I've been passionate about the bus since I joined EvoBus. Good working atmosphere, great colleagues and more than just a job. And of course great products. But wait.
When I think about it, every day on my way to work, I see many buses in our Neu-Ulm plant and – wherever I am – everywhere on the street. But steer a bus by hand at the wheel? None. UNTIL NOW! But can I do it this easy?
In October it was actually time. Only a few minutes separated me from my long-awaited wish: finally once even drive a bus. Finally the opportunity to experience and test our products, for which I have worked with enthusiasm for years.
This dream was made possible by a dedicated EvoBus team, which gave me and 299 other colleagues the opportunity to ride the latest models of our house on the former military training ground in Münsingen. Whether travel, city or even electric bus bus – I was allowed to take a seat anywhere behind the wheel. And how does it feel to drive a steel body up to 21 meters long? You can read this in my following "Test Report".
Setra S 515 HD
Length: 12.3 meters, height: 3.8 meters, seats (standard): 51, gross vehicle weight: 18 tons; Power: 315 kW (428 hp) (standard)
Let's start with the Setra S 515 HD. Of course I drove a bit slower in the beginning, because I first had to get an overview of this 12.3-meter-long and 3.8-meter-high coach from the Comfort Class.
Thanks to the mirrors, with which one could estimate very well, how far one is still away from the edge of the vehicle, but everything went very fast. And so I went faster and faster then by and by. I felt really comfortable in the cockpit. It simply radiates a high value and offers an optimal overview and operating logic. Whether cruise control, radio or the numerous assistance systems – everything could be optimally controlled by the modern multi-function wheel.
Length: 21 meters; Height: 3.1 meters; Seats (standard): 45; permissible total weight: 32 tons; Power: 265 kW (360 hp) (standard)
Then it went with the CapaCity L. Wow, I noticed right away that he is a very different number from the length. In the 21 meters, you had to watch out in the curves already hellish. On the CapaCity L, which offers a total of 191 passengers as standard, I particularly liked that it can be steered more direct and in my opinion accelerates better with its 360 hp than the Setra.
But maybe that was simply because of my foot and my growing self-confidence. The dynamic articulation angle control Articulation Turntable Controller (ATC) definitely ensured the best possible steering behavior as well as a high degree of stability and maneuverability when driving.
Length: 12.1 meters; Height: 3.4 meters; Seats (standard): 29; permissible total weight: 20 tons; Power: 250 kW (340 hp) (standard)
Before the lunch break, I was also allowed to experience our brand new, fully electrically powered and emission-free eCitaro. I really wanted to test it out. And I have to say: great! He drives super fluid and it is really fun, with the 12.1 meter long and 3.4 meter high city bus to board through the curves.
Striking: the eCitaro always accelerates with the same dynamics, which on the one hand prevents unnecessary energy consumption and on the other hand ensures a passenger-friendly driving style. The engine noise is almost impossible to hear; if then only the "typical" driving noise such as the rattling of the seats or the squeaking of the tires.
And the design is also top notch: the eCitaro harmoniously combines the tried and tested classic look of a city bus with the futuristic design language of future bus generations. A really great experience!
Setra S 531 DT
Length: 14 meters, Altitude: 4 meters, Seats (standard): 83; gross vehicle weight: 26 tonnes; Power: 375 kW (509 hp) (standard)
"Woah, I'm going to tip right now?" – This question popped through my mind as I drove around the bend for the first time with the 14-meter-long and four-meter-high biplane from the Setra TopClass. After the rather deep city buses, of course, that was a big change.
The coaches are generally softer from the steering than the city buses, but you also get used to it. The "cruising" with the 510-hp biplane, which offers space for 83 passengers, was definitely one of the highlights of the day!
Safety Coach (Tourismo M / 2)
Length: 13.1 meters, Altitude: 3.7 meters, Seats (standard): 55; permissible total weight: 19.5 tons; Power: 265 kW (360 hp) (standard)
Stylish, modern and full of safety systems – that's how the Mercedes-Benz Safety Coach can be described succinctly. But not only outwardly, the bright yellow Bus Tourismo M / 2 is a real eye-catcher, he also has a lot to offer in technical terms. The top-of-the-line OM 470 engine, available between 360 hp and 394 hp, combines high driving dynamics with low energy consumption.
The Safety Coach is also great to drive. We were able to try out many new assistance systems such as ABA 4 or the Sideguard Assist. This is always exciting, whether you are just sitting there or driving yourself.
Setra S 516 HDH
Length: 13.3 meters, Altitude: 3.9 meters, Seats (standard): 55, gross vehicle weight: 24.75 tons, Power: 350 kW (476 hp)
Last but not least, I drove the "queen" among the coaches – the Setra S 516 HDH. And I have to say: the 13.3 meter long and 3.9 meter high TopClass bus did what it promised! That started with the position of the driver's seat. At 1.07 meters, it is significantly higher than other coaches. So you can look beautiful from top to bottom – just like a queen.
I was also allowed to try out some driver assistance systems. For example, the Lane Assistant: already impressive how the bus keeps the track when you take your hands off the handlebars.
After six buses in seven hours, the day ended much too soon. Whether Mercedes-Benz or Setra, I find that both brands have an impressive history and a great development behind them and we have benefited greatly from the combination of both brands.
The idea of putting on such an event is great. I think it is incredibly important that employees have the chance to personally experience and experience our products. And I believe that anyone who has participated here will go to work in the future with a completely different view.
A big thank you goes to the Team Leadership 2020 Basecamp Daimler Buses, which gave me and 299 other employees an unforgettable experience. I hope that such events will continue to be offered in the future so that even more colleagues have the opportunity to experience our products first-hand.