6 Jul 2023
A site between tradition and modernity: On the 180th birthday of commercial vehicle pioneer Heinrich Büssing, the politician got an idea of the future of electric long-haul transport.
Production of the new MAN eTruck will start at the main plant in Munich from 2024. The Salzgitter site will play an important role in component production and spare parts logistics as part of the MAN and TRATON plant network. On 30 June 2023, the Minister President of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, came to see for himself the current status and the plans for the future. Of course, one of them was not to be missed: the new eTruck from MAN, for which more than 500 order enquiries have already been received. Weil did not miss the opportunity to take the battery-electric truck for a spin with MAN CEO Alexander Vlaskamp.
Looking into the future: Minister President Weil visits the Salzgitter plant.
The Minister President was visibly impressed by the powerful and quiet running of the truck after he had left the spacious truck cabin together with Vlaskamp. "The next chapter in MAN's history is being written right now - and not just in Munich and Nuremberg, but also here in Salzgitter," Weil told the assembled workforce. "I am very pleased to be able to say clearly: MAN has a future in Salzgitter."
However, a number of preconditions still have to be created for the switch to battery-electric trucks. "The technological upheaval is in full swing. As early as 2030, half of our trucks registered annually in Europe should be battery-electric," says Vlaskamp. "For this to succeed, we need the support of politicians: in the Europe-wide construction of around 50,000 public truck charging stations and a CO2 pricing that makes e-trucks more economical than diesel." For example, in order to be able to cover long transport distances electrically, long-distance trucks should be able to be fully charged during the drivers' 45-minute driving time break. MAN is involved in the development of the megawatt charging system (MCS) required for this with numerous partners via the NEFTON project.
The new MAN eTruck is already technically prepared for this MCS standard, which is expected to be available from 2025. Long-distance daily ranges of up to 1,000 kilometres will thus be possible in the future. And with its variable battery configurations between 300 and 500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of usable capacity, it will also easily cover other typical transport tasks of today's trucks, for example low-noise and emission-free waste disposal in the city or the more climate-friendly collection of milk from organic farmers.
MAN is also making intensive preparations for electromobility in the area of charging infrastructure and is building 1,700 high-performance charging points for trucks along major European trunk roads in a joint venture with TRATON and other partners over the next five years. In addition, MAN is already providing customers with comprehensive advice on switching to electromobility and also offers the necessary charging infrastructure through partners.
With his visit, Minister President Weil also paid tribute to the commercial vehicle pioneer Heinrich Büssing, who would have celebrated his 180th birthday on 29 June. With his ideas for building trucks and buses, Büssing had a lasting influence on the Salzgitter region. MAN sees itself in this tradition - after all, Büssing's vision of future-oriented mobility is more relevant today than ever before. The entire commercial vehicle industry is in a state of upheaval and must manage the transformation to a world with emission-free and autonomous vehicles.
Employees are the key to mastering this upheaval. Further qualification and new fields of training are necessary to actively shape the change. That is why MAN offered all employees in Salzgitter the opportunity to show their relatives their own workplace as well as the production and logistics halls. In the meantime, the site in Salzgitter, which covers well over 100 football pitches, has developed into a component plant and spare parts logistics centre and, as part of the MAN and TRATON plant network, will also play an important role for electric trucks in the future. Here, the truck manufacturer employs almost 2,400 people and produces steering, leading and trailing axles, hydrodrive axles, axle components, crankshafts for the group's diesel engines, pipes and lines as well as CKD kits for export outside Europe. MAN's worldwide spare parts logistics are also located here.
The celebrations surrounding the anniversary weekend were rounded off by a classic car show. The association "Heinrich Büssing - Technik und Geschichte e.V." (Heinrich Büssing - Technology and History), with the support of MAN, had almost 100 traditional Büssing vehicles and MAN classic cars with underfloor engines drive up in Salzgitter on the anniversary weekend of 1 and 2 July. In various formats, the life's work of Heinrich Büssing as well as the industrial history of Braunschweig and Salzgitter were also presented to the approximately 5,000 visitors. Büssing would certainly have been particularly taken with the fact that his Braunschweig Lion has survived in modern form and is still emblazoned as a logo on the radiator grille of MAN trucks and buses.
Heinrich Büssing was born on 29 June 1843 in Nordsteimke (today Wolfsburg). He did not start developing and building trucks and buses until he was 60 years old. For his achievements, the city of Braunschweig awarded him honorary citizenship in 1923. Büssing died in Braunschweig on 27 October 1929. In 1971 MAN took over Büssing AG including the Büssing company logo - the Braunschweig lion.