Ahead of the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles expo in Hannover, Germany, this September, Daimler Buses has announced the world debut of the eCitaro electric city bus from Mercedes-Benz. The reveal is part of a push to eventually replace combustion engine-powered city buses in a few short years.

Aesthetically, the eCitaro doesn't wander too far from the template of the company's ICE-powered Citaro city bus, with a few future-ready tweaks. It features 243 kWh Li-ion batteries divided into as many as 10 modules – two on the roof, four to the rear as standard and customers can opt for up to four more in the roof. With all 10 battery modules in situ, the eCitaro tips the scales at 13.44 tonnes (14.8 US tons).

It will be able to transport around 88 passengers, and will initially be a plug-in battery electric making use of a Combo-2-plug, though Daimler will add a pantograph system for overhead topping up as an option to extend the range.

Engineers have managed to reduce the energy required for heating, ventilation and climate control by 40 percent compared to the current engine-packing Citaro. Daimler says that those savings should translate to a worst scenario range of 150 km (93 mi) in the summer months between charges. Under ideal conditions, this increases to 250 km.

But city buses obviously make regular stops along a route, providing drivers with the chance to quickly top up before moving off to the next stop, perhaps using overhead cables or under-road wireless charging installations. Even without making "opportunity charging" stops along a route, Daimler reckons that the new eCitaro could already meet nearly a third of the route requirements of transport operators.

Upcoming developments in the solid state battery space and the introduction of an eCitaro G articulated bus could see that figure rise to 70 percent in the near future. And Daimler is aiming to meet almost 100 percent of all requirements on city buses with an upcoming fuel cell range extender to cover longer journeys.

The first orders for the 2018 eCitaro are already in, and operators can expect delivery of their new all-electric buses by the end of this year. The following short video has more.

Source: Daimler

View gallery - 9 images