6 Oct 2023
MAN is accelerating the switch to eMobility and has already produced more than 1,000 eBuses. The next model year brings increased efficiency, greater range and improved safety.
The bus industry’s flagship trade show, Busworld, which took place in Brussels from 7 to 12 October, saw MAN demonstrate how the company has been working with partners and customers to drive sustainable mobility forward. The direction is clear: MAN fully backs the goals of the Paris Agreement and wants to be carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest. In its bus division, MAN is relying fully on electric vehicles to achieve zero emissions. In the coming years, the entire portfolio of city buses and long-distance coaches will transition to electric vehicles.
MAN’s consistent electrification strategy and the expansion of the product portfolio is also reflected in unit numbers: the 1,000th fully electric city bus was produced in the Starachowice plant in Poland in mid-September, just three years after the start of series production. The Lion’s City 12 E was ordered by transport company Auto Periferia S.A., a subsidiary of Spain’s Grupo Ruiz, meaning passengers in the greater Madrid area will be carried to their destinations safely, comfortably and sustainably in the future. Grupo Ruiz already has 20 MAN eBuses in use, a figure that is set to rise to 60 vehicles by the end of 2023.
This Spanish customer is right on trend: more and more public transport operators are moving towards a completely emissions-free bus fleet and relying on fully electric vehicles such as the MAN Lion’s City E. So far, in Spain alone, more than 175 MAN eBuses have been ordered for cities such as Alicante, Badajoz, Bilbao, Cáceres, Leganés, Madrid, Málaga, Melilla, San Sebastián and Valencia. The majority of these will be delivered and starting work this year. “City buses that are emissions-free and quiet – like our eBus – are in particular demand in large cities,” reports Robert Katzer, Head of Bus Sales & Product at MAN Truck & Bus.
Scandinavia is another pioneer when it comes to electromobility and is likewise a key market for MAN: by the end of 2023 there are set to be more than 370 MAN electric city buses in use in the region. The latest deals include an order for 45 MAN Lion’s City 12 E buses from VIKINGBUS Danmark A/S. This transport company will operate lines in Copenhagen as well as Frederiksberg, Lyngby, Greve and Høje-Taastrup in the future. Anchersen A/S ordered 25 eBuses from MAN back in 2021, which are now in use on bus line 7A in central Copenhagen. The MAN Lion’s City E is also doing an excellent job in Norway and Sweden. Norwegian transport operator Unibuss is just one operator and has ordered 76 MAN Lion’s City E buses.
Across Europe, the market for electric buses grew by 45 per cent in the first half of 2023. A total of 2,567 battery-powered electric buses were registered over this period. This means that more than one in three of all new city buses (37.5 per cent) in Europe is emissions-free. With 260 eBuses, MAN Truck & Bus is in second place for new registrations. “We are delighted by this great success,” explained Barbaros Oktay, Head of Bus at MAN Truck & Bus. “However, we want to bring many more electric buses to our streets. 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.”
MAN also launched a newcomer to its eBus portfolio at Busworld: the Lion’s City 12 E LE. The low-entry bus is based on the 12-metre electric solo bus with central drive and modular batteries, but the new floor profile adapted according to customer feedback ensures superb comfort when seated. With up to 41 passenger seats plus a dedicated area for wheelchairs and pushchairs, and the fact that there is no raised area over the engine at the rear, the low-entry design of the Lion’s City 12 E LE makes it ideal for Class 1 suburban routes.
MAN is also working intensively to improve its eBuses. For instance, the 2024 model year will have a new electronics platform and a completely new cockpit in the Lion’s City E. At its heart is a central display with a 12-inch screen. It is completely digital and has a large, central notification area with layered information levels.
For even better safety, the Lion’s City E has new and enhanced assistance and safety systems – including radar-based turn assist on the right side where visibility is worse, providing visual warnings with clearly visible LED lights in the A-pillars. The CO2 air conditioning system, which is now fitted as standard, increases sustainability as well as offering further benefits: it is more environmentally friendly and also much more efficient, which can add up to an additional 25 km in range on the current Lion’s City E.
The 2025 model year will bring the biggest product update since the launch of the Lion’s City E. “Our Lion’s City E is in constant development. Nevertheless, 2025 will see a significant leap forwards,” said Oktay. “All our innovations are consistently focused on achieving further impressive improvements to the efficiency and range of our eBuses.” The Lion’s City 12 E, significantly optimised in terms of weight and battery consumption, will be able to offer a range of 430 km under ideal conditions with five battery packs, and up to 500 km in the six battery pack variant.
The highlights of the 2025 model year include next-generation batteries using the latest lithium-ion battery technology. The batteries have an impressive capacity of up to 445 kWh for the MAN Lion’s City 10 E and up to 534 kWh for the MAN Lion’s City 12 E. The MAN Battery Packs will be mass produced from early 2025 at MAN’s own battery factory in Nuremberg. To make this possible, MAN is set to invest some €100 million over the next five years. The aim is to increase production capacity to more than 100,000 batteries per year. MAN’s intention is to establish the foundation for the industrialisation of electric drivetrains. Depending on the configuration, these should be enough to equip between 15,000 and 25,000 eBuses or eTrucks.
Text: Christian Buck / MAN