MAN Truck & Bus
Reflections of the tower at St. Gallen’s town hall are flickering in the puddles that have formed on the multi-lane Poststraße. Passers-by are hurrying along their way under their open umbrellas. A tram accompanied by the sound of its clanging bell trundles through the heavy rain. A MAN eTGE being operated by Swiss Post is also travelling along the main artery of the city that’s located to the south of Lake Constance in Switzerland. It’s reliably delivering parcels and packages. However: In contrast to the rain hammering down and the noise of the traffic, the yellow vans are moving almost silently through the urban streets. The 3.5-tonne truck is rolling along the roads – without a sound and without producing local emissions – because it’s being powered only by electricity. “It’s running really well,” says Thomas Ernst. “Electrically powered commercial vehicles help protect the environenvironment and enhance the quality of life.”
Ernst is in charge of the transport and procurement department at Swiss Post and is responsible for ensuring that parcel deliveries run smoothly. Swiss Post has been using 11 MAN e-transporters for its deliveries since July 2019. Until now. They’re the first in a project that’s being realised in the cities of Ostermundingen, Geneva and St. Gallen and that’s to be completed across the country by 2030 at the latest – and that project is the conversion of Swiss Post’s logistics fleet to e-mobility. Ernst says that everyone involved is already delighted with the MAN eTGE. Postal customers are pleased with the ecological delivery, couriers appreciate that the vehicles are so easy to run and the management at Swiss Post is also happy. That’s because the company will be able to achieve the targets for protecting the climate that it has set itself with the help of MAN’s electrically powered transporters.
Like many logistics companies, Swiss Post also hopes to achieve a balance between cost-effectiveness and climate protection. It wants to be both sustainable and successful. It’s a challenge that the entire transport industry is facing. Delivery traffic has been growing since supply chains started to span the globe and since an online click from the comfort one’s own home is sufficient to trigger orders to be dispatched from China or Chile.
The number of transports and deliveries is increasing worldwide. Also in Europe. The Fraunhofer-Arbeitsgruppe for Supply Chain Services found in a study that Germany represents the largest logistics market here with sales volumes totalling almost € 280 billion in 2019. Especially courier, express and parcel services (CEP) are booming as a result of the rapidly growing e-commerce sector. The CEP sector in Germany made almost 3.7 billion deliveries in 2019. The figure still hadn’t hit the three billion mark by 2015 but 4.4 billion is forecast for 2024. The number of parcels being posted is also increasing in Switzerland with almost 150 million of them being sent on their way to their recipients in 2019 alone. And an end to the flood is not in sight in Switzerland either. Carriers are, however, at the same time facing a pressing issue: The increase in deliveries is actually irrelevant because people also want emissions to be reduced. How can this circle be squared?
Swiss Post’s Thomas Ernst is, of course, also pinning his hopes here on the digitalisation and automation of work processes. Electrically powered drones and robots are to assist deliveries in future – in a way that’s both autonomous and environmentally friendly. Big data and connected vehicles will be streamlining and accelerating delivery processes. Nonetheless: Brimming order books still mean more traffic on the roads, particularly along the ‘last mile’. But Ernst is still hoping to meet climate targets with the help of e-mobility. Swiss Post joined the EV100 initiative out of conviction. The global association of companies is pursuing the goal of converting their own vehicle fleets to electricity by 2030. The target here is to get 400 of the 2,000 delivery vehicles running on electricity by 2025. The latest additions to the e-fleet have been vehicles by MAN since July 2019. The 11 eTGE vans have been in continuous operation since then. Ernst says that the reason why they’ve been deployed to handle delivery tasks in the city is due to the fact that the issue that constantly plagues e-mobility isn’t actually an issue there: i.e. range. “A delivery vehicle covers an average of 50 kilometres on each of its trips in the city,” he says. “That’s why range isn’t a problem for us.” That’s particularly true of the eTGE as its journey with fully charged batteries will only come to an end after around 120 to 130 kilometres in urban use. “We’re therefore able to run the vans in city centres in two shifts – the first in the morning and another one in the afternoon after recharging.”
