MAN Truck & Bus

 MAN electric bus from the year 1970

50 years of MAN's electric bus


MAN launched one of the world's first electric bus onto the streets in the 1970s. It transported people in Munich, Koblenz and other cities before the combustion engine forced this green technology back into the shadows. On the 50-year anniversary of the electric bus, MAN is releasing its Lion's City E onto the streets as an e-bus ready for series production, thus once again offering e-mobility the chance for a breakthrough.

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E-mobility in everyday life As early as 1974, the MAN electric bus rolled over the streets of Mönchengladbach, enabling people to travel in an environmentally friendly manner.

1970 was an eventful year: Apollo 13 returned safely to earth after an unsuccessful mission, the Beatles went their separate ways and the first episode of the crime series "Tatort" (Crime Scene) was broadcast on German TV. Yet one of the most significant premières took place on a test track in Munich: MAN presented one of the world's first purely electrically driven bus for urban operation – the 750 HO-M10 E.

The potential for electric mobility and its benefits in protecting the environment were already recognised by MAN 50 years ago. But the idea of a fully electric bus in public service was ahead of its time. More and more people were demanding better urban conditions, because the increasing "wave of motorisation" introduced more noise and pollution. However the political and technical prerequisites for the long-term success of e-buses had not yet been established – until now.

Series production is now becoming reality on the 50 year anniversary: MAN is launching the MAN Lion's City E as a fully electric series vehicle. This means that MAN can offer its customers the ideal solution for entry into e-mobility. "The fact that we set our minds on electric mobility over five decades ago, as one of the first companies ever, and have been significantly advancing alternative drive systems for many years shows MAN's innovative strength and ingenuity", says Rudi Kuchta, Head of Business Unit Bus of MAN Truck & Bus and adds: "Now that the time and market are ready for this pioneering technology and the political framework is right, we can offer our customers an electric bus that convinces with mature technology and a future-oriented overall concept." Although it only has one thing in common with its predecessor from 1970: the ambition to shape the future using electric power.

MAN’s first electric bus

There was global amazement when MAN presented its first electric bus in February 1970. MAN, in collaboration with RWE, Bosch and Varta, had developed an alternative to the traditional public service bus, which rattled through the city with its combustion engine. The new e-bus was quieter and more eco-friendly that its competitors and promised a better future.

The first prototype of the 750 HO-M10 E model finally drove on the streets of Koblenz in January 1971. MAN and the Koblenz transport company had agreed on a one-year series of tests in regular service. Up to 99 passengers could be accommodated in MAN's first electric bus. The 750 HO-M10 E had a top speed of 60 kilometres per hour, so it could easily keep up with its combustion-engined competitors. Only after 50 kilometres and up to three hours of driving did the battery have to be replaced at one of the RWE service stations. The battery was located in a trailer module that the bus constantly towed behind it. Battery replacement only lasted seven minutes, so the modern electric bus was soon able to continue its journey. By June 1971, MAN's electric bus had covered some 6000 kilometres in regular service in Koblenz – without any major faults and completely emission-free.

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could be accommodated in MAN's first electric bus. At that time, passengers could still smoke on the bus by the way.


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was the distance the 750 HO-M10 E could cover without having to replace the battery.


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was the time taken to replace batteries at the RWE service stations.


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After this successful test phase, MAN's electric bus also proved its worth at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. It reliably transported the athletes back and forth between the Olympic Park and Olympic Village – for up to 20 hours a day. The city of Mönchengladbach was also convinced by the performance of the MAN e-bus: it deployed these battery-driven electric buses from 1974 to 1979. The second generation type SL-E had a revised trailer module and more efficient batteries. It enabled the MAN electric bus to cover 80 kilometres with fully automatic battery replacement. In addition to Mönchengladbach, the cities of Düsseldorf and Frankfurt am Main also temporarily introduced MAN's electric buses into their local public transport networks.

The electric bus as a series vehicle

50 years later, MAN is now launching a state-of-the-art electric bus that is ready for series production. "Now that the time and market are expedient for this pioneering technology and the political framework conditions are right, we can offer our customers an e-bus as a production vehicle," explains Rudi Kuchta. Customers in Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and France are now testing the new MAN Lion’s City E in everyday use. But there are already plans for delivery of the first customer vehicles from series production as early as the end of this year.

Then as now, MAN is forging tomorrow's future and advancing the development and improvement of more eco-friendly drive systems. With the new fully electric MAN Lion's City E, MAN is laying the foundation for an electrifying future in urban passenger transport and for a better quality of life in our towns and cities.

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