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.