Electric trucks in action – MAN and CNL begin practical testing

6 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 14, 2018

Handover of the first eTrucks to nine Austrian CNL customers (from left to right): Joachim Drees, chairman of the executive board of the MAN Truck & Bus AG, Sandra Stella, managing director for logistics in Stockerau Hofer KG, Arno Wohlfahrter, general director Metro Österreich, Christian Fürstaller CEO and managing partner Quehenberger Logistics, Jochen Geisendorfer, managing director controlling and logistics REWE Group, Alfons Dachs-Wiesinger, director logistics services Magna Steyr, Max Schachinger, founder CNL, Fritz Poppmeier, chairman of the board for expansion and distribution Retail SPAR Österreichische Warenhandels AG, Thomas Gerbl, CEO Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg, Jürgen Bauer, director Gebrüder Weiss and Dr Ulrich Dilling executive board responsibility for production and logistics MAN Truck & Bus AG.

The first nine MAN electric trucks were handed over to nine partner companies of Austria‘s Council for Sustainable Logistics (CNL) on 13 September at MAN Truck & Bus‘ plant in Steyr, Austria.

MAN developed the first electric trucks with a focus on the types of applications sought by the CNL companies. The vehicles were made at the MAN plant in Steyr, also home to the Truck Modification Centre that specialises in the manufacture of small batches and single part production.

The test vehicles based on MAN TGMs are designed specifically for each customer and prepared for real-life practical testing. During the test drives, which will last for several months, the participating companies will use the vehicles in regular logistics operations.

The new electric vehicles include four 6×2 chassis with refrigeration units and lift gates for use at HOFER, METRO, REWE and SPAR; three 6×2 chassis with swap bodies for haulage firms Gebrüder Weiss, Quehenberger Logistics and Schachinger Logistik; one 6×2 chassis for beverage transport at the Stieglbrauerei; and one 4×2 semitrailer tractor for plant logistics applications at Magna Steyr. As a result, the vehicles form a representative cross-section of the most common distribution transport tasks in urban logistics.

The electric motor, located in the centre of the frame, outputs 264 kW and delivers up to 3,100 Nm of torque to the drive wheels without a manually operated gearbox. The lithium-ion batteries are fitted beneath the cab on the side of the frame. In the 26-tonne solo chassis version (MAN TGM 6X2-4 LL), a total of 12 batteries are installed; these allow for a range of up to 200 kilometres, depending on the body configuration, type of use and driving profile. Up to eight battery packs can be used in the four-wheel semitrailer tractor version (MAN TGM 4X2 LL) – consequently, the range can reach as high as 130 kilometres, depending on the usage profile and type of semitrailer.

All the vehicles also have air suspension on the front and rear axles, and the air-conditioning system, steering and air compressor are also electric-powered. The same is true for body functions such as the lift gates and cooling units. Brake energy is recovered: when decelerating the vehicle‘s motive energy is converted into electrical energy and fed back into the battery. A display in the cockpit informs the driver about the batteries‘ current energy level. It is possible to charge the batteries with either AC (22 or 44 kW) or DC (150 kW). The charging interfaces are CCS Standard Type 2-compliant.

The official hand-over saw MAN Truck & Bus reach another milestone on the road to electrified urban distribution transport – a mission in which zero-emissions and low levels of noise pollution play an increasingly important role.

“The time has come, the first MAN electric trucks are on the road – in everyday use by our customers,” said Joachim Drees, chairman of the executive board of Man Truck & Bus AG. “From now on, they deliver local emissions-free and almost silent. The handover of the first eTrucks is not only a special moment for the cooperation project with the CNL, but also for the 260-year company history of MAN.”

The Council for Sustainable Logistics‘ creator and spokesman Max Schachinger expressed praise for the project.

“We know and experience directly the development of climate and environment and we want all the more liveable cities. Beyond the steps of each individual, we connect to an even greater whole and put the first E-trucks together with MAN in action: The end of the fossil age is ushered in and the future of sustainable mobility begins today.”

The CNL is a unique initiative in European terms: Eighteen of Austria‘s largest retail, logistics and manufacturing firms have united to take steps forward in the area of sustainable logistics. The CNL is affiliated with the Centre for Global Change and Sustainability at Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences.

The field tests are carried out in the ‘Megawatt‘ project and supported by the Austrian Federal Government‘s Climate and Energy Fund as part of its ‘Lighthouses of Electric Mobility‘ programme.