5 Apr 2023
Four months in the Arctic Circle at temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius, a total of 28,000 working hours and 30 engineers involved: the MAN eTruck passed the "stress test" in freezing cold northern Sweden with flying colours.
2024 will see the market launch of the MAN eTruck, MAN's first fully electric large-series truck, which is expected to achieve daily ranges of between 600 and 800 kilometres. Around 2,000 people are currently working on this project. The development of the quiet truck is already well advanced, but there are still some endurance tests to come. From December 2022 to March 2023, the eTruck was integrated for the first time into MAN's annual winter testing in northern Sweden. And the MAN eTruck, which is suitable for long-distance transport, proved that it also works without problems in ice, snow and temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees.
From December 2022 to March 2023, the new MAN eTruck had to prove itself on ice and snow in freezing cold northern Sweden. The highlights in the video!
"The winter tests were a complete success," says Dr Frederik Zohm, Executive Board Member for Research and Development at MAN Truck & Bus. "Our engineers literally put the new eTruck through its paces day and night under the toughest conditions," adds Zohm. "The maturity level is already extremely high and the development team is working with great passion on the further trials to provide our customers with an optimal product for the switch to CO2-free road freight transport." MAN engineers spent around 28,000 man-hours over four months putting the truck through its paces and optimising it in these extreme weather conditions. "The eTruck is the tangible and visible part of MAN's transformation," says Jens Hartmann, overall project manager for the MAN eTruck.
To ensure that the vehicle is in the best possible position for market launch, various tests and component validations are fixed components of the project in addition to winter testing. "Every component is subjected to a stress test," explains Carmen Theimert, who is responsible for electric component testing in the eMobility and Powertrain divisions at MAN. "For example, a battery must always be intrinsically safe, i.e. have functional safety. Even under the most difficult conditions." Among other things, batteries have to prove their resistance in open fire, when immersed in water and in the event of a free fall to the ground.
In order to bring the new MAN eTruck further towards series production readiness, tests were carried out in northern Sweden on four prototypes with different battery, e-motor, transmission, axle and cab configurations of the later series production range. Among other things, the overall energy management, the thermal management of the battery packs, the interaction and control of the powertrain components and the charging behaviour under the extreme winter conditions.
A dedicated, highly competent and cross-functional team from nine development areas came together at the Arctic Circle. "Interdisciplinary teams are the key to making the eTruck ready for all customer requirements and operating conditions," explains Rainer Miksch, Vice President Vehicle Testing, MAN Truck & Bus. "Because our goal is to already be able to cover a large part of today's application portfolio electrically with the new eTruck," Miksch continues. "This ranges from distribution transport of all kinds to heavy long-distance transport."
The CO2-free long-distance transport of refrigerated goods in the classic articulated truck combination will thus be just as possible as the collection of milk from the organic farmer with the electric food tanker or the low-noise and emission-free waste disposal in the city.
The winter testing was just the beginning of a series of numerous tests that still lie ahead for the new MAN eTruck and its components until the market launch. In addition to the winter test in Sweden, the new eTruck will cover many hundreds of thousands of kilometres in continuous operation on European roads. In addition, the so-called hot country test will also take place in the south of Spain in the summer - with outside temperatures well above plus 40 degrees and strong sunlight. There, the components are strongly heated up and very specific demands are placed on the temperature control of the batteries, the charging management, but also on the powertrain components.
Rainer Miksch sums it up: "Meeting the different operating conditions with a view to the diverse applications of our customers is the art of commercial vehicle development." But now that the eTruck has more than fulfilled the MAN team's expectations in winter testing, the entire test and development team is already looking forward to the upcoming validations and summer testing in order to get a step closer to large-scale production of the electric truck.
Text: Boris Pieritz