Hanover public transport provider, Ustra has concluded a framework agreement for 48 Mercedes-Benz eCitaro electric buses.

The first four eCitaro buses will be delivered this year. All eCitaro models in the order are equipped with pantographs for intermediary charging. The agreement is for 30 rigid and 18 eCitaro G articulated buses.

"In Daimler, we are pleased to have found an experienced manufacturer of electric buses, which, by delivering 48 eCitaro buses, will be the basis of our ambitious aim to completely electrify Hanover's public transport by 2023," said member of the Ustra board of management for Operations and Personnel, Denise Hain.

The low-floor city buses each feature ten high-voltage battery packs with a total capacity of 243 kWh. They also have a roof-mounted pantograph for the purpose of intermediary charging at the terminus of the respective lines.

The buses have safety equipment such as the Preventive Brake Assist active braking assistance system. Sideguard Assist on the eCitaro warns the driver when turning off the current road if pedestrians or cyclists are detected on the side of the vehicle to which the turn is taking place. Passengers benefit from a cassette ramp to assist entry for those with reduced mobility.

Hanover's Ustra transport provider operates 331 metros, 141 buses and four electrically-powered ferries in Hanover. The buses cover 38 lines and a total of 672 stops, which amounts to an annual mileage of around 12m km.

The company aims to completely make the change to electrically-powered vehicles in the city centre. This would allow around 3.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions to be saved on an annual basis.

The investment required for the electric bus campaign is around EUR53m (US$59m).