MAN rolls out zero emission roadmap

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

In public transport and distribution transport, the decision seems to have been made: battery electric vehicles are the means of choice. In long-distance transport however, the situation looks somewhat different: Apart from the rapid development of battery technology, hydrogen (H2) is a good complementary option as an alternative fuel for this market, according to the MAN executive board. MAN Truck & Bus has therefore presented a development roadmap. In line with the current pre-development projects, prototype vehicles are to be built as early as next year. MAN is testing both the use of a fuel cell in conjunction with an electric drive and an H2 combustion engine.

For the company, the advantages for truck designers are obvious: On the one hand, this form of electric mobility is very environmentally friendly. Fuel cells do not cause any climate-damaging emissions in use, as they only emit water vapor. On the other hand, thanks to the on-board power generation, their range of approximately 800 km is large enough for long-distance truck transport while at the same time offering a high payload. But MAN’s powertrain developers do not regard the fuel cell as the only option for H2-based propulsion systems: Despite drawbacks like a poor efficiency, they also take the hydrogen combustion engine into account as a viable solution. The reason: From their perspective, this technology offers a readily available and robust solution thanks to the well-known basic technology and could thus serve as a bridging technology.

Practical testing in cooperation with selected customers is planned for 2023/24. The aim is to test the entire hydrogen ecosystem in transport logistics. Within the framework of a so-called Bavarian fleet, Munich-based MAN would like to test hydrogen for use in long-distance road freight transport in a consortium project together with Bavarian infrastructure operators and freight forwarding partners. Discussions are underway with the Bavarian state government. Cooperation with universities is also planned.

“We take our responsibility to the environment and society very seriously, so MAN Truck & Bus is using a lot of energy to develop alternative drive systems,” emphasizes Dr. Frederik Zohm, Executive Board member for Research & Development at MAN Truck & Bus. “Hydrogen can be an interesting solution here, but then the infrastructure needs to be significantly expanded.

With the move, MAN Truck & Bus is not exactly positioning itself as an avant-garde – other companies like Daimler Trucks and Toyota have started developments towards hydrogen already some time ago.


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