The Electricity MAN | TRUCK REVIEW

With a new model range waiting for introduction to the Australian market, MAN’s electric vehicles pose a new alternative. 

As reported in the April/May issue of PowerTorque, MAN Trucks recently chose Bilbao in Spain to reveal a completely new product range that certainly rivals the latest products from the other European manufacturers.

Despite the new models being a significant upgrade in terms of cab design and comfort, information received by PowerTorque suggests that the latest versions will not be fast tracked to Australia for an early release, with the importer preferring to stay in the short term with the previous cab design but upgrading to Euro6 engines.

Randall Seymore, president of Penske Transportation Group International, the importers and distributors for MAN Truck and Bus in Australia, said: “Regarding MAN, we continue to build our launch plans and will communicate to the market in due course.”

In the meantime, part of the conundrum of where MAN’s future direction lies comes down to its parent company being the TRATON Group, where allegiances bind MAN within the emerging conglomerate of VW Truck and Bus, Scania and International Navistar.

MAN certainly has a presence in the Australian market with the Defence Force Army acquisition of MAN all-wheel-drive trucks. This results in an expected ongoing commitment from Penske Australia to provide product support for the duration of the contract.

Also, up for discussion is whether MAN will introduce its light-commercial models to compliment the medium and heavy-duty truck offering.

Adding to the equation for an expansion of the current product range is the release in Europe of the eTGE electric van, with MAN claiming the overall TCO (Total Cost of Operation) is now on par with that of a diesel alternative.

During any discussion about electric drivetrains and their future viability, the point is often raised that battery unit pricing will become cheaper as more are produced. The same should then apply to vehicle prices. Yet in order for the quantities produced to increase, the customer needs to be offered a vehicle that can hold its own against its diesel counterpart in terms of profitability.

To solve this further conundrum, MAN Truck & Bus in Europe is taking the initiative and reducing the price of its eTGE electric van.

The current list price of the TGE 3.140 E is EUR 53,990. ($A91,934). At first sight that is a high asking price, but when this is combined with the far lower operating costs, particularly in terms of energy and maintenance, the award-winning electric van is claimed to cost no more in TCO terms than that of a diesel model.

The eTGE is aimed at segments that predominantly operate in urban environments, such as parcel couriers, tradespeople, retailers and municipal services. In cases like these, the range of the van is perfectly adequate for most purposes. Various charging-cable options are available, as is a wall box for AC charging. However, the fastest way to charge remains a quick-charging station, where the battery can be at 80 percent capacity in just 45 minutes.

The electric MAN has an impressive range of around 160 km and, depending on registration, has a payload of up to 1.75 tonne. With its single-speed transmission, the synchronous electric motor produces maximum power of 100 kW with peak torque of 290 Nm.

With a cargo capacity of 10.7 cubic metres, standard re-charging from an AC domestic power socket of 2.3 kW is still a slow 15 hours, improving to five hours and 20 minutes for an AC Wall Box that provides up to 7.2 kW and further improving with a DC charge option of up to 40 kW within 45 minutes.

Alongside the lower cost of acquisition, the electric van’s comprehensive standard equipment and eight-year battery warranty together make up an attractive proposition for taking the first bold step into the world of e-mobility.

The same applies for the MAN eTGE Combi, which was unveiled to the global public in October 2019 at the Busworld Europe (Brussels) exhibition. With space for eight seated passengers, the minibus is ideal for any scenario where low noise and zero local emissions are high priorities.

Moving up in the weight range and MAN has commenced a small production run of the MAN TGM 26.360 E LL distribution truck, being built at the MAN plant in Steyr, Austria.

Since autumn 2018, MAN Truck & Bus, together with nine Austrian customers from the CNL Council for Sustainable Logistics consortium, has been carrying out practical testing of e-trucks. Each of the nine companies have been operating a MAN eTGM electric truck, and MAN is now taking the next step on the road to climate-neutral distribution by launching sales of the small production-run vehicle.

The MAN eTGM meets all the essential demands for the urban delivery traffic of the future, with zero emissions in local operation, and quiet running. At the same time, the truck has sufficient payload to cope with its typical transport tasks. The e-truck for medium and heavy-duty distribution traffic can be configured as a refrigerated vehicle with either a swap body or beverage body

The all-electric MAN eTGM distribution vehicle is offered in a three-axle 6×2-4 chassis configuration as a 26-tonner with a steerable and liftable trailing axle and four-corner air suspension.

Power comes from a 264 kW electric motor, developing a maximum torque of 3100 Nm. Auxiliary units such as power steering, air compressors and the air-conditioning system are operated electrically, are controlled as required by the energy management system and are thus energy saving.

Brake energy is recovered (referred to as “recuperation”), when decelerating and braking, with the vehicle’s motive energy converted into electrical energy and fed back into the battery. This technology can significantly increase the vehicle’s range, with a display in the cabin indicating the battery energy level.

The truck is powered by high-performance lithium-ion batteries made by the Volkswagen Group, and these are located underneath the cab on top of the front axle, where conventional vehicles have their diesel driveline. Additional batteries are located on the vehicle frame. The range is up to 200 km depending on the area of application, climatic conditions and topography.

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