In 2008 an arrangement to lease five low floor, air-conditioned, bi-directional, five section Citadis 302 trams was brokered with Mulhouse, France, through Yarra Trams' then French parent, Transdev. The lease agreement was $9 million for four years with shipping costs of $500,000 for each tram, with the first tram arriving in Melbourne in February 2008. The first tram was launched on 11 June 2008, nicknamed Bumble Bee 1, with the rest following suit up to Bumble Bee 5; all entered service on route 96.
Being surplus the demands of Mulhouse, they were originally intended to be leased only until December 2011. However, it was announced in November 2010 that the State Government was in negotiations to acquire the C2-trams, with all five subsequently purchased in the 2012/13.
Prior to entering service in Melbourne they had minor adjustments made at Preston Workshops, including improvements to the air-conditioning and additions to the Mulhouse livery.
In July 2014, C2 5123 was the first C2 class tram to receive the new PTV livery since operation in 2008.