31 Oct 2023
VIP visit to the MAN bus plant in Ankara: Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr Robert Habeck, saw MAN’s progress in sustainable mobility for himself last Friday.
The plant in Ankara plays a pivotal role in the transformation of MAN’s bus portfolio. On the one hand, electric long-distance buses and coaches are set to roll off the production lines there in the future, while on the other, the site is also taking on more and more development tasks. A Product Development Center (PDC) for the MAN and NEOPLAN bus marques is currently being created in Ankara, to include a new test track and a bus modification centre.
There are only a few places where you can get a better picture of the development of sustainable bus transport of the future. The site was honoured with a visit from someone particularly important at the end of October for exactly that reason: as part of his trip to Turkey, the German Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr Robert Habeck, took a personal look at the investments in the Turkish location and the advances that MAN is making towards net zero.
After a welcome from MAN CEO Alexander Vlaskamp and Barbaros Oktay, Head of Bus at MAN Truck & Bus, Habeck inspected the research and development activities at the PDC in Ankara. However, that was not the only place where the Minister saw the transformation of the bus sector first hand. The delegation then had the chance to see MAN’s eBuses for themselves – the entire Lion’s City E portfolio was available for trips on the new Ankara test track.
More than 1,000 Lion’s City E buses have already rolled off the production line since the start of series production and they show how capable and reliable modern electric vehicles are every day in scheduled service. And that’s only the beginning. Over the next few years, MAN will be consistently switching its portfolio in the city and nationwide bus sector to electric vehicles. “By 2025, half of our new city buses will be electric, and only five years later up to 90 per cent of our buses in Europe are set to be delivered with battery motors,” said Oktay. The company also has its sights on the electrification of its coaches, with the first eCoach test fleet planned for 2025.
“The mobility powertrain and energy revolution is changing the entire sector in ways never seen before,” said the Minister for Economic Affairs in Ankara. “If we are to achieve our climate targets, we must quickly and consistently decarbonise our freight and passenger transport. The steps taken so far in the move towards eMobility show that the company is actively driving this change and investing in future technologies as well as the development of its locations.”
During his visit, Habeck discussed the transformation of the transport sector and the conditions for its success with representatives of the MAN management board. “For the transition to climate-neutral mobility, we must significantly reduce CO2 emissions and consistently bring our innovative eMobility technology to the streets. Our aim is for MAN to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest,” stressed Vlaskamp, but he also stated, “Our request to politicians – and I also clearly told Minister Habeck this – is that we need support for eTrucks and the charging infrastructure. Our customers need planning certainty. We need 4,000 high-performance charging points in Germany by 2030 and 50,000 in Europe, plus sufficient power at motorway service areas and transport yards, and the necessary network capacity in logistics facilities.”
MAN is streets ahead in this. Within the framework of the Milence joint venture, founded by the TRATON GROUP along with Daimler Truck and the Volvo Group, at least 1,700 high-performance charging points are to be set up on or close to motorways and logistics hubs throughout Europe over the next few years. Nevertheless, solidarity across sectors and commitment from politicians and the energy industry are essential to master the transport revolution together. There was agreement during the Minister’s visit and the discussions begun in Ankara will be continued with MAN in Berlin.
However, Habeck also took the time to speak to MAN employees about the severe earthquake that shook the border region between Turkey and Syria in February. At the time, MAN provided a million euros in immediate aid and financed five fire service vehicles for use in the area affected by the earthquake. Alongside this, employees in Turkey wasted no time in setting up a fundraising campaign for the victims of the earthquake the very day it occurred, and later transported relief supplies to the disaster area in MAN vehicles.
Text: Cristian Buck / MAN