9 Nov 2023
Just in time for the sales launch of the electrically powered MAN eTrucks, customers and body manufacturers were introduced to the MAN eTGX for long-distance transport and the MAN eTGS for distribution.
The future has arrived: MAN Truck & Bus has launched sales of the MAN eTGX electric truck for long-distance transport and the MAN eTGS for heavy-duty distribution transport - setting another milestone in the decarbonisation of freight transport. "In order to achieve the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement, we as a commercial vehicle industry must do our part and reduce CO2 emissions sustainably. Electric trucks are the key to this," says Friedrich Baumann, Chief Sales and Customer Solutions Officer at MAN Truck & Bus.
For its part, the transport industry is embarking on the transformation: 600 orders have already been received for the new MAN eTrucks, the first 200 units are due to roll out to selected customers from 2024, and production at the MAN plant in Munich will start in larger quantities from 2025 as demand increases. "By 2030, every second MAN truck registered in Europe will be electric," said Baumann on the sidelines of the MAN eTruck Experience Days.
At MAN in Munich, 1,200 salespeople from 27 markets came to find out about the new models back in October. Shortly afterwards, around 40 body manufacturers and around 325 customers from 22 countries came to Munich to experience the new MAN eTrucks. "We are dealing with an unprecedented technological change in this industry, but one that is absolutely necessary," says haulier Pedro Campal, who travelled all the way from Spain to find out about the electric trucks.
For the MAN developers, it was clear from the outset that the widespread switch to electromobility could only succeed if the new eTruck was in no way inferior to a diesel truck in practice - especially in terms of its ability to be combined with a wide variety of body solutions. This is confirmed by Rutger Dautel from Dautel GmbH, a manufacturer of tail lifts and tippers: "We got a good impression here. It is a good, production-ready vehicle. The fact that the battery packs are arranged on the left and right and that we have the centre between the frame free helps us to position our lifting cylinder for the three-way tipper."
In fact, the positioning of the drive and batteries offers great flexibility for all types of superstructures. The arrangement also ensures good weight distribution and protected positioning of the compact drive unit consisting of electric motor, converter and gearbox. With short wheelbases from 3.75 metres, the eTruck can be combined with all standard semi-trailers. Even a low frame version for ultra semi-trailers with an internal height of three metres is available.
What interested the visitors above all: How do electric lorries prove themselves in everyday use? With up to six battery packs, both models offer a maximum of 480 kilowatt hours (kWh) of usable battery capacity. This corresponds to a daily range of 600 to 800 kilometres. For transport companies, what counts most is the range according to the battery configuration and fast charging, as the charging infrastructure is still patchy and "refuelling" must therefore be planned in advance.
This is why transport in urban areas currently has an advantage. They generally require shorter daily ranges of up to 250 kilometres, and charging takes place overnight in the logistics depot after the tours. "E-mobility is particularly interesting for us in short-distance and inner-city delivery transport," says Sarah Sarrion from French transport company Sarrion Global Solutions. "We are located in the catchment area of a number of medium-sized cities. At the moment, it is difficult for us to deliver to city centres. That's where eTrucks are the right choice."
Gianenrico Griffini from Italy, who writes as a commercial vehicle journalist for Vie & Trasporti magazine, emphasises another aspect: "Fleet operators have real added value because they can offer their customers a green carbon footprint." Hubert Schlager, Managing Director of Schlager Transport Logistik GmbH from Austria, estimates that around 30 per cent of transports can be carried out with eTrucks in the medium term.
The highlight of the event was once again the test drive with the eTGX or the eTGS. Dr Sebastian Simon, Managing Director of F.X. Meiller Fahrzeug- und Maschinenfabrik, was impressed, especially in comparison to conventional diesel vehicles: "The driving behaviour was much smoother and very pleasant. I can imagine that you feel much better in the eTruck on long journeys."
Sarah Sarrion was impressed by the quietness in the cab: "It's important to me to increase the comfort for our drivers." This shows how much companies value their drivers as important skilled workers whose workplace should be as good and safe as possible. Liesbeth Van Raemdonck also has her drivers in mind: "I like the MAN eTruck. In terms of driving behaviour, the drivers don't have to change that much. That's good, because they like the trucks the way they are now." The Belgian from VRD Logistiek is referring to possible reservations about the new technology.
This aspect was also taken into account during development. Gianenrico Griffini praised this in particular: "The eTruck has the same user interface as diesel lorries. That's very important when you switch from diesel to electric." Drivers can expect the familiar cockpit and operating logic. There are also electric-specific functions for controlling recuperation and battery status displays. One-pedal driving allows the deceleration to be controlled solely via the pedal position, without using the service brake. "Everything is actually fun when driving. Accelerating, accelerating and driving quietly. I think the energy recovery when braking is great," adds Bernd Mildner from body manufacturer Mildner Fahrzeugbau.
The offer from MAN Transport Solutions was of particular interest to transport companies. 360° eMobility Consulting looks at customer-specific operating conditions such as operating phases including cost optimisation, route analysis, fleet optimisation and, based on this, the necessary advice on charging infrastructure. In addition, there are digital tools that customers can use to check how their delivery routes can be driven purely electrically. They can also keep an eye on important information about the charge status of all the trucks in the fleet.
"I think the service programme is very important and I find it very comprehensive. I am convinced that the MAN eTrucks will be well received on the market," says Morten Pettersen from Norway. Andreas Jedamzik, Fleet Manager of the Behrens Group, also draws a positive conclusion: "E-mobility is the future. If you don't get on board now, you can't keep up with progress."
Text: Anke Kotte