MAN Truck & Bus
The federal government in Germany introduced the 2030 climate protection programme to set a binding legal framework for the transport sector to transform itself towards decarbonised traffic. MAN supports these targets and is itself pursuing the long-term objective of climate-neutral transport. Initially we are relying on the electrification of vehicles in urban traffic and investing in innovative alternative drives for long-distance traffic – this equally involves battery electric vehicles as well as hydrogen and fuel cell drives. Yet we will only be on the right path when our electricity and hydrogen originate from renewable sources and the creation and expansion of the charging infrastructure for long-distance trucks and buses has been completed.
As is already the case in the energy industry and energy-intensive industrial sectors under the ETS (emissions trading system), a price should also be put on CO2 emissions in the transport and property sectors in Germany. Commercial road traffic is however international and Germany is a transit country, so only EU-wide regulation can guarantee a level playing field for all concerned.
Climate protection is both a challenge and an opportunity: Germany is a global leader in the development of heavy commercial vehicles and can become a pioneer in the field of alternative, CO2-neutral technologies.
An important prerequisite for increasing the market success of e-mobility is the creation and expansion of the charging infrastructure: in this respect heavy commercial vehicles have specific requirements regarding charging capacity.
A core network of charging infrastructure at truck stops (700–1000 kW) is urgently required by 2025 as well as a closely meshed expansion along the major EU traffic corridors by 2030 that is coordinated with our EU neighbours.
Further development, standardisation and market launch of high-power charging.
The federal government in Germany is currently establishing a programme to fund the expansion of a charging infrastructure for trucks and it is due to be published in 2020. Important commercial vehicle requirements in this regard are a nationwide charging infrastructure as well as advisory and financing solutions for operators.
Hydrogen technology can be used in the commercial vehicle sector to extend e-mobility in long-distance traffic. The federal government in Germany has deployed its national hydrogen strategy that takes the first steps in analysing the fundamental issues. If the technology is to establish itself as an alternative to e-mobility, then the preconditions for production, logistics and use must be put in place.
As in the case of e-mobility, the specific infrastructure for supplying service stations with hydrogen to fuel heavy trucks and coaches will be required. This will also have to be coordinated with our European neighbours.
There will be a need to conclude partnerships with other countries to produce hydrogen from renewable sources.
Trucks with alternative drives – battery electric vehicles (BEV) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) – are quiet, good for the climate and eco-friendly, because they don't emit any pollutants. Funding programmes in the market launch phase should assist the acquisition of such vehicles, so that technical innovations can be implemented more rapidly.
The revised Eurovignette Directive is a step in the right direction: the infrastructure charging for CO2-neutral drives is to be lowered by 75 percent – this will make zero-emission technologies more attractive.
The proposed CO2 mark-up in the truck toll system from 2023 is a suitable control instrument for the transformation. Albeit there is also a need to ensure that the necessary charging infrastructure is available at that time, so customers can make best use of vehicles with alternative drives.
The climate targets cannot however be met just with battery electric heavy commercial vehicles or those driven using hydrogen. What is also required is decarbonisation of the existing fleet. This can only be achieved using so-called Power-to-X fuels. Shrewd geopolitical partnerships will however be required to ensure that the required quantity is available for the road traffic sector, because it is even more energy-intensive to produce these electricity-based synthetic fuels than it is to produce hydrogen. The task here will be to avoid new dependencies.
The sector-specific framework for using these fuels must be clearly set out to provide planning certainty.
EU-wide harmonisation of the approaches to decarbonisation and the associated technology paths is also necessary.
For the transport sector, this means it is not only the commercial vehicle manufacturers who are required to make their contribution to meeting the climate targets by providing zero-emission vehicles. There are also demands on the manufacturers of superstructures and trailers – because these also have a significant influence on the CO2 emissions from a commercial vehicle. The actual efficiency of vehicles in real-life situations is substantially dependent on the drivers and their driving styles, on route planning and on vehicle loading. Also the zero-emission technologies cannot be fully effective without electricity and hydrogen from renewable energies.
More eco-friendly and efficient solutions can only be implemented given fair competition. More severe test conditions are however currently being discussed for BEV and FCEV trucks than for traditional diesel vehicles. An e-truck's batteries should for instance be fully charged at the start of an endurance brake test. Yet this vehicle can then no longer recuperate the brake energy from the engine brake. This would necessitate the installation of resistors or an additional battery – which would mean additional weight and higher acquisition costs. There are at the same time useful technical solutions to be promoted that have been accepted and are already in use, but may not yet be used here.