MAN Truck & Bus has announced that the very first 200 heavy-duty electric truck units will be produced in Munich at the beginning of 2024, one year ahead the original schedule. The German manufacturer presented a near-production prototype of the new electric truck to the public for the first time in Nuremberg during a dedicated event held today, February 17. «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», stated Alexander Vlaskamp, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus.
The path towards MAN heavy-duty electric truck production
«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», added Mr Vlaskamp. This is a further confirmation to the words spoken by Head of Corporate Responsibility Stefan Klatt in this interview.
A Bavarian project on fuel cell trucks
In fact, MAN is accelerating the pace of the transition to fossil-free forms of propulsion and is getting ready for the emission-free future of freight and passenger transport. This also includes a further build-up of competence in the field of hydrogen technology. The state of Bavaria is funding the “Bavarian Fleet” research project as part of its own hydrogen strategy and is thus accelerating the development of competence. The funding amounts to 8.5 million euros. In the Bayernflotte project, MAN is developing a fuel cell truck together with its industrial partners Bosch, Faurecia and ZF. This will be delivered to five customers in mid-2024. The companies BayWa, DB Schenker, GRESS Spedition, Rhenus Logistics and Spedition Dettendorfer will test their hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in real-life operations for one year.
Green hydrogen and battery manufacturing
According to the current state of the art, commercial vehicles with fuel cells have a longer range than those with batteries as energy storage, but the energy costs of hydrogen in operation are foreseeably still significantly higher. The energy cost advantage of battery-electric trucks is the key to a rapid switch to e-trucks, which is urgently needed to meet the climate targets of the transport sector. Another reason why hydrogen as an energy storage medium will later become relevant as batteries for commercial vehicles is that green hydrogen will not be available in sufficient quantities in the near future and is likely to be used initially in industries producing steel or chemicals.
A central component on the way to emission-free drives are the vehicle batteries. MAN began building up its own expertise in the assembly of battery packs as early as spring 2021. The nucleus for this is the eMobility Technical Centre at the Nuremberg site, where the first battery packs for e-vehicle testing and internal tests have since been produced in individual production.