MAN TRUCK & BUS ENVISIONS FUTURE ELECTROMOBILITY
AMIRUL HAZMI cbt@nst. com. my
THOSE who like trucks and buses would know the history of diesel engines. It was from 1893 to 1897 when Rudolf Diesel, the man who invented the compression-ignition engine, developed his invention at Maschinenfabrik-Augsburg AG, later known as Maschinenfabrik-AugsburgN¸rnberg, or MAN.
As the commercial pioneer of diesel engine, MAN Truck & Bus is keen on being the first company to mass produce the idea of full-electric commercial vehicles or electromobility.
Cars Bikes & Trucks talked to Hartmurt Mueller, the managing director of MAN Trucks & Bus Malaysia, on the company’s vision of electric transportation.
Mueller started his career in Germany with another truck company, and moved to France before joining MAN in Malaysia. He has been in the country for four years.
With 35 years of experience in the trucking industry under his belt, and more than 15 years with MAN, Mueller has a clear idea on how the industry runs and its future direction.
As part of its ecological responsibilities, MAN follows a clear roadmap and has been working on new supply and waste disposal concepts in an urban environment.
“MAN visualises the shift from conventional internal combustion engine to full-electric powertrain incommercial trucks,” Mueller said.
He added: “In some cities in Europe, MAN has been testing its ideas of electromobility or full-electric trucks and buses since 2016. It involves wide aspects of the supply chain.”
According to Mueller, MAN’s electric buses and trucks should be ready by 2019 and 2021, respectively.
“However, the testing involves a tremendous amount of researches and studies. This includes the study of how the infrastructure will be built, battery layout on the vehicles, and homologation processes, as well as studying the possibility of disposing, recharging or changing the battery cells,” he explained.
MAN also took into account the vehicles’ driving patterns, routes, and the type and weight of load.
“For instance, intercity buses have longer travel distance with steady engine working behaviour, while city buses travel shorter distance, but with low-speed stop-and-go. The difference in energy usage is huge.
“Current technology in passenger cars have the general characteristics, where EVs have up to 400km of capacity, which is limited. If we factor the commercial vehicle weight and the load it needs to haul, the battery performance will vary and this require different approach. We take that as a challenge.” introduced the MAN ProfiDrive, a new training programme that is tailored towards individual customer requirements.
The new sector-specific training helps address fuel economy and driving safety for particular transport assignments.
“We encourage our clients to have a mentality in which they have a sense of ecological responsibility in addition to optimizing their operational costs,” said Mueller.
The ProfiDrive training programme has been conducted in several locations covering both practical and theoretical driving skills.
It has proven that with all aspects, like fuel, drivers’ salary, maintenance, weight, tyres and vehicle condition included, clients can substantially save a marginal sum in their annual operating cost after the training.
Alongside the ProfiDrive training programme, MAN Trucks & Bus has also introduced its new EfficientLine model line-up.
The Euro 5-compliant primemover is specifically-tailored for the Malaysian driving environment.
“The EfficientLine trucks can be fuelled by the Euro 2M diesel although the engine is a Euro 5. It promises an efficient environmentallyfriendly workhorse.”
“Our clients said they were happy with the performance of our new EfficientLine trucks, and believe that their investments were worth it,” he said. We managed to drive the BMW 330e over 1200km, through cities, highways, rough, damaged and wavy road tracks. We find that the 330e was very powerful, comfortable and a quiet car to drive.
The BMW 330e was a very quiet car right from the start. We believe that most 330e owners who switched from a combustion engine vehicle to 330e, would surely start the car twice before realising the plug-in hybrid has already been started.
It is very common as the 330e starts very quietly, and runs on its electric motor, there is no feeling of a starter from the combustion engine. The only indication one can see is the rev needle at the dashboard meter has moved to the ready position.
We were impressed with the smoothness in the BMW 330e. The transition from electric to combustion engine happened so seamlessly that we didn’t feel a thing, no jerk, no vibration and there wasn’t any cut feeling at all.
Its throttle felt superb, there was no learning curve. Just lightly tapped the accelerator, and the 330e runs effortlessly. The ride was so quiet that even on high speed, the only sound we heard was the soft tyre noise, which was easily overcome by the a soft volume music or even a conversation with the passenger.
The medium light weighted steering wheel responded accurately and sharply. At high speed corners, the BMW 330e sits firmly and steadily on the ground. Even on winding road condition, passengers at the back didn’t feel nauseous at all. Its 8-speed transmission was smooth and precise.
When the 330e is low on fuel, with a fully charged battery, its electric motor is able to run for about 30km. With a full loaded car, we managed to clock about 5.6 to 6.0 litres per 100km. In a mixture of city and highway driving, it recorded that it consumed 6.3 to 6.9 litres per 100km.
After a pedal-to-the-metal driving session, it showed that it used 7.7 to 9.3 litres per 100km. The only feature missing from the BMW 330e would be the blind spot warning indicator. With that installed, it would enhance the safety when it comes to changing lanes.
Overall, we find that the BMW 330e is very suitable in Malaysia but the only worry now is that, are there sufficient charging bays available around the country to provide charging facilities especially in the rural area.
Goh Thean Howe