Mercedes-Benz launches the first electric chassis produced in Brazil: eO500U

From São Bernardo do Campo, there will be exports; autonomy is 250 km and operators in São Paulo have already shown interest

ADAMO BAZANI/JESSICA MARQUES

Mercedes-Benz announced this Wednesday morning, August 25, 2021, the launch of its first production electric bus chassis in Brazil.

This is the low-floor eO500U model for bodies up to 13.2 meters. The batteries will fully recharge between two and a half and three hours. According to Mercedes-Benz, the autonomy will be 250 kilometers. With six battery packs, it will be possible to reach 300 kilometers. There are four pack version.

Batteries represent around 50% of the total value of the bus and the forecast is for a replacement every 15 years.

The charging system will be Plug-In, that is, charging with connectors at fixed points. The price of this vehicle can be between three and four times higher than a diesel simulator.

SALES

Operators in the city of São Paulo are already interested in purchasing the product. In Vitória (ES) and Salvador (BA), there are also interested parties.

For the capital of São Paulo, there is already a market expected to start with around 150 units.

The production will be at the plant in São Bernardo do Campo, in ABC Paulista, both for the domestic market and for exports. The first units are expected to operate in 2022.

CHASSIS DETAILS

“The eO500U was created, developed and will be produced in Brazil, for Brazilian conditions, for Latin America, countries in Europe and Oceania, where it will be exported. It is a product from Brazil to the world”, said at a press conference, with the participation of Transport Journal, the Vice President of Sales, Marketing and After-Sales of Trucks and Buses, Mercedes-Benz, Roberto Leoncini.

The tests were carried out in partnership between the development centers in Brazil and Germany.

“The eO500U chassis is a standard 4×2 low-floor model for bodies up to 13.2 meters in length. As great differentials, the eO500U will have a range of 250 kilometers, the longest range of electric buses in Brazil, in addition to the largest passenger transport capacity in this segment. With the electric motor integrated into the rear axle, the eO500U will come equipped with an EBS electronic brake and energy regeneration system. The instrument panel is new to adapt to new control needs and provide specific information on the electric motor, batteries and other electronic systems.” explained the sales and marketing director for buses at Mercedes-Benz do Brasil, Walter Barbosa.

The engines are coupled to the axles, with no cardan axle, yielding a power equivalent to 250 horsepower.

“The battery recharge system is plug-in, in the same technological standard used by Daimler in its electric buses, and takes two and a half hours three hours to fully recharge”, completed.

In response to a question from the Transport Journal, Barbosa also clarified that from the beginning of next year the bodybuilders will develop bodies for this product.

In addition, the executive detailed the product’s technical specifications. “In relation to the O500U diesel, it weighs approximately 2,100 kg more, it is 14,800 kg considering chassis + body, against 12,800 kg for a diesel vehicle, with a similar body. Just for the chassis, the tare weight is 8,100 kg against 6,000 kg for the O500U”, he explained. The chassis has a capacity for 29 seats and the possibility of 83 passengers.

Regarding the battery, there are two packs in the rear and up to four more in the upper part of the vehicle. It can be up to six packs, but the production is currently being done to meet the current market need, so it will be for four, two above and two below.

Details about the composition of the battery cannot yet be released by the manufacturer.

TESTS

Also at a press conference, the Product Development manager, Arno Pruellage, said that the prototypes were sent from Brazil to Germany. Among the items tested are acoustics, brakes, air conditioning and vehicle electrical voltage systems.

Next month the first more severe field tests on Brazilian streets should begin.

BODYWORKS

The test model received the Brazilian Caio body, Millennium IV model.

According to Walter Barbosa, there are already negotiations with other national manufacturers.

In Brazil, in addition to Caio, the brands Marcopolo and Neobus (from the same group), Mascarello and Comil produce urban bodies.

INVESTMENTS AND MARKET

For the development of the model, Mercedes-Benz says it invested R$ 100 million in part of the preparation of the line, in tests, prototypes, engineering, training and supplier networks.

For Walter Barbosa, the moment for launching this product is currently the most appropriate.

“Five years ago, the market was not yet ready for electric buses. Today begins another reality, a beginning”

The executive says he sees a market for these buses in municipalities that separate public fares from technical fares, that is, where there are subsidies.

That’s why the capital of São Paulo must be one of the main markets, since there is a law that determines a clean fleet being gradually introduced until, in 2037, CO2 emissions are zeroed by buses in the capital.

Mercedes-Benz is evaluating larger and smaller electric vehicles to serve different segments, including high floors.

The tested and presented model follows the specifications of SPTrans (São Paulo Transporte), manager of the system in the city of São Paulo.

Check out the model presentation images:

Adamo Bazani and Jessica Marques

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