Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (rnv) launched its e-bus mobility mission just over three years ago with the handover of three Mercedes‑Benz eCitaro buses. Now, with the commissioning of 15 eCitaro buses for Ludwigshafen’s urban traffic, this mission has gained even more importance. A further 15 eCitaro buses are scheduled to go into service in the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg in May and June.
The new eCitaro buses are equipped with modern solid-state batteries. They feature very high energy density, about one fourth higher than classic lithium-ion batteries with liquid electrolyte. This battery technology is also free of the chemical element cobalt. The new battery technology each with an energy content of 441 kWh is available for both the articulated bus and the solo bus. Depending on the battery equipment, the eCitaro solo bus can travel up to 320 km without recharging under average requirements in terms of speed, topography, load and given basic climatic conditions. Another advantage of solid-state batteries is their durability.
The heating and air conditioning system in the eCitaro is also interesting, as it is based on a CO2 heat pump. Connected to the water circuit of the units, energy consumption is lower compared with electrically- operated side wall heaters with blowers. The range of these vehicles also increases in winter operation.
rnv vehicles come with impressive safety equipment. In addition to a reversing camera, the vehicles score points, for example, with Sideguard Assist, which assists drivers when turning, or Preventive Brake Assist, an active brake assist system specially developed for city buses. Passengers have double USB charging sockets and can track the route, arrival times and media information on a 29-inch monitor.
rnv put the world’s first eCitaro route into operation in January 2019 in the Heidelberg urban area. Since the three eCitaro buses have been travelling between the main railway station and the old town on the 20 route. Further electric bus routes followed shortly afterwards, this time in Mannheim. Since then, eCitaro buses have been serving a new district and a new commercial estate. The experience gained from these e-bus routes has now led to the acquisition of the 30 new eCitaro buses and the redevelopment of depots to include charging management and infrastructure.
Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH occupies a special position among local transport operators in Germany. It is the municipal transport company founded jointly by the cities of Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim and also oeprates in three federal states: Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. rnv operates light rail, tram and bus routes. With more than 2,300 employees, over 190 trams and light rail systems as well as around 190 buses, rnv ensures sustainable and environmentally-friendly mobility in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.