MAN Truck & Bus
MAN Truck & Bus
MAN is experiencing the greatest upheaval in its history.
Full halls, trend-setting exhibits and enthusiastic trade show visitors: The IAA Transportation - leading trade show for logistics, commercial vehicles, buses and the transportation sector - opened its doors again for the first time since 2018. The dry spell is over, finally public trade shows are possible again. "Here we can reach customers in the broad masses again, which is outstanding for us," said MAN Marketing Director Björn Loose, who is responsible for the IAA trade show appearance, on the first press day.
The kick-off for MAN was on September 19, punctually at 9:35 a.m. with the press conference. At this point, CEO Alexander Vlaskamp was on stage and unveiled the trade show highlight at the MAN stand, the near-series MAN eTruck. It will be launched in 2024 and will then have a daily range of 600 to 800 kilometers. The all-electric truck is emblematic of how the entire commercial vehicle industry is reinventing itself, including MAN. "MAN is experiencing the biggest upheaval in its history," Vlaskamp said at the press conference.
Zero emissions, digitalisation and automation: these topics were the focus at MAN at the IAA. The visitors were happy about the direct exchange.
A full house on the first day of the show: the Asian delegations are particularly well represented. Here, the MAN TGE van, which can be seen at the IAA Transportation in various equipment versions, is being closely examined. There is also a fully electric version.
The diesel is alive! Although the IAA is all about electrification, conventional engines are not neglected either. For example, MAN is presenting the new D26 engine on its stand, which is said to enable fuel savings of four percent in long-distance transport compared to the predecessor model and at the same time produces 10 hp and 50 Newton metres more torque.
Discussion in the cab: Why not talk shop about a truck inside? That's what many visitors to the IAA thought and took a close look at the vehicles on display.
In times of electrification, digitization, and automation, commercial vehicle manufacturers at the IAA Commercial Vehicles are naturally focusing on forward-looking concepts and services - after all, they want to provide their customers with the best possible support during the mobility transition. This is why MAN CEO Alexander Vlaskamp gave the IAA keynote address on "Electrification of the commercial vehicle industry" on September 20 under the motto "What's next?". In his speech, the MAN boss made it clear that work must begin now at the latest to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
MAN is consistently focusing on electrification. "From 2040, all new commercial vehicles sold by MAN will be free of fossil fuels," says Vlaskamp, who also cites a comparison with fuel cells. "The energy balance of green hydrogen is simply too bad. For an electrically powered truck, you need - metaphorically speaking - the power of a wind turbine. For a truck with a fuel cell, you need three wind turbines."
According to Vlaskamp, improving the charging infrastructure is central to the successful electrification of trucking. In a joint venture with its partners Scania, Daimler Trucks, and Volvo, MAN is therefore setting up 1,700 high-performance charging points in Europe. The investment amounts to half a billion euros. But government support is urgently needed to achieve all the goals, Vlaskamp said.
From 2040, all new commercial vehicles sold by MAN will be free of fossil fuels.
In line with the theme, a panel discussion was held on the topic of "charging technology," which was also attended by Dr. Frederik Zohm, MAN's Executive Board member for Research and Development. The HoLa project - high-performance charging in long-distance trucking - was presented there. The A2 highway between Berlin and the Ruhr region is to be made capable of fast charging, and battery-electric trucks will then be able to be charged sufficiently quickly within the statutory break times of 45 minutes. In addition to MAN, other commercial vehicle manufacturers, energy companies, service station operators, manufacturers of charging infrastructure, and research institutes are involved in the project. The project is scheduled to run from 2021 to 2024 and aims to provide the blueprint for nationwide expansion.
To achieve this, MAN has tested innovative automation technologies together with customers in real-world operations as part of various projects such as ATLAS-L4, Hamburg TruckPilot, and ANITA - and demonstrated the initial results in Hanover. Dr. Frederik Zohm, Executive Board Member for Development and Technology at MAN Truck & Bus, explains: "We see it as our responsibility to make the future of logistics safer, more efficient, and more flexible." For example, automated hub-to-hub applications are to be integrated into supply chains by 2030 at the latest.
MAN will be demonstrating at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2022 that a great deal has also happened in terms of vehicle digitization with numerous new digital services that can be simulated at several info points on the stand: Over-the-air software updates for optimum adaptation to individual customer requirements, MAN SimplePay for automated payment processes, MAN Perform for particularly economical driving, digital maintenance and repair management, tachograph and time management, and charging and battery management are just a few examples of MAN's digital offering. Drivers can use and control many digital functions on their smartphones via the MAN Driver App. An overview of all MAN Digital Services is available here.
Björn Loose is Senior Vice President Marketing & Brand at MAN Truck & Bus.
Mr Loose, after a three-year break from the trade fair - what are your wishes for the coming days here at the IAA Transportation?
The most important thing for us is the dialogue with the customers. We have our day-to-day business, of course, but here at the IAA it's the first time in two years that we can reach customers again on a broad scale. That is outstanding for us.
