Electric mobility is usually associated with cities and densely populated areas. The fully electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro can do more: Ludwigslust-Parchim transport company (VLP) in the southwest of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has now taken charge of the last 15 vehicles of a large order consisting of a total of 45 eCitaros. They are mainly used in regional transport.
The eCitaro in use at Ludwigslust-Parchim transport company (VLP) has been ideally prepared for this. Passengers appreciate the comfortable Inter Star Eco seating produced in-house with two-point seat belts. The seats are mounted on platforms in the front part of the vehicle. Cozy paneling for the inner walls featuring needle felt or WLAN connectivity and USB sockets for passengers’ devices make the eCitaro pleasant to ride in, even on long journeys. Drivers benefit from a climate-controlled, heated seat and an electrically adjustable inside rearview mirror, among other features. A partition across the entire width of the cab door protects them from potential infections. Connoisseurs will appreciate the rough-road chassis with increased angle of approach and departure for challenging terrain.
The extensive safety features include the active brake assistant Preventive Brake Assist, the turning assistant Sideguard Assist and a reversing camera. The Eco Driver Feedback driving style assistant supports an economical driving style. Last but not least, the striking paintwork of the buses in sulfur yellow with mint-green bumpers and stripes catches the eye on the district’s roads.
Ludwigsburg-Parchim is the second largest district in Germany. The Neuhaus office of the Lüneburg district is also used as a transport area. VLP currently operates 172 routes with around 200 buses. So nearly one bus in four is now being replaced by a fully electric bus.
VLP’s area of operations has a low population density and numerous villages. This requires a great deal of range. With a total capacity of 378 kWh and two charging plug positions on the right-hand side above the front axle and at the rear, eCitaro battery technology provides a solid framework for this. VLP, based in Hagenow near the state capital Schwerin, supports deployment through a decentralized organization: A total of 49 charging stations will be set up at twelve of the thirteen operating sites. 100% of the electricity comes from renewable production.
VLP’s and its partners’ commitment is recognized and respected throughout the industry. This year, Managing Director Stefan Lösel received the 2022 EBUS Award. The national environmental award in public transport honored him as a “personality of the transport industry” in the e-mobility field “for his exemplary and imaginative commitment to the introduction of electrically powered buses in rural areas.” VLP is the first transport company in Germany to switch to electric buses on a large scale in rural areas.
The VLP’s practical experience with the first two tranches of 15 buses each matches the expectations. This way, the eCitaro achieves a very good range, sometimes exceeding 300 kilometers in everyday operation in the selected configuration, and still returns to the depot with a safe remaining battery capacity of approx. 15 percent. This means that the estimated mileage of around 50,000 to 60,000 kilometers per year is achievable.
Digitalization also plays a role in this context: Ludwigslust-Parchim transport company uses Omniplus On services. Deployment planning and complex depot management were developed in close cooperation with the specialists at Daimler Buses’ cooperation partner IVU.
In addition to their fleet, with state-of-the-art and locally emission-free eCitaro vehicles, the Ludwigsburg-Parchim district and VLP lead in transport services among sparsely populated districts in Germany. The range of transport services combined with an extensive range of dial-a-buses has increased more than sixfold in recent years. The result is a bus every hour on 365 days a year for all stops in rural areas.