 14,225 kg, of which weight of batteries: 2,650 kg

NEW 2124 – Breiter Graben | © Christian Marquordt
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