Over there on the left behind us is the eye-catcher of the MAN stand, the new eTruck. How do you like the vehicle? What makes it stand out? And - when will it go on the road?
First of all: I think the truck looks mega cool. The vehicle's range of 600 to 800 kilometres at market launch is outstanding. We have also done a very good job with the safety features, both for the driver and for road users. The eTruck will go into series production as early as 2024 - customers can order it now.
What are the most important topics for the future here at the IAA?
For us, the focus is clearly on the digitalisation of the commercial vehicle industry. Here we are already further ahead than some representatives of the passenger car industry. The networking of our vehicles with over-the-air updates is already very advanced. This allows us to make logistics chains more efficient, and our customers can plan better and more economically. We are doing a great job with our "MAN Transport Solutions" department. We are also well on the way with regard to "autonomous driving" and have successfully completed the first pilot projects. Things will really start moving soon.
A special highlight took place in the evening on the first press day in Hall 18. The VDA presented four prestigious awards as part of its "IAA Stars of the Year" event: The International Van of the Year, the Bus of the Year, the International Truck of the Year and the Truck Innovation Award. VDA President Hildegard Müller was delighted with the large number of visitors: "The commercial vehicle industry is very innovative, despite the crises that have preoccupied us in recent years and continue to do so. We are proving that here and now with the presentation of our awards as part of the 'IAA Stars of the Year'." The title of "Bus of the Year 2023" went to the MAN Lion's City E. Rudi Kuchta, head of the bus division at MAN Truck & Bus, accepted the trophy from BotY jury president Tom Terjesen.
The fact that MAN's innovations also interest politicians was demonstrated by the visit of Stephan Weil, Minister President of Lower Saxony. He came to the MAN stand on September 20 together with Belit Onay, the Lord Mayor of Hanover, and VDA President Hildegard Müller and had Alexander Vlaskamp and Dr. Frederik Zohm present the new eTruck to him. "I'm very interested in MAN," said the Minister President. "After all, we have a beautiful location in Salzgitter." In response to Weil's question about when the first autonomous truck would be on the road, Alexander Vlaskamp promised that it would be by the end of the decade.
A central issue in the topics of "zero emissions" and "electrification" is the recycling of truck and bus batteries at the end of the truck's service life. Here, too, MAN presented solutions at the IAA. The aim is to manufacture and recycle batteries in a way that conserves resources. MAN is therefore already working intensively on after-use strategies to close the material cycle and thus contribute to sustainable development. There are currently three options: A second use of the battery after factory repair; a second battery life ("2nd Life"), for example as buffer storage for solar and wind power plants; or the recovery of battery raw materials such as nickel, manganese, cobalt, or lithium for new energy storage systems.
In addition to political celebrities, stars from the worlds of sports and entertainment also visited MAN's trade fair stand: Bayern ambassador Giovane Elber and "Trucker Babe" Julia Beitler took time out for their fans on September 21 in Hanover. The Brazilian ex-professional not only showed his enthusiasm for the all-electric MAN eTruck at the exhibition center, but also handed out signed soccer balls and, of course, fulfilled numerous autograph and selfie requests. Trucker Beitler, who goes by the nickname "Asphalt Fairy" and is part of the TV documentary "Trucker Babes" on Kabel 1, also signed autographs and took a close look at the exhibits at the MAN stand, because she drives MAN herself: "They drive well, there's nothing wrong with them," said Julia. "I'm proud to have these MAN vehicles. I wouldn't want to trade them."
I'm proud to have these MAN vehicles. I wouldn't want to trade them.
Strategic partnerships are also not neglected in Hanover. At the IAA 2022, for example, MAN announced a new partnership with tire manufacturer Michelin: Starting in January 2023, Michelin will be the global partner of MAN ProfiDrive, MAN Truck & Bus' driver training program, for three years. For more than 40 years, the professionals at MAN have been training drivers in the safe use of safety, assistance systems, and telematics services, as well as in all topics relevant to fleet managers and entrepreneurs in transportation and passenger transport. Soon already with the multiple award-winning tires from Michelin.
But the core business in the truck segment must not be missing at the most important commercial vehicle trade fair. In addition to the eTruck, MAN has 14 other vehicles from all series in its trade fair baggage: four TGXs, four TGSs, one TGM, one TGL and four TGEs. On press day, hundreds of media representatives flocked to and into the MAN vehicles in Hall 12. "At last it's trade fair time again, at last there's new sheet metal to touch," one of the journalists said happily.
To ensure that as many customers as possible are enthusiastic about the many exciting MAN products, MAN is offering exclusive customer events at the IAA Transportation. At a dinner followed by an entertainment program, international customers can talk to MAN experts in a relaxed atmosphere about the rapid developments in the commercial vehicle market and receive advice on new products and services.
Text Boris Pieritz
Photos MAN / Anne Hufnagl