MAN Truck & Bus

Day 4: KICKING OFF A LUXURY TOUR DE FRANCE

The French say savoir vivre. We say savoir conduire. And what that really means is that we know how MAN drives. Today, we’re leaving Zürich and off to Strasbourg, including a visit to the European Parliament. Farewell Rösti, bonjour tarte flambée. Here are the highlights!  

Care products The workshop at MAN Truck & Bus Zurich has everything a bus needs to relax. Just the right accommodation for our Lion's City E.

Fast – not at all! Customs at the border with France proved to be a bureaucratic labyrinth. But luckily the team found the exit anyway.

06:45

The early bus needs to cover the kilometres

Today is our longest stage and we are entering a new EU country: France. There are plenty of exciting things for us to do there! We will be meeting journalists, hopefully lots of nice French folk and we have a rendezvous with the European Parliament, where recent discussions have often centred on the EU climate targets, the challenges of electromobility and other exciting futuristic topics. And it goes without saying that we’ll need to sample an Alsatian tarte flambée. We’ll pass on the snails and frogs’ legs though. When we left the depot this morning, you could have thought we were participants in the Tour de France - with a cry of “Allez, allez” we were off. 

The EU climate goals are not just a matter for the European Parliament, they have of course long been a concern for MAN’s employees too. By 2030, total emissions from the fleet of trucks, buses and vans sold by MAN are set to fall by 28%. Sustainability is a key aspect of the MAN corporate strategy. This is why in 2021 MAN joined the SBTi, a partnership between the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The group wants to face up to its responsibility to limit climate change. By becoming part of the initiative, companies undertake to define binding and science-based goals to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that harm the climate. Global warming should ideally be limited to 2° Celsius, or preferably 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  

10:05

At the border: a warm welcome from Asterix

We have nothing whatsoever to do with CO2 emissions in our Lion’s City E and we leave Zürich behind us with a freshly charged battery. We take the A1 autobahn, then head northwest on the A3 towards Basel. 

In Basel, we need to show our Carnet at the border once again. That should only be a quick job - or so we thought. No such luck! At the border, we were sent to a total of seven customs huts, all of which we were told would be the right one, but five of which were not. All we needed was two stamps! One from Switzerland and one from France! We stepped forward like in the “Place That Sends You Mad” from the film “The Twelve Tasks of Asterix”, in which Asterix and Obelix desperately searched for “Permit A38” that Caius Tiddlius had tasked them with finding. It was enough to drive you mad, but we didn’t allow it to rattle us. On we go. Allez! 

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Stage 4 France is calling – today we travel to beautiful Alsace.

11:45

An emission-free bus in a field of oilseed rape

Suddenly, an enormous field of oilseed rape opens up ahead of us. Bright yellow, gleaming in the sun. We need to go there! As well as undergoing processing for use as a culinary oil and animal feed, oilseed rape is also used as a biofuel. Bio is good! In Germany, rapeseed oil is the only domestic vegetable oil that is available in large quantities for energy production purposes. What’s more, from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, our light blue bus with its yellow accents made a stunning picture amidst this sea of plants. 

Two clichés in one picture Castles and vines: That’s what many people associate with Alsace. And they are right!

Museal The Hohkönigsburg owes its second career to Kaiser Wilhelm II. Visitors young and old love the well-preserved walls.

Souvenirs The castle souvenir shop sells the obligatory souvenirs and memorabilia. Of course, knights and dragons are not to be missed.

13:15

From 326 to 1 hp – how a bus driver relaxes

Our next destination on this stage is the mighty High Koenigsbourg castle, or the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg as the French would say. This imposing structure dates from the 12th century and was destroyed 500 years later in the 30-years war. It was then redesigned and reconstructed between 1901 and 1908 by architect Bodo Ebhart at the request of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The castle has been back in French hands since 1919.  

We have already covered almost 800 kilometres. Time on this eventful road trip is flying. I ask our bus driver, Heinrich Degenhart, how he plans to relax after this trip. After such a long journey, he usually relaxes on the back of one of his twelve horses, trotting unhurriedly through the Bavarian Forest. He’ll be downsizing from 326 horsepower to just one. Some people are strange. 

Political centre The European Parliament in Strasbourg is one of the most important institutions of the EU. Individual visitors can enter without a reservation.

Built on water The small river Ill flows through Strasbourg's old town, fanning out in the city centre and later flowing into the Rhine.

Historic settings The district of “La Petite France” is known for its many well-preserved half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets and romantic canals. A highlight!

18:00 Uhr

Electric tour and tarte flambée

As the crowning glory, there is a free electric city tour around sunny Strasbourg, including a visit to the “La Petite France” quarter, famous for its many well-preserved timber-framed houses, narrow, cobbled streets and romantic canals. We also pay a visit to the European Parliament. Finally, we got our well-earned tarte flambée, and the proprietor even had a nice glass of Riesling to go with it for those who’d worked especially hard. Bonne Nuit, Strasbourg! 

Text   Boris Pieritz
Photos   Lara Freiburger

#Day 4#ElectrifyingEuropeTour#Electromobility#Bus#LionsCityE
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