MAN tar­gets an elec­tric and au­ton­o­mous fu­ture

TRUCK­ING/ Ger­man truck maker presents in­no­va­tions and creative so­lu­tions at Hanover trade fair

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

Truck­ing is at the fore­front of the fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, and Ger­man com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer MAN Truck & Bus pre­sented its lat­est in­no­va­tions in the fields of elec­tric mo­bil­ity, dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and au­ton­o­mous driv­ing at the re­cent IAA Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles trade fair.

Un­der the trade show motto “Sim­pli­fy­ing Busi­ness”, the high­light of MAN’s pres­ence at the bi­en­nial ex­hi­bi­tion in Hanover, Ger­many, was the MAN CitE, an elec­tri­cally driven city truck full of new ideas and creative so­lu­tions. The 15-tonne ve­hi­cle, which was de­vel­oped in just 18 months, was de­signed for in­ner city dis­tri­bu­tion trans­port.

Due to the fact that de­liv­ery driv­ers in ur­ban ar­eas can en­ter and exit their ve­hi­cles up to 30 times a day, the CitE has an un­usu­ally low en­try height and es­pe­cially wide doors, and the co-driver’s door opens at the press of a but­ton. The cock­pit is er­gonom­i­cally op­ti­mised, af­ford­ing the driver a panoramic view due to a low seat po­si­tion and large side win­dows.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the CitE em­ploys a 360° cam­era sys­tem to pro­vide the great­est pos­si­ble level of safety and to elim­i­nate danger­ous blind spots. The CitE is purely elec­tri­cally driven and has a range of 100km — suitable for de­liv­ery trans­port in the city.

“The CitE is our an­swer to the re­quire­ments of goods trans­port in the city,” says Joachim Drees, chair­man of the Ex­ec­u­tive Board at MAN Truck & Bus AG.

A close-to-se­ries pro­to­type of the MAN Lion’s City E also has its de­but at this year’s IAA.

The elec­tric bus is driven by a cen­tral mo­tor on the driven axle, which al­lows space for an op­ti­mised seat­ing area in the rear, pro­vid­ing up to four ad­di­tional seats. The bat­ter­ies, lo­cated on the roof to save space, al­low for a range of up to 270km and can be charged in just three hours.

The next step takes place in 2020, when a demo fleet of elec­tric buses will be tested in dif­fer­ent Eu­ro­pean cities in ev­ery­day use, be­fore se­ries pro­duc­tion of the bat­tery-elec­tric ver­sion of the new MAN Lion’s City will be­gin. This com­pre­hen­sive test­ing en­sures that the ve­hi­cles are highly re­li­able, as is needed for pub­lic trans­port.

As for au­ton­o­mous (self­driv­ing) trucks, the pla­toon­ing de­vel­oped by MAN is al­ready un­der­go­ing prac­ti­cal test­ing.

Pla­toon­ing in­volves a vir­tual tow­bar that con­nects two or more trucks to­gether. The first truck de­ter­mines the speed and di­rec­tion, while the truck be­hind au­to­mat­i­cally fol­lows at a short dis­tance of about 10m-15m.

The con­voy saves up to 10% in fuel by us­ing slip­streams. There is also a driver in the fol­low­ing ve­hi­cle so that, if re­quired, they can in­ter­vene and over­ride the sys­tem.

“Pla­toon­ing sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces CO2 emis­sions and also en­sures no­tice­ably more safety on the mo­tor­way. It only takes five mil­lisec­onds for the elec­tronic sys­tem of the fol­low­ing truck to re­act to the brake im­pulse of the ve­hi­cle in front — faster than any hu­man can. This tech­nol­ogy has the po­ten­tial to re­duce the num­ber of se­ri­ous rear-end col­li­sions on the mo­tor­way,” says Drees.

In fuel-sav­ing pla­toon­ing, the lead truck de­ter­mines the speed and di­rec­tion while the truck be­hind au­to­mat­i­cally fol­lows in its slip­stream. Left: De­signed for city use, CitE elec­tric truck of­fers the driver max­i­mum vis­i­bil­ity with a 360° cam­era.

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