MAN Truck & Bus
Breakfast Heinrich Degenhart (left) and Sebastian Lindner supply the Lion’s City E in Strasbourg with its main staple – electricity.
To the cashier, please! No sooner do you get going on French highways than the next toll station is waiting. There’s nothing you can do about it.
And the sun comes out again as we set off from Strasbourg. The heavens are smiling! Today sees us travelling from Strasbourg through the gentle hills of the Vosges, past plenty of vineyards, oilseed rape fields and fruit orchards, to Luxembourg. There, we’ll be meeting with Voyages Emile Weber, an important MAN customer, who is already running eight Lion’s City E buses. But first, we’ll be visiting the Rosières solar park, which has more than 1.4 million solar panels, and the Centre Pompidou in Metz, famous for its exhibitions of contemporary art. A little bit of culture never did anyone any harm.
As part of our ‘road safety education’ campaign, we take MAN buses to schools to make children more aware of how big the blind spots are. It helps to give them a much better understanding.
What an enormous facility! Not far from the French town of Rosières-en-Haye lies the 367-hectare Rosières solar park with a nominal power output of 115 megawatts – a ground-mounted photovoltaic power plant. Formerly a military airfield, it now hosts more than 1.4 million solar panels, standing side by side. Just count them! The operator says that the park should be able to supply some 55,000 homes with electricity. Ooh... Just imagine how quickly we could charge our bus!
Stage 5 Off to Luxembourg – a visit to a customer is on the agenda.
Here’s an interesting aside, as we meander gently through the French countryside: while buses in France must bear stickers on the outside to highlight their blind spot, or “angle mort”, our electric bus has an active warning turning assistant on board that uses cameras at the rear to monitor all the bus’s blind spots and warn the driver using different colours and sounds if there is a risk of collision.
The digital and camera-based OptiView system that replaces mirrors, significantly reducing the blind spot with wide-angle and normal cameras, also helps us out during these stages. Even at night or in bad weather, the system has clear advantages over a traditional mirror, because it brightens or dims dark or blurred areas. As part of the “road safety education” campaign, MAN travels to schools and enables children to experience just how big the blind spots are so that they can understand better. The blind spot of a bus is big enough to hide almost an entire school class.
We’re indulging in some culture in the picturesque city of Metz, capital of the Moselle department, with a visit to the Centre Pompidou, a contemporary art gallery and sister institution to the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris. The building catches the eye with its fascinating architecture, the work of architects Shigeru Ban (Japan) and Jean de Gastines (France).
Gigantic More than 1.4 million solar modules are located at the Rosières solar park. The site used to be a military airfield.
Twice avant-garde The Lion's City E cuts a fine figure in front of the Centre Pompidou in Metz. In a way, it is also a modern work of art.
The Luxembourg-based travel company Voyages Emile Weber is a family business founded in 1875. Today, it is one of the largest passenger transportation and tourism companies in Luxembourg and the surrounding area. Emile Weber is currently using eight MAN Lion’s City E buses on scheduled routes in Luxembourg – and has ordered a further nine articulated e-buses to be delivered later in 2022.
The company tells us that all the buses are technically sophisticated and run very reliably. To train their drivers on the e-buses, new learning modules have been created which are now a part of the “WeberAcademy”. The buses can be charged at five of the company’s own sites, installed at various points in Luxembourg. Emile Weber believes that the next development will be smart charging: in the future, buses will not be blindly charged to 100 percent, but just according to their individual needs. Each bus will then only receive the electricity it needs for its journey.
Pioneer MAN customer Voyages Emile Weber already has eight MAN Lion's City E buses in operation. A further nine articulated electric buses will be delivered before the end of 2022.
Family reunion Our Lions' City E gets to know one of his brothers. And Heinrich Degenhart meets his colleague Uwe Kohnen from Voyages Emile Weber.
Cultural jewel Located in the south of the Grand Duchy, Luxembourg City has 125,000 inhabitants and, according to studies, offers a particularly high quality of life.
Deep gorges Luxembourg is quite rocky and also bears the nickname "Gibraltar of the North". Accordingly, there are many bridges here.
We leave Voyages Emile Weber in the evening sun – it’s shining here too! – and we cruise a little more through the narrow streets of Luxembourg. This bus is extremely manoeuvrable. Suddenly, we are shocked to realise that our tour is half over. We have covered 1,264.7 kilometres so far, at an average of 35.1 kilometres per hour, and we have used a total of 949.6 kWh. We could drive on forever – it’s such a pleasant journey, and in a public bus too! Who’d have thought it? We’re off to our seventh country tomorrow: Belgium. We’re already looking forward to our next few exciting, quiet kilometres. Gutt Nuecht!