Interviews with test drivers in St. Gallen: The MAN Lion’s City E convinces with a new driving experience without ignoring old habits.
Between 392 and 3,234 metres above sea level, the landscape in the canton of St. Gallen extends over 2,000 square kilometres. In inner-city areas, e-mobility in public transport is not just a dream of the future, it is already shaping everyday traffic: “In St. Gallen, we are already a bit spoiled by the e-bus,” says Ralf Eigenmann, head of the St. Gallen Transport Authority VBSG. Nature and environment are high on the agenda: The overhead contact lines for trolley buses are supplied entirely with green electricity – generated with hydroelectric power from St. Gallen. The path to environmentally friendly e-mobility is a contribution to the City of St. Gallen’s Energy Concept 2050. The progress is impressive: of the almost 90 vehicles in the fleet, more than 40 are electric.
The advantages of an electric drive are also felt by passengers – or rather: not felt. “My impression from the first ride with the new Lion’s City 12 E is that the vehicle is extremely quiet,” says Jonny Dörig, Head of Technology at Regiobus AG. Dörig also attributes the origin of the quiet experience to a detail in the E-bus that is usually rather rarely looked at: The battery on the roof has a stabilising effect on the vibration behaviour: “Overall just a pleasant ride.”
Strength and tranquillity are also highlighted by other participants in the roadshow: “There’s no phase of shifting gears, it’s all a really clean transition, a seamless transition all the way to the top speed you want to achieve,” notes test driver Arnold after an initial tour of the urban area. For his colleague Beat, using the electric bus cockpit is also a mixture of familiar procedures and a new driving experience: “I first have to familiarize with the gauges I have in front of me – I don't see a rev counter any more.” And the retarder, which he used to have to operate, is also missing. Nevertheless, Beat feels more supported than irritated: “You can really focus on the traffic.”