MAN Truck & Bus

Fact check: Nine E-Mobility Myths Debunked

16/07/2020

Not sufficiently powerful, too complicated, too dangerous? There are still many prejudices surrounding commercial e-vehicles and their batteries. Most of them have been refuted long ago in practice. Our fact check on e-mobility shatters nine common myths.

01

There's no joy in driving without diesel.

Martin Neumann, a truck driver for SPAR, has been driving a MAN eTGM in the urban area of Graz since October 2018. "I really enjoy driving my e-truck. It's virtually unrivalled in terms of performance. A MAN eTGM has the equivalent of 360 HP, my diesel-powered predecessor had 460 HP. So it has 100 HP less, but it provides superb acceleration. It's impossible to describe the driving sensation, you have to experience it for yourself."

02

Commercial e-vehicles don't have sufficient range.

Rudi Kuchta, Head of the Bus Business Unit at MAN Truck & Bus, is assisting several large cities with their transition to e-mobility in public transport. "The MAN Lion’s City E reliably achieves a range of 200 kilometres throughout the battery's entire service life – this can even be up to 270 kilometres under favourable conditions. That is quite practical for deployment on most urban bus routes. Its sophisticated overall concept using proven cell and battery technology makes it as straightforward as possible for transport companies to enter the field of electric mobility."

03

The charging process takes too long.

Harald Camondo, Fleet Manager at Rewe Group Austria in Vienna, sees electric trucks as the perfect solution for distribution transport. "It takes around 45 minutes to fully charge the MAN eTGM at our high-voltage charging station. Shift operation also means that not all vehicles have to be attached to the supply at the same time."

04

Electric vehicles are prone to catching fire.

Karl-Heinz Knorr, Vice President of the German Firefighters Association (Deutscher Feuerwehrverband – DFV), knows the data on vehicle fires. "Certified electric vehicles pose risks that are largely comparable to vehicles with other drive systems. Fire tests have demonstrated that the fire performance among vehicles of one generation and size is comparable regardless of drive type. The installed fire loads, such as plastic components in today's vehicles, are the decisive factor regarding the increasingly high smoke and heat released during vehicle fires."

05

The lights will go out in future when all the electric buses in a city have to be charged.

Carsten Bamberg, a senior expert in mobility and renewable energies at Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena) in Berlin. "If the right measures are introduced, such as intelligent loading rhythms, adapted timetables and the avoidance of high concurrence, then the electricity grid will be able to supply over 500 urban buses and still provide additional capacity. In addition to pure e-buses, there will be other alternative drive systems available in the future; these include fuel cells that can help prevent major concurrences."

06

An electric vehicle is not as eco-friendly as it first appears.

Christopher Stolzenberg is a press spokesman for the German Federal Environment Ministry and is dealing with the advantages of electromobility. "A mainstream electric car bought today compares favourably from a climate perspective with vehicles powered by internal combustion engines – even given the current German electricity mix. The CO2 advantage of an electric car is 16 percent compared with an especially fuel-efficient diesel vehicle. An electric vehicle newly registered in 2025 will emit 32 percent fewer CO2 emissions than a modern diesel."

07

Commercial e-vehicles can't be integrated into operational processes.

Thomas J. Ernst is head of the "Distribution and System Transport, National Transportation and Procurement" department at Post CH AG. "Commercial e-vehicles don't impose any additional requirements in single-shift operation. Cleverly designed, intelligent charging infrastructures mean the charging time can be adapted to the vehicle's use. We established this when using the MAN eTGE van."

08

Batteries for electric vehicles are unreliable.

Dr. Axel Thielmann, deputy head of the New Technologies Competence Centre at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, has evaluated the current status of battery technology. "The minimum requirements for battery service life are a total runtime of 150,000 to 200,000 kilometres, which would correspond to around 1,000 full cycles. Increased battery capacities and high ranges per charge could result in a relaxation of the cycle life requirements in the future. It is not yet possible to reach any reliable conclusions about their calendar life beyond the typically guaranteed 10 years."

09

Commercial e-vehicles are not yet cost-effective.

Dennis Affeld, Senior Vice President & Head of Sales Van at MAN Truck & Bus, expects that the acquisition costs of the MAN eTGE are amortised after just a few years of use. "This is primarily due to the lower energy costs, but also advantages in maintenance compared to internal combustion engines play a role. In addition, the government funding programs further shorten the payback period. I am certain that electric mobility is already paying off not only ecologically, but also economically."

Text Felix Enzian
Photos Michał Bednarski

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