Mercedes-Benz has received a large order for 54 fully electric eCitaro buses from Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB). The decision was made following a tender and intensive testing of several vehicles.
The Swiss transport company wants to fully electrify its bus routes in just two steps by 2027. The eCitaro forms the basis of the first order. In all, it comprises 38 eCitaro rigid buses as well as 16 articulated eCitaro G buses. The vehicles will be delivered in the coming year.
“We’re really pleased that from spring 2023 almost half of our fleet will be electrically powered. Our bus fleet will therefore become more environmentally friendly, quieter and more modern,” says BVB Director Bruno Stehrenberger. Frank Scherhag, CEO of the Swiss EvoBus (Schweiz) AG company adds: “We’re equally very pleased about the BVB awarding us the contract. It serves to confirm the effectiveness of the eCitaro and our associated services. It makes us proud that we will be able to make a positive contribution towards making the city of Basel an even more liveable place.”
The urban buses for Basel are both technically and visually equipped to top standards. Both the rigid and the articulated buses are equipped with ten battery groups each. They can be charged either via a charging connector or rapidly by means of a pantograph with a charging output of up to 300 kW. To ensure the greatest possible traction, the articulated buses feature a driven central axle in addition to the driven rear axle. With the turning assistant Sideguard Assist, the active braking assistant Preventive Brake Assist and the TPM tyre pressure monitor, BVB is also making a conscious decision for the highest level of safety. Equipped with either three (rigid buses) or four (articulated buses) swivelling-sliding doors, rapid boarding and alighting of passengers is guaranteed.
Upon entering, passengers are welcomed by a friendly and functionally designed interior. Grab handles and handrails in stainless steel and brushed stainless steel, sidewalls trimmed with needle felt and leather-upholstered seats make for a tasteful atmosphere. In addition to the regular special-use space opposite the second door for wheelchairs and pushchairs, the articulated buses feature another special-use space in the rear vehicle section. These areas are equipped with comfortably upholstered areas to lean on in the standing area. With a number of TFT monitors, passengers remain both informed and entertained. To enable passengers to use their own devices, Wi-Fi and numerous USB connections are available.
Even the drivers at BVB benefit from a high level of comfort. The driver’s cab is separated from the passenger area by means glazed partition with openings for speaking to passengers and handing out change. Cabs will also be equipped with a swivelling, heated and climatised seat with multiple adjustment options, including an electrically adjustable lumbar support. A CCTV system provides an overview of what’s going on inside the bus, while a reversing camera assists the driver during manoeuvring.
With their dense route networks and rapid tact, Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe facilitates mobility not only for the city’s inhabitants but also for those living in the greater Basel area – even connecting Basel with the neighbouring countries Germany and France. A total of 115 buses (of which the Citaro currently forms the backbone) serve 14 routes while 135 trams cover the company’s nine tram lines. In all, the buses reach an annual mileage of more than six million kilometres.
Last year, Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe celebrated 125 years of existence. But instead of resting on its laurels, the company is especially forward-sighted and even intends to complete the changeover of its entire bus fleet to electric vehicles in just two steps. In doing so, it will be fulfilling the specifications of Basel’s public transport legislation which requires fleets to be powered by 100 % renewable energy by the year 2027. Over the course of the coming year, the first 62 electric buses will be brought into operation, and of those, 54 will be eCitaro models. In 2027, an optional order of a further 64 buses will follow. As part of the changeover, the depot, garages and their infrastructure will be completely redeveloped. To recharge the vehicles, only electricity from renewable sources will be used. What’s more, at the terminal bus stops of five longer routes, stations for intermediary charging will be built.
In accordance with calculations made by Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe, the annual CO2 saving resulting from this bus fleet conversion will be equivalent to that of around 3500 passenger cars running on combustion engines.