MAN Truck & Bus

40 years of MAN ProfiDrive: driver training from those with experience

MAN ProfiDrive is a genuine institution within international goods and passenger transport. It all started 40 years ago, but it was then called “MAN Driving and Efficiency Training”. Thousands of people who take the wheel of commercial vehicles in 67 countries have since undergone training with the MAN experts to ensure that their driving style is even safer, more sustainable and fuel efficient. A visual excursion through four decades.


Our “MAN Driving and Efficiency Training” was launched in 1981 using vehicles in the F8 series. From the very start, these training sessions were designed to focus on safe and cost-effective driving. The costs of operating a truck over its entire service life in the 1980s consisted of the driver’s salary (30 percent), fuel (24 percent), purchase price (15 percent), repairs, maintenance and oil (14.5 percent), taxes, insurance and interest charges (13 percent) and tyres (3.5 percent). Reasons enough for transport companies to invest in training from the experts at MAN, and ensure that drivers are making the most fuel efficient and vehicle-friendly use of their trucks.


The interim result after eight years: over 450 companies have already successfully completed the “MAN Driving and Efficiency Training”. The 1989 prospectus indicates some advantages of the service: the training sessions were conducted in practical conditions using semi-trailers that were configured as 40-ton artics. The training took place in small groups. The ratio was one MAN coach to five participants, which enabled the drivers to receive individual attention regarding their strengths and weaknesses. The curriculum also contained some theory: engine technology, driving resistances, optimisation of gear changes, the costs of deploying a vehicle. The drivers were able to integrate this training programme into their everyday professional activities. That resulted in an average fuel saving of 10.9 percent.


A prospectus for the “MAN Driving and Efficiency Training” from 1996 shows a group photo of the driving coaches back then. At that time more than 10,000 truckers had taken part in the training sessions. The resulting successes in everyday transport business on the roads were obvious, even from a corporate perspective. Graduates were now consuming on average 11.5 percent less fuel. Their journeys were simultaneously four per cent faster, which also meant that deliveries arrived more punctually. 45 percent fewer gear changes also indicated that the drivers had internalised a fluid, proactive and vehicle-friendly driving style.


Driver training on snow and ice: travel companies also use the professionals at MAN to train their bus drivers in a safe, cost-effective and eco-friendly driving style. Back in 2002, this involved use of the MAN Lion’s Star, which was brand new at the time. MAN had first presented the two-axle vehicle with 460 PS and a six-cylinder engine at the IAA in autumn 2001, to reposition itself in the coach market. Even if coach accidents repeatedly make the headlines, coaches are by far the safest means of transport from a statistical perspective. Travel companies invested in “MAN Driving and Efficiency Training” to enable them to offer maximum safety to their passengers. Training bus drivers has always been a constituent part of MAN ProfiDrive.


Investment in the human factor: a MAN test track saw truck drivers practising how to confidently control their vehicle in every situation, even on inclines in the event of sudden wetness. Special training sessions in relation to off-road deployment, heavy haulage, fleet managers, vehicle handovers, driving instructors and appraisers were also included in the service, which in 2004 was called “MAN Driver Training in Safety and Economic Efficiency”.


The qualification requirements for professional drivers have constantly increased since 1981. In Germany, 35 hours of continuing professional development is obligatory every five years. This means lifelong learning. MAN ProfiDrive meets this demand by continuously extending its training service for drivers, fleet managers and operators. In the 2010s it included – and today still includes – the likes of corporate responsibility, environmental awareness, social legislation, transport criminality due to traffickers, load safety training, emergency training as well as training for first responders. Intensive driver training involves support via MAN Connected Co-Driver using the vehicle’s telematics. Learning from the professionals at MAN ProfiDrive is worthwhile. Because nobody is as familiar with MAN vehicles as they are.


Dream job as a coach driver: driving the MAN coaches belonging to football clubs in the German Bundesliga is a very special job – and one that is very demanding. The drivers of these team coaches therefore brought along their MAN Lion’s Coach to a training event with MAN ProfiDrive in 2019. The training programme at the ADAC Driving Safety Centre in Berlin-Brandenburg included, among other things: a slalom course, brake training, cornering and mastering tricky situations using the modern assistance systems. The photo shows training manager Heinrich Degenhart from MAN ProfiDrive explaining the route the coach drivers had to follow.


Special training for drivers transporting logs: MAN ProfiDrive also provides special training courses for specific sectors like the construction and timber industries. Drivers transporting logs face additional challenges. They have to operate the crane alone in the forest in all weather conditions to load their vehicles in difficult terrain. Their training involves fully loaded semi-trailers under realistic conditions on the MAN test track. This training programme also includes emergency braking using the Emergency Brake Assistant (EBA II). The drivers are impressed as the vehicle comes to a calm and safe stop just a few metres before an impending crash.


Bilbao in Spain was the venue for the inaugural presentation of the new MAN truck generation to the general public in February 2020. This involved 100 instructors from MAN ProfiDrive undertaking the exciting task of driving 50 brand new trucks from Munich to the event in Bilbao – over thousands of kilometres, accident-free and ideally without a scratch. This feat was accomplished – almost. A single small scrape on a MAN TGX was unavoidable. Driving vehicles to such world premières are memorable experiences for the team at MAN ProfiDrive. These trips resonate with great pride and emotion.


The challenges of electric mobility: now that electric buses and e-trucks are beginning to prevail on the streets, the experts at MAN are seeing more and more demand for training in relation to these vehicles.  Electric mobility is another factor that is once again substantially altering the driving task. Saving fuel in the case of diesel engines meant avoiding braking by means of a fluid and proactive driving style, whereas the opposite now applies: recovery of energy through recuperation requires deceleration via the accelerator pedal. This photo of the MAN Efficiency Run shows trainers from MAN ProfiDrive demonstrating the maximum range that could be extracted from a MAN Lion’s City E in realistic deployment on an urban bus route in Munich. The test drivers achieved 550.8 kilometres within exactly 24 hours on just a single battery charge. Electric mobility has heralded an exciting new chapter in the 40-year history of success at MAN ProfiDrive. There is currently an average of 7,000 customers a year taking part in its training sessions. MAN ProfiDrive employs around 140 instructors worldwide.

Text   Felix Enzian
Photos   MAN, Christian Kaufmann, Bernhard Huber

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