MAN Truck & Bus

Heading for the pistes – with low emissions

15 Feb 2024

MAN eBuses are already in use in several ski resorts, where they are reducing CO2 emissions. Snow groomers are also becoming a little greener – they’re using HVO rather than diesel or fitting hydrogen engines from MAN Engines.

Wintertime is time for skiing. Buses are already reducing individual journeys in winter sports resorts, and ski tourism is set to become even more sustainable in the future: MAN eBuses have shown that electric vehicles can run reliably, even in winter temperatures, to get skiers to the ski lifts. Snow groomers can also contribute towards protecting the climate, by using the sustainable alternative to diesel, HVO (hydrated vegetable oil, also known as “renewable diesel”), or by fitting hydrogen engines from MAN Engines.

Lion’s City E, fit for service in the mountains

Climbing lion: The MAN Lion's City 10 E proved to be extremely manoeuvrable in the South Tyrolean Dolomites.

MAN has a wide variety of eBuses that are ideal for transporting winter sports enthusiasts, ranging from the 18-metre-long Lion’s City 18 E to the agile Lion’s City 10 E, just 10.5 metres long. The latter was not only voted Sustainable Bus of the Year 2024 by industry journalists, it also proved itself to be as versatile as it is durable in practical testing in the Dolomites of South Tyrol. Through countless switchbacks and a total of 10,000 metres of elevation, it travelled down into the Val Gardena, up to the Gardena Pass, back to the Passo Valparola, picturesque Maranza, and after a quick detour to top up the batteries, back over the Brenner Pass and back to the start in Chiusa. The tight bends of the 531-kilometre route were no more of a problem than the power consumption, which averaged just 0.77 kilowatts per kilometre thanks to an incredible regeneration rate of over 50 per cent. The test showed that MAN’s eBuses are definitely fit for the mountains.

Energy recycling: During the test drive in the South Tyrolean Dolomites, the MAN Lion's City E achieved a recuperation rate of over 50 per cent.

MAN eBuses in Austrian and Swiss ski resorts

There is no longer any obstacle to the electrification of winter bus travel. The Austrian glacier region of Tux-Finkenberg agrees, with seven MAN eBuses plying their trade on routes between Vorderlanersbach and Hintertux over the winter months and between Mayrhofen and Hintertux as well as the Schlegeis dam in the summer. The MAN Lion’s City 12 E buses are saving some 122,500 litres of diesel every year, with the expected reduction in CO2 in the region of 324 tonnes, according to the operator.

Low-emission transport to the ski lift: the MAN Lion's City 12 E has been making this possible in the Engadin since the beginning of 2022.

Summit conqueror: In the Engadine, the MAN Lion's City 12 E reaches the highest point of the Julier Pass in the snow and cold without any problems.

The valley of Engadin, deep in the high alps of the Swiss canton of Grisons, is also using a MAN eBus as a low-emission way to take skiers to the pistes. Bus und Service AG (BuS AG, operator of Engadin Bus and Chur Bus) added the Lion’s City 12 E to its fleet at the beginning of 2022 and has since tested it thoroughly in a variety of operating conditions. Since then, the eBus has been in daily use in the region.

The Olympic region of Seefeld in Tirol has also been busy with the Lion’s City 12 E since early 2022. At the invitation of the tourist association, the electric Lion has been proving its versatility on the snowy Seefeld plateau in wintry temperatures.

PistenBully ready for renewable diesel – and running on hydrogen too

In the future, snow groomers will be preparing the perfect conditions for winter sports in ski areas fuelled by environmentally friendly hydrogen instead of diesel. This is made possible by the newly developed MAN H4576 hydrogen engine, based on the tried and tested MAN D3876 diesel engine. It produces an impressive 500 hp (368 kW) and opens up a variety of opportunities to decarbonise machinery far from the roads. “Hydrogen engines are a promising approach to speed up the decarbonisation of offroad vehicles,” says Mikael Lindner, Head of MAN Engines. “As soon as the market is ready for them, we will be able to offer bespoke solutions.”

Powerhouse: The PistenBully 800 is the most powerful model from the manufacturer Kässbohrer. Its MAN diesel engine can be fuelled with sustainable HVO.

Hydrogen engines are a promising approach to speed up the decarbonisation of offroad vehicles.

Mikael Lindner, Head of MAN Engines

Because the MAN H4576 hydrogen engine has the same installation dimensions as the MAN D3876 diesel engine, it can be retrofitted to offroad vehicles as required, such as the PistenBully 800 from Kässbohrer, the manufacturer’s highest-performance model, which is already designed to take a suitable hydrogen tank.

Ready for more: the new MAN H4576 hydrogen engine could also be installed in the PistenBully 800.

However, even before hydrogen makes it into the world of snow grooming, PistenBully operators can already make a start on saving CO2: the MAN D3876 diesel engine used in them, like MAN’s other offroad and marine engines, can run on HVO without problems. This means that customers can either use ordinary diesel or add HVO. “There is no loss of performance or disadvantage with regard to the service and maintenance intervals on our MAN engines, and even the exhaust gas processing system works faultlessly,” emphasises Werner Kübler, Head of Engineering MAN Engines. “Above all, however, renewable diesel offers clean combustion with up to 90 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions in the exhaust when compared to conventional diesel.” Because sustainability is at least as big an issue for Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug as it is for MAN, the manufacturer of the world-famous PistenBullys is sending all new snow groomers out of the factory filled with HVO. It is all helping to make snow sports just a little more environmentally friendly.

Text: Christian Buck

Photos: MAN / Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeuge