MAN Truck & Bus looks to the alternative powertrain future

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For future public transport and distribution operations; some decision have to made relating to national and city authority regulations: battery electric vehicles are becoming the means of choice. MAN Truck & Bus, for example, already offers series production of the MAN Lion’s City E and eTGE as well as the eTGM electric distribution truck. The all-electric truck of the new truck generation will hit the road from 2023.

Apart from the rapid development of battery technology, hydrogen (H2) is a good complementary option as an alternative fuel for long-distance transport, which is why MAN Truck & Bus is now presenting its R&D roadmap for this zero-emission technology. According to this, prototype vehicles are to be built as early as next year in line with the currently ongoing development projects. MAN is testing both the use of a fuel cell and an H2 combustion engine.

The advantages are obvious: On the one hand, this form of electric mobility is very environmentally friendly. When in use, fuel cells do not cause any climate-damaging emissions, as they only emit water vapour. On the other hand, thanks to the on-board power generation, their range of approximately 800 km is large enough for long-distance truck transport with a high payload.

The hydrogen combustion engine, on the other hand, offers a more readily available and robust solution thanks to the well-known basic technology and could thus serve as a bridging technology.

Practical trials in cooperation with selected customers are planned for 2023/24. The aim is to test the entire hydrogen ecosystem in transport logistics. As part of a so-called Bavarian fleet, MAN would like to test hydrogen for use in long-distance road freight transport in a consortium project together with Bavarian infrastructure operators and freight forwarding partners. Initial talks on this are already underway with the Bavarian state government. Cooperation with universities is also planned.

“We take our responsibility towards the environment and society very seriously, so MAN Truck & Bus is using a lot of energy for the development of alternative drive systems,” emphasises Dr. Frederik Zohm, Executive Board Member for Research & Development at MAN Truck & Bus. “Hydrogen can be an interesting solution here, but then infrastructure needs to be significantly expanded. We are happy to make our contribution by developing the right vehicles – as we demonstrate with our roadmap”.