MAN TRUCK & BUS ENVISIONS FU­TURE ELECTROMOBILITY

New Straits Times - - Cars Bikes & Trucks - MAN TRUCKS & BUS In other mar­kets such as Malaysia, MAN is still pre­par­ing it­self and its cus­tomers for a trans­port evo­lu­tion. MAN Truck & Bus Malaysia has wasn’t for the EEV in­cen­tive. THE DRIVE

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

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