Looking to the Future: Trials Begin for the New MAN E-Truck

Several large HGV manufacturers are looking towards ways in which they can help commercial transport customers build a sustainable future while still maintaining a sufficient influx of delivery contracts to improve profits.

One of these involves converting a fleet to electric vehicles, and MAN has reached a milestone in doing just that.

Delivery Contracts Made Greener

The new MAN eTruck is a revolutionary vehicle powered by an electric motor which is located in the centre of the frame. The lithium-ion batteries (which can power a 26 tonne vehicle for 120 miles) are placed beneath the cab, above the front axle and on both sides of the frame (this can vary depending on range requirements). The drive is virtually silent and the vehicle itself is completely emission-free.

The manufacturing of this important innovation has been several years in the making; in 2012, the MAN Metropolis hybrid vehicle was introduced, which formed a basis for the current zero-emission truck. After a great deal of engineering work and persistence, MAN signed the development partnership with the Council for Sustainable Logistics (CNL) in 2017. Consequently, the company were able to introduce their new eTrucks to the medium and heavy distribution transport sectors.

This was a revolutionary advancement for the transport industry as it meant that vehicles from 18-26 tonnes could finally be battery-powered, undoubtedly providing a new momentum for business and significantly greener delivery contracts. These trucks have been hailed as the future of inner-city distribution transport.

The vehicles have the same payload as conventional HGVs with internal combustion engines, and include several other eco-friendly features. For example, the power steering, air-conditioning and air compressor systems are also driven electrically, which makes energy-saving steering a reality. Plus, kinetic energy from the lorry is converted into electrical energy during overrun periods and eventually fed back into the battery. This innovative creation is indeed an environmental game-changer when it comes to the effect on delivery contracts for haulage businesses: as well as significant environmental protection, the trucks can provide longer operating times and more flexibility for the drivers, making haulage work easier and more efficient.

The Trials

In recent months, the e-Trucks have been handed over to certain CNL partners (who are large companies in the transport industry) for trials. The handover took place in Austria this September – supervising the operation were MAN Truck & Bus chief executive officer Joachim Drees and the executive board member for production and logistics Dr Ulrich Dilling. Spar, Quehenberger Logistics and HOFER (the operating name for ALDI in Austria) were among the nine selected companies chosen to carry out the tests. The trucks will still be undergoing trials over the next few months.

The Future is Now

By 2020, CNL plan to be using e-Trucks for most inner-city and suburban distribution. Eventually, this should result in noticeable changes regarding global emissions. An electric future is here…

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Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery contracts with available drivers. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.

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