The CEO of MAN Truck & Bus, and current Chairman of the Commercial Vehicle Board of Directors of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) Joachim Drees, delivered an update of the company’s recent performance and what it plans for the future.
“These are the most exciting times since we replaced horse carriages with vehicles. Now we must go beyond and look at new fields in the industry. We are on the brink of radical change, and it is in our hands to make the right solutions,” began Mr. Drees.
“At MAN, our mission is to make the transport of goods and people more intelligent, safer, and sustainable.” He also stated that MAN’s solution is through electrification which the German brand and Volkswagen Truck & Bus owned company has become a more important player – “I believe the future for urban transport will be very much electric for goods and passengers.” MAN’s road map for electrification is clear with the 26-tonne TGM electric truck already being produced in Austria.
Mr. Drees is convinced the rate of change in passenger transport will be quicker, and his personal opinion is that “cities all over Europe will only buy electric buses from 2025 onwards – and I am very sure of this.” To meet this expected demand, MAN Truck & Bus will present an all-electric City Bus later in 2018 with series production set for 2019. He accepts that while many operators are interested in going electric, they are deterred by concerns surrounding the initial cost, the range, and residual values with the battery life cycle of approximately six years.
However the future is not all electric. Diesel remains important, and has a place, and Mr. Drees believes that: “Euro 6 is one of the cleanest technologies you can provide.” He wants politicians to realise that the commercial vehicle side of the business is part of the solution not part of the problem.
On the subject of autonomous vehicles, his opinion is that it will not happen overnight. “We will have several waves, and it will take many years for vehicles to become independent.” Though he feels strongly that greater automation “will definitely lead to improved safety.” Paul White