MAN accelerates change to zero-emission drive systems

Staff Report, February 22, 2022

Company presents near-production prototype of its new electric truck and reveals vision for hydrogen and other clean fuels for the future

German trucks and bus heavyweight MAN is accelerating its move to zero-emission commercial vehicles by bringing forward the commencement of production of its heavy-duty e-truck to early 2024 and developing other eMobility solutions.

While presenting a near-production prototype of its new electric truck to the public for the first time last week in Nuremberg, the company said that an initial delivery of 200 units will be made from its Munich plant in the first few months of 20224, almost a year earlier than originally planned.

In addition to the new emission-free drives, MAN said it is developing comprehensive eMobility solutions that prepare customers for vehicle use at an early stage.

Alexander Vlaskamp, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus.said : “We need to drive the electrification of our fleet even faster. However, we will only succeed in ramping up e-mobility if we support our customers in their transition and convince them to do so. To this end, we are creating integrated digital solutions and charging offers.”

In addition to accelerating the ramp-up of electric mobility, the commercial vehicle manufacturer is intensifying its research into hydrogen mobility, with the government of the German state of Bavaria providing a funding commitment of 8.5 million euros for its "Bavarian Fleet" (Bayernflotte) project, under which MAN trucks with hydrogen fuel cells are to prove their suitability at five customers in Bavaria in 2024.  

The announcements came at an event titled "The Future starts now - We pave the road to Zero Emission" in which the Munich-based commercial vehicle manufacturer received representatives from government, science and industry in Nuremberg. to present the prototype electric truck and to give the starting signal for the hydrogen future project.

Alexander Vlaskamp, chairman of the Executive Board of MAN Truck & Bus, said: “MAN is accelerating its transformation and taking big steps towards emission-free drive systems. Our focus at MAN and in the TRATON Group is clearly on battery-electric drives. They form the basis for our heavy-duty e-trucks, which we will be launching on the market from 2024. Only when sufficient green hydrogen and the corresponding infrastructure are available well after 2030 do we expect to use H2 trucks in selected areas of application. That is why we are researching the topic of hydrogen and the funding from the state of Bavaria enables us to build up further expertise in the field.”

Vlaskamp also announced at the event that the first 200 battery-electric e-trucks will be built at the beginning of 2024 and will then roll off the production line at MAN's main e-mobility plant in Munich. In addition, MAN will also perform in-house assembly of the battery packs.

The manufacturer is also in the Bavarian fleet (Bayernflotte) hydrogen technology project, under which the state of Bavaria is funding the research as part of its own hydrogen strategy and is thus accelerating the development of competence. The funding amounts to 8.5 million euros, with which MAN is developing a fuel cell truck together with its industrial partners Bosch, Faurecia and ZF. This will be delivered to five customers in Bavaria in mid-2024, who will test their hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in real-life operations for one year.

MAN also showed its future eTruck for the first time at the event, showcasing a model that will cover the majority of applications in the transport sector. The company added that it sees eConsulting as essential for the transition of customers to fossil-free drives in order to make sustainable transport easy for users.

“For a successful fleet conversion from diesel to BEVs, a holistic analysis of customer needs is necessary long before the purchase of an electric truck. After the decision for an eTruck, eConsulting then covers the operational phase including cost optimisation, route analysis and fleet optimisation and charging infrastructure,” said MAN in its statement.

The company added that as a central component in emission-free vehicles, it began building up its own expertise in the assembly of battery packs last year. MAN battery packs are made in its eMobility Technical Centre at the Nuremberg site, where the first packs for e-vehicle testing and internal tests have since been produced in individual production.

MAN’s statement added: “Battery packs are the largest units of vehicle batteries in commercial vehicles. The battery cells are integrated and controlled in them. In the series-produced MAN Lion's City E city bus, a battery pack has a capacity of 80 kWh. Six battery packs are currently installed in a 12-metre city bus, resulting in a range of up to 350km.

“At the Efficiency Run in May 2021, the MAN Lion's City E impressively demonstrated that it can achieve even significantly greater ranges under optimum everyday conditions. For 24 hours, the MAN electric bus travelled 550km on a public transport line in Munich - without intermediate charging. The MAN eBus drive showed what ranges are already possible today and that these also depend on influencing factors such as topography, driving style and use of heating or air conditioning.”

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