Mercedes Benz advanced European bus of the year winning Citaro bus has hit Australian shores and is about to start a trial with a major operator in Sydney.
The Citaro, which has won numerous major awards in its current incarnation including 2019 Bus of the Year for its Hybrid version, has been on the wish list for Daimler Commercial Vehicles local Australian arm for some time, but the 2.55metre width of the Citaro has proved a problem given local width limits at 2.5 metres. Daimler could bring the bus in and operators could apply for an exemption for a particular route but that then limits resale potential and route flexibility.
An example of the new Citaro, a Euro 6 diesel version was spotted in Sydney this week and the bus is believed to be bound for a trial. with a major public transport operator once Opal card reading equipment is fitted. It is believed Daimler is continuing its lobbying of authorities to secure a change in laws to allow the extra 50mm width that would allow advanced buses like the Citaro and other Euro spec machines to hit our roads. On the truck side the Australian Trucking Association is pushing for a move to 2.6 metre width limit for commercial vehicles which would give even more leeway for higher efficiency.
It is believed that Daimler has two Citaro 12 metre city buses powered. by its latest Euro 6 drivelines in Australia for trials at the moment.
Mercedes Benz was once a dominant force in city route bus sales in Australia but the star has waned in recent times with Swedish rivals Volvo and Scania and even its German counterpart MAN winning sales in the booming route bus market.
Daimler is eager to bring the Citaro Hybrid to Australia and also the Citaro Electric in line with the German giant’s commitment to low emission city vehicles and in particular its commitment to electrification as it has demonstrated with its truck brands. However the bus width rules remain the big hurdle.