The MAN Lion’s City E turns the vision of completely emissions-free transport into reality – and this is now part of everyday life in several European cities. Day after day, the fully electric city bus shows what it is capable of and inspires bus operators, bus drivers and experts alike. A tour through Europe.
E-mobility is picking up pace: At the end of 2019, MAN Truck & Bus handed over the first two MAN Lion’s City E buses in Hamburg. Now, only a few months later, this electric bus is out on the road in several European countries. “And the part that pleases us the most: the feedback is overwhelming. Bus operators, bus drivers, experts and passengers are all enthusiastic about our electric buses and using those,” says Rudi Kuchta, Head of Business Unit Bus at MAN Truck & Bus. Hamburg’s electric buses are merely 2 of a total of 15 demo vehicles that will be in practical use as part of MAN’s e-mobility roadmap. The eBus demo fleet is being used by customers in Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Austria, Switzerland and other countries. MAN Truck & Bus will also hand over the 18-metre-long electric bus to the transport operators Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe AG (KVB) in Cologne and Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) in Spain, in order to conduct scheduled practical testing and to gain ample experience. “Setting the course today for the emissions-free mobility of tomorrow is a real challenge for many municipalities and transport companies. Because more often than not, the topic of completely emissions-free transport is uncharted territory. To support them on their journey in the best possible way, we have decided to hand the demo fleet over to customers so they can send them out onto the streets, gain experience and pass that experience on,” says Kuchta.
Out and about in Hamburg, Munich and Wolfsburg
The fully electric MAN Lion’s City E rounds off MAN’s new generation of city buses, as the emissions-free variant. In mid-December 2019, MAN Truck & Bus handed over the first two MAN Lion’s City E vehicles to the transport operators Hamburger Hochbahn AG (HOCHBAHN) and Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH). The electric buses are now in operation for these companies on a daily basis. “Our aim is to have a completely emissions-free fleet by 2030. That’s why we greatly appreciate having MAN as an additional provider of emissions-free buses on the Hamburg market,” explains Henrik Falk, Chairman of the Executive Board at Hamburger Hochbahn AG, at the formal handover of the buses at the end of last year. A new framework agreement is representative of the Hamburg transport company’s confidence in the MAN eBus: MAN Truck & Bus has concluded a master agreement with HOCHBAHN to supply the MAN Lion’s City 12 E bus and the new Lion’s City 18 E articulated bus. The agreement is part of a record-breaking order to supply HOCHBAHN with up to 530 emissions-free city buses between 2021 and 2025. The exact quantity and the delivery schedule will be determined during the term of the agreement.
The 12-metre version of the MAN Lion’s City E has also been in operation in Munich for several weeks now. It takes local residents and visitors reliably to their destination on route number 100, the MVG museum route, which runs between Munich Central Station and Munich East Station. “This is a first for the Bavarian capital, which is now deploying one of the first new MAN electric buses on a regular route service,” says Rudi Kuchta. Like HOCHBAHN and VHH, the Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG) is placing particular emphasis on the topic of range during the field trials. “We are delighted that MAN has chosen to work with our transport company to test one of its first electric buses on our network and we are looking forward to the results,” says Head of MVG, Ingo Wortmann, who adds: “Our aim for the next ten years is clear – we want to distance ourselves from oil, and move towards zero emissions throughout our network. To achieve that, we need reliable electric buses with a high range.” In addition to the trials in Hamburg and Munich, the MAN Lion’s City E will soon be put through its paces in field trials in Wolfsburg.
From Spain to Switzerland via Austria
The MAN Lion’s City E 12 is making waves in the Spanish city of Badajoz. It recently hit the streets of the university city and impressed during a test run. “The results are highly satisfactory, both for us and for the operator,” says Manuel Fraile, Head of Sales Bus at MAN Truck & Bus Iberia. In challenging temperatures of over 35 degrees, the Lion’s City E completed a full 16-hour shift and covered the entire route; a total distance of 284 km. “At the end of the day, the bus still had a decent amount of charge. This shows that our eBus can even be used on routes where the operation of electric vehicles was previously unimaginable,” says Fraile, summing up.
Back in mid-May, a MAN electric bus spent four days in Linz showing what it can do. LINZ AG LINIEN was the first transport company in Austria to test the vehicle – and they demanded a great deal from the MAN Lion’s City E. The eBus drove around an area of Linz where the streets are narrow and also negotiated steep uphill roads. “We sent the eBus out on a demanding test route to see how it handled inclines, what its acceleration was like, what level of comfort it offered and, of course, what range it could achieve. And everyone who took part in the test run in Linz is thrilled, the Lion’s City E was highly impressive in demonstrating its qualities and passed the test with flying colours,” says Lars Heydecke, Head of Sales & Product Bus at MAN Truck & Bus Vertrieb Österreich GesmbH.
15 stops, 17 customers, huge interest: the Lion’s City E toured Switzerland for three weeks as part of MAN’s eBus Roadshow and had heads turning. The first stop was the Verkehrsbetriebe St. Gallen VBSG on 16 June 2020. As was the case at the other pit stops, numerous representatives of transport companies and municipalities took the opportunity to see the electric bus in action.
MAN Lion’s City E scoops all the awards
Experts and journalists are also bowled over by the MAN Lion’s City E. This is demonstrated by the numerous awards that the vehicle and developers have already received. For example, the fully electric city bus received an award from the iF International Forum design jury: 78 international design experts from more than 20 countries selected the winners from a total of 7,298 entries from 56 countries and honoured the Lion’s City E with the coveted iF Gold Award in the category “Automobiles/Vehicle/Bikes”. And the MAN electric bus was also declared the winner by the jury of the Automotive Brand Contest. It was awarded the internationally coveted design prize in the “Commercial Vehicle” category. “The awards show how well the design of our electric bus has been received. Behind it all is a highly motivated team that has done a great job over the past few years. It’s something to be really proud of,” emphasises Rudi Kuchta. In January, the new MAN Lion’s City E scooped another award at this year’s National Transport Awards in Madrid: The eBus was named “City Bus of the Year in Spain”.
Orders from Germany and Sweden
“We are absolutely delighted that the Lion’s City E has been so well received by experts from all over the world. What we are particularly pleased about, however, is that the first customers are already placing their trust in us and our e-mobility expertise,” says Kuchta. For example, the Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH) ordered 17 Lion’s City E buses at the end of last year. “This is the first time that we have delivered electric buses to a customer as part of a tender process. As such, this is a significant milestone in the e-mobility roadmap.”
There have been other orders as well, for example, one from Malmö in Sweden: Nobina Sverige AB, Scandinavia’s largest bus operator, has placed an order with MAN Truck & Bus for 22 MAN Lion’s City E buses. Thanks to these electric buses, both locals and tourists in Malmö will soon be able to get from A to B in a safe, clean and convenient manner. “The orders are a clear indication of the extent of interest in innovative and forward-looking drive technology at an international level,” says Kuchta.
The first mass-produced MAN Lion’s City E 12-metre solo-version buses are set to be delivered to customers in the fourth quarter of 2020. The fully electric Lion’s City E in the articulated bus version will follow approximately six months later, and should go into series production in the first half of 2021. “We have launched an online campaign on the topic of e-mobility using the hashtag #ElectrifyingEurope. This is our way of informing everyone about new developments and field trials, as well as the experiences that MAN, operators, drivers and passengers are having,” says Rudi Kuchta, who adds: “E-mobility is certainly a topic we care deeply about and that we are putting our heart and soul into promoting.”