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Stadtwerke Osnabrück will increase electric bus share of its own fleet to 94%: 19 Mercedes-Benz eCitaro just ordered

Mercedes-Benz eCitaro | © Daimler Buses

Stadtwerke Osnabrück has come up with some remarkable news: with the order of 19 Mercedes eCitaro solo vehicles, the proportion of electric buses in the company’s own fleet will reach an impressive 94% from 2025 onwards!

With such a respectable proportion of electric buses in its entire fleet, Osnabrück is an absolute pioneer. Although Wiesbaden’s ESWE, for example, already owns 120 electric buses – which will be celebrated on 13 May – and is therefore far superior to Osnabrück’s Stadtwerke with its 81 vehicles (from 2025) in absolute terms, 120 electric buses are only 33.3% of the fleet in an operation with 360 buses.

When the new eCitaro buses are in service, Osnabrück’s municipal utilities will only have five diesel buses left. Note: it is actually astonishing that the transport company of a city the size of Osnabrück can manage with only 86 buses. This can only work if you have a corresponding number of private vehicles ‘on order’ on your routes and include intercity routes, which are operated by other companies, in the city transport service, and these currently mostly run as diesel buses.

It is also worth noting that all electric buses in Osnabrück to date are articulated vehicles (62 VDL ‘Citea SLFA-181/electric’ buses) – we reported here. Now, not only are the first electric solo vehicles coming to the city, but orders are also being placed with another manufacturer, namely Daimler Buses.

The contract for the delivery to Daimler Buses was awarded following a Europe-wide tender. Rüdiger Kappel, Head of Sales Public Transport Germany at Daimler Buses: ‘This order is another important step for us in the expansion of electrified mobility in public transport in German and international cities.’

Mercedes eCitaro no. 2123 from NEW Mönchengladbach is designed for recharging via pantograph. Here at Künkelstraße in Eicken | © Christian Marquordt

The equipment of Osnabrück’s eCitaro

The new SWO eCitaro buses will wear the municipal utility company colours of white and red. They will be three-door vehicles with double-width doors at the front, centre and rear in the interests of rapid passenger changeover. The manually folding ramp for wheelchairs will be installed at the rear door.

The coaches will be designed for 69 passengers, with 30 seats and 39 standing places. Numerous double charging sockets will be available to passengers for charging mobile devices.

An environmentally friendly air conditioning system with a CO2 heat pump will ensure a pleasant indoor climate in the buses. A roll-pitch control system (WNR) will ensure that the buses are quiet on the carriageway. All lighting equipment, such as the headlights and the outer marker lights, will be equipped with LED technology. A new feature is that the buses will have ‘ambient lighting’ in the area of the three doors, which will ensure that passengers do not get off at a poorly lit bus stop into a ‘black hole’.

Naturally, the new eCitaro will comply with the General Safety Regulation (GSR), which will come into force in July 2024. This means that they will have long-established assistance systems such as Sideguard Assist 2. The completely new ‘Frontguard Assist’ will also be added. All assistance systems together form a complete warning system that draws attention to people and obstacles next to and in front of the bus. There is also Attention Assist (AtAs), which ensures that the driver pays attention. The tyre pressure is checked automatically, while the electro-hydraulic steering system ‘intelligent eco steering’ makes it easier for the driver to steer the vehicle safely through traffic. And ‘Traffic Sign Assist’ tells the driver if he is travelling too fast, for example.

Note: In 1956, the then Bad Godesberg public utility company ordered a Mercedes-Benz O 321 H-L, which cost just over 50,000 marks, or just over 25,000 euros at the official exchange rate when the euro was introduced. Source: Bonn city archives. Today, a bus costs many times that amount. But back then, a bus could drive, turn right and left, let people on and off … but that was essentially it. Today, a bus can do infinitely more. And ‘stupidly’ that also costs money.

The electric drive

Osnabrück’s new Mercedes electric buses will have five battery packs, each with a capacity of 98.3 kWh and therefore a total capacity of 491.5 kWh. Mercedes thus certifies a range of 270 kilometres. And says: ‘That’s more than enough for a regular route.’

The new eCitaro will be recharged at the SWO depot.

Operation of the “Bus Plus” diesel buses with passenger trailers (built by Göppel in 2011) will come to an end | © D. Budach
Green instead of red as in Osnabrück next year: Hannover’s üstra took delivery of its first Mercedes eCitaro back in September 2020, here bus 9505 during the presentation at the stadium | © Christian Marquordt