MAN Truck & Bus

DAY 6: A VISIT TO A VERY SPECIAL TRADE FAIR

“Busworld”, as the name implies, is the most important bus trade fair in the world. Next year, after an enforced break due to Covid, it will finally be back in Brussels. We’ve already been there! Today’s programme also included a whole lot of wind and water energy and the mighty citadel of Dinant. Here are the highlights!  

Full of energy At the start in Luxembourg, the battery was fully charged. And thanks to Heinrich Degenhart's "recuperating feet", the bus drove extremely economically again today.  

Winding After the Obersauer reservoir, the river "Sauer" meanders further towards the Moselle.

07:45

Mussels are a must

You must try the mussels, they said. Everyone! They told us in Strasbourg, then in Luxembourg, and then really laid it on thick in Brussels. They call them “Moules-frites” in Brussels, they said. You have to try them! Ok, fine, we will... But first we’ll be crossing the imposing dam holding back the Esch-sur-Sûre reservoir, wafting as silently as the wind past an enormous wind park near Sainte-Ode in Belgium and paying an awestruck visit to the citadel of Dinant. 

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Lions fan Yoni Dardenne is 13 and a passionate bus spotter. 

09:00

Ms Glorieux and the Atomium

After the bus enjoyed a 40 kilowatt overnight top up last night, we set off promptly at 09:00 towards Brussels. There was another significant highlight awaiting us there, with our visit to “Busworld” which is finally set to take place again in autumn 2023. On the site of the top bus trade fair, we want to meet the Events Managing Director Mieke Glorieux, who has a warm welcome waiting for us with a tour of the site and time for a stimulating conversation. She has also arranged a photo opportunity at the Atomium. These Belgians can really get things done! 

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Stage 6 Brussels is calling - and the most important bus fair in the world. 

10:15

Don’t look down!

First though, we’re off to the Esch-sur-Sûre dam, cruising along beautiful Luxembourgish and  

French highways that wind their way through the hilly landscape. When we were stuck behind a slow, old, chugging diesel bus from another maker for several kilometres, our driver Heinrich Degenhart got rather hot under the (MAN) collar. There was an incomprehensible outburst of Bavarian grumbling as he urged them to “Drive faster, for Pete’s sake”. 

Then we arrived at an imposing dam. The enormous, curved dam wall was built between 1955 and 1958 and is 47 metres high. Looking down is enough to make you dizzy! The dam, also known in Luxembourgish as the “Stauséi Uewersauer”, is the largest lake in Luxembourg, with an area of 3.8 square kilometres and a capacity of around 60 million cubic metres of water. Some 200 million cubic metres of water flow through it each year. The dam wall also houses two turbines to generate electricity, each with an output of 5,500 kilowatts. 

Musically Dinant is located in the Belgian province of Namur. The town is the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. Let's play! 

Well fortified The citadel of Dinant is enthroned on a high rock on the Meuse. Today it serves as a museum. 

11:10

Even more electricity, but wind power this time

After around 15 minutes, we cross the Belgian border. We’ve reached country number seven! Shortly after the border, the fields alongside the N4, our current road, are dotted with enormous wind turbines. This region, where France, Luxembourg and Belgium meet, has done a lot for the energy revolution. A word about energy: As we drive past the ponderously turning wind turbines for several kilometres, our bus is managing outstanding energy values once again. The regeneration rate is currently an incredible 34%, despite a few climbs and lots of motorway driving. 

We are set to complete this stage too without any problems and with plenty of range remaining. Then we’re arriving in Dinant. We explore the wonderful citadel – a fortress built on the high cliffs above the Maas, first mentioned in 1041 and now home to a museum. 

Bus friends Mieke Glorieux, Geert Van Impe (Sales Director Bus & Coach Belgium at MAN) and Inge Buytaert (Marketing and Communication Busworld) at the fairground. 

Soon full again Busworld is normally held in these halls. For once, the Lion's City E had them all to itself. 
 

Landmark The Atomium in Brussels is 102 metres high and weighs around 2,400 tonnes. It was built for Expo 58. 

Dessert to go Belgian waffles are world-famous and a popular dessert. Unfortunately, the team did not have time for this. 

15:30

Exclusive bus tour for “Miss Busworld”

“I’ve really been looking forward to your visit,” says Mieke Glorieux as she warmly welcomes us to the Busworld fair site in Brussels. We also met MAN customers Hansea and Waaslandia here, who arrived with a brother and sister to our Lion’s City E, making us proud that e-mobility has arrived for public transport in Belgium too. Electromobility will be a key focal point for the next Busworld, says Glorieux. What’s more, she didn’t really have time at the last Busworld in 2019 to take a proper look at the MAN Lion’s City E, which enjoyed its trade fair premiere in Brussels. We make up for that today, inviting Mieke and her team for an exclusive tour of our bus, guided by MAN experts Florian Rott, Sebastian Lindner and Heinrich Degenhart. 

When she takes a quick look at the driver’s seat the usually bubbly Belgian suddenly turns pensive: “It’s such a lovely bus. Sadly, we have a real shortage of bus drivers all over Europe. Many lost their jobs due to the pandemic and are now doing something else.” But Mieke has not given up hope that many drivers will be taken on before too long. Especially if they’ll get to drive such a lovely electric bus. 

17:00

The mussels are to die for

To round off another incredibly eventful and challenging day and after a total of 267.9 kilometres, “Gentle Heinrich”, our bus driver with the regen foot, treated us to another free tour of Brussels at dusk. You can’t fault the service! And we also saved 27 euros – that’s the cost of the great value official city tour here. 

Of course, we stopped at the Atomium, thanks to Ms Glorieux, where we quickly took a few photos and videos for all our MAN social media channels. The world-famous, 102 metre tall structure was created for the 1958 Expo and stands today as a symbol of the city. Work done, we say our goodbyes to the doyenne of Busworld and fall like six hungry wolves on six enormous portions of moules-frites. MAN, they really are good!  

Text   Boris Pieritz
Photos   Lara Freiburger

#Day 6#ElectrifyingEuropeTour#Electromobility#Bus#LionsCityE
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