Who knew that the bus will become one of the most important public transport vehicles in the world?
March 12, 1895, saw Mercedes-Benz (then called Benz & Cie) launched the first-ever bus powered by a combustion engine. Looking a lot more like a carriage than a people carrier, the eight-seater 'Benz Landauer' was powered by a 2.9-liter single-cylinder, four-stroke engine that only produced 5 horsepower. While that may not sound like much today, it was a breakthrough in bus technology over 100 years ago.
This got the attention of Netphener Omnibus-Gesellschaft, a bus line company that actually ordered one to be used on the world's first bus line. From steam-powered buses and horse-drawn buses, the company replaced it with the gasoline-powered bus by Benz & Cie. Their first bus rolled out on March 18, 1895, on the 15 km Siegen-Netphen-Deuz route. The company then ordered a second bus in order to keep up with customer demand.
This eventually gave birth to the regular bus service that the public can use to get to and from their destinations. However, this particular service only lasted until the end of 1895 due to the high demands placed on the vehicles by the slippery winter roads. As technology got better through the years, however, Benz & Cie continued to hone and develop more powerful buses that can transport more people on the road. This led to the modern bus that we all see today.
Today, the bus is in the midst of a technological breakthrough once more. Back in 2018, Mercedes-Benz revealed the all-electric eCitaro bus. It offers the same capability as a diesel-powered bus but doesn't produce carbon emissions which makes it more environmentally-friendly. Come 2022, the company is looking to release a new variant with fuel cell technology that will serve as a range extender should the batteries be depleted of charge.
With over 125 years of history, technological know-how, and pedigree under their belt, Mercedes-Benz is looking to further advance bus technology, while also transitioning towards a CO2-neutral passenger transport.