Electric buses – the countdown for the Citaro E-Cell is under way
Mannheim. The production location of the world's most successful city bus. Daimler Buses will raise electromobility in the city bus segment to the next level here in 2018. Before the Citaro E-Cell leaves the production line in Mannheim, 23 suppliers had the opportunity to exchange information about the project status at the Electric Drive Bus (EDB) Supplier Day.
All were agreed: The future belongs to electromobility. Especially when it comes to urban public transportation vehicles. A major proportion of city bus fleets is to be equipped with alternative drive systems within the next ten years. Daimler AG has been working on the development of the Citaro E-Cell Electric Drive Bus for over two years. Together with old acquaintances. And also with some new faces. Because changing to new drive systems also means making new departures: with new partners who have little or no previous automotive experience, and with innovative solutions. These are of particular importance when it comes to electromobility, as much shorter innovation cycles are expected for the development of alternatively powered vehicles.
23 innovation partners, 1 goal
The focus of the EDB Supplier Day: innovation and networking. To symbolize this, each supplier received a puzzle piece on arrival, and after a welcome by Gustav Tuschen, Head of Development and Procurement at Daimler Buses, Thomas Schulz, Head of Procurement at Daimler Buses and Daniel Vorgerd, project manager for the Electric Drive Bus, the pieces were put together to form an overall picture. Each piece of the puzzle not only stood for the individual contribution of the relevant supplier, but also for the network thus formed. “Together with our suppliers, we are embarking on a new era of mobility in 2018: With the Citaro E-Cell we are bringing a genuine Mercedes-Benz with electric drive to market – based on the product platform of the Citaro, the world’s most successful city bus,” said Tuschen. “The idea behind today’s event is to create a platform for an exchange of information by the major business partners in the e-mobility sector.”
The opportunity to exchange views and information was also welcomed by the guests. “The precondition for a successful project is to engage, integrate and motivate all the participants,” said one of the new Daimler Buses suppliers. “An event like this is just the right starting point for that to happen.”
A coffee break that was well worthwhile
The guests were able to deepen their knowledge in four topic areas at market stalls. Daimler experts explained the EDB vehicle concept and provided valuable information about energy management: It is not only operating range but also passenger capacity that plays an important role when configuring the vehicle.
At the market stall “Maturity”, the experts explained how important the commitment of each supplier is to deliver the right quality at the right time. Only then can the necessary “Mercedes-Benz reliability” be achieved for the Citaro E-Cell.
On the topic of “SOP Readiness”, representatives from Supplier Management explained to new suppliers what Daimler Buses expects of them for the series production start-up: available capacity, mature products, automotive standards and corresponding resources.
Daimler also attaches great importance to being “state of the art” when it comes to marketing: As an addition to the normal sales process, Daimler is building up an eMobility consulting arm so as to introduce the product into the market successfully and with maximum customer benefit.
During the subsequent get-together, not only the preconditions for the success of the project but also the challenges to be overcome were discussed. A coffee break that was well worthwhile: “With the Supplier Day we have set out to encourage communication and relationships with our suppliers, and above all between the suppliers, as communication is the key to successful cooperation. And you are the 23 most important business partners for our project,” Tuschen told the guests.
With the production startup of the Citaro E-Cell in 24 months, Daimler Buses will reach the next level with respect to electromobility. Now is the right time to sit down together with the most important business partners in the project, to discuss the next steps towards series production maturity and to address the challenges with flexible and goal-oriented innovations.
Another aim of the hosts was to communicate to new and old suppliers how Daimler “ticks” when it comes to e-mobility. This also coincided with the wishes of the suppliers: “For this project it is important to communicate with several points of participation, and to go into greater depth on a broad front both in terms of content and organization. We too wish to develop and intensify the communication,” said one supplier.
In line with the motto “Technology Leaders. Connected.”, selected suppliers were given the opportunity to exchange views on common visions and objectives with top management after the event. The conclusion? Here too, all were agreed: Mere words are not enough – they will be followed by actions. And the EDB Supplier Day was just the start.