MAN targets an electric and autonomous future
TRUCKING/ German truck maker presents innovations and creative solutions at Hanover trade fair
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.