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Stuttgart. Since 2018, the all-electric eCitaro city #bus with a battery pack has been assembled at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim. From 2022 onwards, a variant with fuel cell technology for generating on-board electric power from hydrogen is planned as a range extender. These buses with their alternative propulsion systems play a key role in Daimler’s transition toward CO2-neutral passenger transport and bring things full circle. As on 12 March 1895, 125 years ago, #automotive manufacturer Benz & Cie. ─ also in Mannheim ─ delivered the first #bus with a combustion engine (an alternative drivetrain at the time) to Rheinische Gasmotoren Fabrik.
The vehicle was based on the Benz Landauer. This model was the largest car offered by Benz & Cie. and was based on the four-wheeled Benz models Victoria and Vis-à-Vis featuring a double-pivot steering system built from 1893 onwards. The #bus had a total of eight seats. By comparison, the modern Mercedes-Benz CapaCity L articulated #bus for popular routes in large cities can accommodate up to 191 passengers.World premiere for scheduled regular service
The first Benz combustion engine #bus was used by Netphener Omnibus-Gesellschaft. The company ordered it from Benz & Cie. on 19 December 1894 and used the vehicle from 18 March 1895 on the Siegen-Netphen-Deuz route. On 29 March 1895, the company ordered a second #bus, which Benz & Cie. delivered on 26 June 1895. Both buses were powered by a horizontal, single-cylinder engine in the rear with a standing flywheel and a displacement of 2.9 litres. The engine featured an automatic intake valve and controlled exhaust valve and was rated at 3.7 kW (5 hp). Cooling took the form of evaporative cooling, and a battery-powered high-voltage buzzer ignition was used for the ignition system.
A period description of the first #bus with an internal combustion engine referenced a lattice roof for luggage, the “Siegen-Netphen-Deuz” lettering on the sides and numbered seats. The equipment configuration also included solid rubber spare tyres for the rear wheels and one front wheel. The second #bus was similarly equipped but also has a signal bell. Other Benz combustion engine buses based on the Landauer were delivered to Vegesack (Schild & Cie.) and Nordenham (Johann Janssen). Additional customers came from Tyrol and Bitterfeld.
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