Gas-powered for 75 years: MAN continues the success story

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 18, 2018

MAN released the first gas-powered bus in 1943, which was first used in Nuremberg. The gas cylinders were fitted on the vehicle roof and the trailer.

The first gas-powered MAN city bus celebrated its debut in 1943. This year, exactly 75 years on, commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN Truck & Bus is bringing another newly developed gas engine to market: the MAN E1856 LOH. It will be exhibited for the first time at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, Germany, later this month.

Then, as today, MAN broke new ground with its gas engine. The first gas-powered MAN bus was used for local public transport in Nuremberg. A trailer was attached to the vehicle, allowing it to increase its range considerably, as the gas cylinders were located on the bus and trailer roofs.

“As a result, there was a cylinder volume of 22 m³, which made significantly longer routes and service times possible,” says Michael Kobriger, head of production bus and the bus management team at MAN Truck & Bus.

And there were special circumstances at play: MAN built the entire vehicle, which was specifically designed to be gas-powered. The expertise needed for this came from coach assembly work.

“The employees had previously become well-acquainted with double-decker construction and built up extensive knowledge, for instance, from manufacturing double-decker bodies for chassis starting in 1935,” Kobriger says.

Also in 1935, MAN was already developing chassis for trucks that could be run on alternative fuels. Gas canisters with producer gas, cylinder gas and lignite gas oil were used. In the late 1930s, production of ‘wood gasifiers‘ increased on account of growing natural resource scarcity; MAN primarily installed these systems in trucks and tractors. The wood gas generators were the most widespread alternative drive systems.

“MAN has been a market and technology leader in natural gas-powered buses in Europe for many years,” says Rudi Kuchta, head of bus sales at MAN Truck & Bus. “We have applied our decades of expertise to develop a new gas engine, allowing us to keep offering customers cutting-edge technology as we move into the future. This rates highly for its exceptional cost-effectiveness and extremely low exhaust gas emissions, among other things.”

The new Lion‘s City G and its E18 gas engine – a brand-new development – are celebrating their début at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018.

In addition, it can be combined with MAN EfficientHybrid, making it even more economical to operate. As a result, along with biogas, the MAN Lion‘s City G is the most cost-effective solution for virtually carbon-neutral local public transport, with the natural gas technology offering a huge advantage: outstanding carbon footprint outcomes for operators when vehicles are run on regeneratively or synthetically produced natural gas.

“This is an important step forward into the future of MAN and many transport companies, especially when it comes to air quality control in urban areas,” Kuchta adds.