But replacing vehicles is only one aspect of converting fleets to electricity. The other is a suitable infrastructure. Swiss Post’s e-transporters do not only need charging stations. They most of all require intelligent energy management. That’s the only way to get them out on the street with full batteries every morning. Ernst and his colleagues needed to calculate when the grid could provide sufficient power for the charging phases at the depots, how many kilowatt hours were required and what car was allowed to charge when. In short: Ernst needed a comprehensive e-mobility strategy. A complex task that he was able to solve in cooperation with MAN Transport Solutions. Swiss Post’s overall budget includes €150 million to complete the conversion of its fleet of delivery vehicles by 2030. The increasing range of e-transporters is an important consideration in this regard. Thomas Ernst is aiming for all parcels to be delivered by electrically powered vehicles – and not only in cities. But across the entire country.
The electrical revolution has also started to take place 200 kilometres to the north at the Münchener Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG). This public transport company in Munich has commenced the transition with its No. 100 bus that serves the city’s most famous route. The seven-kilometre stretch is used by many passengers, including local residents, commuters and tourists. It connects the two largest junctions in Munich – the main railway station and the one in the east of the city. It also takes passengers past the city’s tourist highlights, from the famous Pinakothek Museums to the Hofgarten and the Friedensengel. More than three million passengers a year use the museum route, which has been even more environmentally friendly than it was previously since July 2020. Because that’s when MAN’s Lion’s City E took up services on the route. The city bus runs only on electricity – and is therefore locally emission-free.
“We deliberately chose the popular museum route to test the e-bus,” says Veit Bodenschatz, who heads the bus division at MVG. “We wanted to clearly demonstrate in the city centre that the future of local public transport belongs to e-mobility.” The 53-year-old bus supervisor is responsible for the deployment and maintenance of almost 750 vehicles. He’s also in charge of the depots and workshops. He sees the use of the MAN Lion’s City E bus on the museum route as a field test in which the e-bus’ availability, power consumption and above all range are to be trialled under practical conditions.
The MAN Lion’s City E covers 180 to 260 kilometres a day on the Munich Museum route, a range that it can manage with its fully charged l i thium-nickel -manganese-cobaltbatteries. Easily? Well, that’s exactly what Bodenschatz wants to find out in advance of the fleet’s transition. The plan is to further modernise the entire fleet of vehicles by 2030 and to generally serve Munich with e-buses. The MVG is already planning to put 26 electric buses on the road next year. Bodenschatz says that the aim is to make every new bus that the MVG purchases an e-bus from now on.
The transition to sustainable transport is something that’s close to the hearts of the people at such companies as MVG and Swiss Post. They’re highly motivated to becoming more environmentally friendly because they see protecting the climate as an important aspect of their social responsibility. Technological progress in the field of conveying passengers is further being driven by requirements set out in climate policies. The European ‘Clean Vehicles Directive’, for instance, specifies the percentage of buses powered by low- and zeroemission systems to be purchased under public contracts. The share for alternative drives will be 45% in Germany from 2025. It will increase to 65% from 2030. These requirements must be met to 50% by buses that are locally emissionfree. That’s why many public transport companies in Europe are currently converting their bus fleets to e-mobility and other environmentally friendly drive options – often with vehicles by MAN and with the help of its expertise. The MAN Lion’s City E buses are not only serving routes in Munich – they’re also doing so in Luxembourg, in Linz in Austria and in Hamburg in north Germany – without the production of harmful exhaust fumes. MAN even leads the field for naturalgas-powered city buses in Europe. The MAN Lion’s City G, for instance, is in service in the conurbations of Stockholm, Berlin, Paris and Tbilisi. Buses fuelled by natural gas also present a better ecological balance than conventional diesel vehicles, particularly when they’re run on biogas. But they’re not entirely locally emission-free. That’s why e-mobility is considered to be the option that’s most viable over the long term.
We want to demonstrate visibly in the city center that e-mobility is the future of public transport.
