The thought of a city bus doesn’t generally evoke thoughts of environmental friendliness, but that could soon change as an increasing number of bus makers attempt to reduce their carbon footprint. The latest company to jump on the green bandwagon is Mercedes-Benz, which is starting production of a city bus with an all-electric drive system. The vehicle will be based on its highly popular Mercedes-Benz Citaro, which can already be seen roaming many city streets.
“Our city bus produces zero local emissions and is ultra-quiet through town. The engineers are currently undertaking thorough testing of prototypes of the new bus under the toughest of conditions,” Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler buses, noted in a statement. “As the technical concept, which involves a modular system for the power supply as well as optimized thermal management, makes clear, the Citaro with battery-electric drive will set a new milestone.”
Already, 50,000 Citaro buses are in production, and recently, Mercedes-Benz introduced the hybrid version of the automobile. But the carmaker is taking things a step further still with the all-electric version. Deriving its energy from lithium-ion batteries, the forthcoming Citaro will also feature electric wheel hub motors at the rear axle, and ought to be supplied with “intermediate recharging solutions” so that you don’t have buses gliding to a halt on the side of a road.
Most importantly, however, Mercedes says that its Citaro features “meticulously refined thermal management of the bus’s drive and climate control systems,” which will cut down on energy consumption and extend the range of the bus without expanding the size of the battery.
As more and more cities pledge to make their bus fleets run entirely on electricity by 2030, companies like Mercedes will have to find ways to adjust their fleets in order to meet this demand. The German automaker is certainly up to the challenge, as it plans on having the all-electric Citaro out and about by the end of 2018.
Currently, Mercedes is testing prototypes of the bus in extreme conditions, taking a page out of Waymo’s book. As a result, you can find electric Citaros meandering about in the Arctic Circle and in hot climates like Spain’s Sierra Nevada. And someday soon, you’ll probably see them in a city near you.