Today Hubert Aiwanger, Bavarian State Minister for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, Andreas Tostmann, Chairman of the Executive Board of MAN Truck & Bus and Saki Stimoniaris, Chairman of the MAN Group Works Council, officially opened the MAN eMobility Center together. With this the commercial vehicle manufacturer has taken the first step in preparing for series production of electric trucks. In an area covering around 4,000 square metres, production employees are testing out the series production of battery-powered trucks under real-life conditions and are receiving training on the industry’s next-generation technologies.
When MAN CEO Andreas Tostmann opens the doors of the MAN eMobility Center for the first time on 9 June 2021 in the presence of Hubert Aiwanger, Saki Stimoniaris and a small group of official guests, he makes it clear that a threshold into the future of transport is being crossed here. “Electromobility is the key technology for commercial vehicle transport of the future. MAN is driving this progress forward together with our customers. With the opening of the MAN eMobility Center in Munich, we are giving the starting signal to also go into series production with electric trucks in the future,” says Tostmann. The switch from the combustion engine to alternative drives is an extremely important part of the company’s consistent reorientation, Tostmann said during the opening. And went on: “The EU requires a CO2 reduction of 30% for trucks over 16 tons by 2030 compared to current levels. We have resolved not only to react to this. We see this as an opportunity to assume social responsibility and to act in a sustainable manner in the long term. With the eMobility Center, MAN is taking another big step towards jobs of the future and CO2-free mobility.”
Although the battery-powered MAN Lion’s City E city bus and the MAN eTGE van, which is also fully electric, are already in widespread use on the market as series production vehicles, the first electric truck – the MAN eTGM – has only been delivered to customers throughout Europe in small batches thus far. This is set to change in the foreseeable future. Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger emphasised at the opening ceremony: “Electromobility is a massively growing market, which is in the interests of domestic jobs and the environment if it is tackled properly. Investments such as those made by the industrial heavyweight MAN are an example of how the attractiveness of Bavaria as a business location can be strengthened in the long term. Climate protection and the economy are mutually reinforcing here.”
At the now opened MAN e-mobility Center, the commercial vehicle manufacturer is laying the foundations for the production of e-trucks on a large, industrial scale. “This will enable us to meet the demand for zero-emission vehicles for all applications in the commercial vehicle sector – trucks, buses and vans – so that we can meet climate targets. In this way, MAN will continue to morph into a provider of sustainable and environmentally friendly transport solutions,” says Andreas Tostmann, explaining the significance of the new e-mobility Center in Munich.
New vehicle architecture necessitates new production processes
New parts and new components such as the electric battery and engine, high-voltage components and the orange high-voltage cables set the e-truck apart from its conventionally-powered counterpart. As a result, a new vehicle architecture and different production steps are required. The entire production process, including the start-up process for the vehicle, is carried out at the MAN e-mobility Center in Munich. What’s more, the building features learning islands for employee training. Both on-the-job and off-the-job, employees learn the process steps and the dexterity required for assembling electric trucks on the series production line.
“At the MAN e-mobility Center, we are building up the expertise that will allow us to go into series production of electric trucks. Here, employees of the Munich plant receive training on next-generation technologies under real-life production conditions. The training programme covers the production processes for e-trucks and how to handle high-voltage technologies safely. The experience gained during series production tests is put straight into the development and manufacturing of production-ready battery-powered trucks,” says Michael Kobriger, Executive Board Member for Production & Logistics at MAN Truck & Bus, summarising the purpose of the new training centre. The intention is to have both conventionally-powered and battery-powered trucks manufactured on the same series production line in Munich.
Increase in demand for electric trucks expected
E-mobility is becoming increasingly popular in the transportation sector and in passenger transport. While public transport companies in particular are already electrifying their bus fleets on a large scale, battery-powered trucks for distribution and long-haul transport have not become as prominent on the market over the same period of time, which is partly down to a lack of funding initiatives and essential commercial incentives. However, MAN expects the demand from transportation companies for electric trucks with zero local emissions to grow in the near future – partly due to climate policy requirements and CO2 pricing, but also due to the fact that it is becoming increasingly cost-effective to run electric vehicles. By testing serial production of the e-truck at the MAN e-mobility Center, the commercial vehicle manufacturer is preparing for the increase in demand for climate-neutral transport solutions from its customers. The plan is to have all relevant skilled workers in the truck production department in Munich qualified in the serial production of electric trucks by end of 2023.
Improving the future-oriented skills of employees
Saki Stimoniaris, Chairman of the Group Works Council of MAN Truck & Bus SE and TRATON SE, sees the training programme at the MAN e-mobility Center as an important step in securing the future viability of MAN. “We want the commercial vehicle traffic of the future to be made up of climate-neutral vehicles. For that reason, the opening of the MAN e-mobility Center is a strategically important step for the future of our company and for safeguarding jobs. Even with the arrival of new technologies, employees are MAN’s greatest asset, which is why vocational training and continuous professional development are the keys to success. With the skills of our MAN employees, it will be possible to manufacture these technologies successfully in the years to come.”
SOURCE: MAN Truck & Bus