Electric commercial vehicles are not only the most environmentally friendly, they can also commercially be the most sustainable solution – in spite of the significantly higher acquisition costs. That’s because low energy consumptions can help reduce electricity costs and maintenance costs – and consequently the total cost of ownership. But it cannot yet be conclusively assumed that electric vehicles will be particularly beneficial over the long term. That’s also what Veit Bodenschatz, the head of buses at MVG, is thinking. He regards electric buses as the first choice in every respect for Munich. The investments to build up the e-fleet are being financed in part from public subsidies: The state and federal governments are paying up to 50% for each electric bus. Veit Bodenschatz is hoping that production costs and therefore acquisition costs will also fall as economies of scale are realised.
To operate at greater cost-effectiveness while, at the same time, being more environmentally friendly – those are two goals that are also determining the agenda at many freight transport companies that are operating in Europe. Great hopes for the future are also being pinned in this regard on automated driving. And MAN is pushing progress forward in this area, too. The ‘Hamburg TruckPilot’ project at the Altenwerder container terminal will reach its final phase in spring 2021, while the ‘Autonome Innovation im Terminablauf’ (‘Autonomous Innovation in Dispatch Scheduling’) project – ANITA for short – at the Deutsche Bahn’s container depot in Ulm has been under development since July 2020. Both projects are trialling automated trucks by MAN that are able to carry out their own loading and unloading procedures and so efficiently combine road-freight transport with rail and water transport. Automated transport promises to deliver a range of potential benefits: Improvements in road safety, for instance. Faster and more cost-effective processing of shipments. And reductions in fuel consumption at the same time. Emissions harmful to the climate will also be cut as a result.
market share, electric buses could achieve in Europe by 2025, according to a study by the British market research company Interact Analysis. From 2018 to 2019, the number of registered city buses with electric drive has already tripled - to a market share of 12 percent.
0 kWh/100 km
an electric truck with a payload of about 20 tons consumes nowadays. This corresponds to around 10 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers, compared to the 30 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers that are common today.
Greater efficiency resulting from automated transport and digital logistics will not be enough to meet climate targets in Europe. The EU has decided to reduce CO2 emissions from new trucks by 30% by 2030. Europe wants transport on the roads to be emission-free from 2050. That’s one reason why fleet operators are now looking increasingly to use electric mobility in delivery operations – one example of which is to be found at the Anheuser-Busch InBev brewery, which is now trialling MAN’s e-trucks for the first time in Belgium.
Angelos Tsereklas remembers exactly what it was like when he took the seat in the cockpit of the electric truck for the first time. That was when he set off for a test drive in the cab of a white MAN eTGM. He was impressed by how quickly, effortlessly and quietly the electric motor accelerated the vehicle. Tsereklas heads the customer transport and logistics department at AB InBev in Brussels. He sees e-mobility as the key to his company’s success in its efforts to reduce emissions. “The new technologies must and will help us,” says Tsereklas. The eTGM’s future task is to transport crates and barrels to the pubs and bars of Anderlecht and Leuven – loads weighing tonnes that need to be delivered on time and on schedule. The brewery is the first company in the country to test the electric truck. How exactly the eTGM can be integrated into the brewery's fleet is to be trialled over the coming months. Its range of up to 200 kilometres means that the electric truck will be able to supply the two cities near Brussels without difficulty. Overnight charging is sufficient for the 60- to 70-kilometres trips the truck makes during the day. But even more powerful batteries will be needed for longer distances before it would be possible to replace the more than 2,000 brewery trucks at AB InBev's logistics partners, says Tsereklas. But still: Even operators in Belgium are not doubting that electric mobility will conquer the roads. “The greater the demand, the better the cost-effectiveness,” says Tsereklas with conviction.
He also says that the fact that the eTGM moves so quietly and without emissions while delivering so much power compared with conventional trucks was simply incredible. Like in the rest of Europe, haulage and transport companies in Belgium are optimistic about the shift towards green road transport. Freight transport and mobility are going to remain both fast and reliable. But they’re also going to get silent and clean.