Zero-emission public transit services
Rising passenger numbers and a growing desire to cut down pollution and noise emissions are creating challenges for local public transit operators. And MAN is responding to these challenges: The company’s Lion’s City E bus can carry large numbers of passengers and operate locally with zero emissions.
Increasingly, European cities are turning to zero-emission electric buses. Four Lion’s City E battery-electric solo buses recently went into operation in Luxembourg, carrying passengers to their destinations in safety and comfort while protecting the environment. And in Copenhagen, Denmark, visitors and residents will soon be able to travel around the city on 25 environmentally friendly MAN Lion’s City 12 E buses. A Lion’s City E from the MAN Truck & Bus e-bus demo fleet has also been operating in Belgium since the start of the year. During 2021, it will be put through its paces in a year-long trial in Antwerp, on route 36 between Franklin Rooseveltplaats and Linkeroever. Series production of the battery-electric city buses started in October 2020 at the MAN plant in Starachowice in Poland. At the end of March, MAN Truck & Bus also delivered the first fully electric articulated bus for everyday use to the municipal transport services in Cologne, Germany. And the next venue for e-bus deployment has already been scheduled: Another MAN articulated e-bus will soon be demonstrating its abilities in Barcelona.
Protecting the climate worldwide
Whether in Pinetown or in Olifantsfontein in South Africa, in St. Petersburg or in Munich – MAN is reducing its CO₂ footprint at every site. This is the result of successfully combining conversion and modernisation of the energy supply along with the use of renewable energies and energy efficiency measures. Whereas MAN’s production produced 374,600 metric tonnes of CO₂ in 2008, in 2018 it only produced 265,710 metric tonnes. As such, annual emissions sank by 108,809 metric tonnes – equivalent to the CO₂ footprint of a small city. The goal is to produce less than 144,000 metric tonnes of CO₂ emissions by 2025. MAN aims to achieve completely carbon-neutral production by 2030.
Pilot project: reducing emissions by networking trucks
The principle is known as “platooning”. Several electronically connected trucks drive in convoy (in a platoon), each at a constant, relatively short distance from the one in front. MAN Truck & Bus set up a pilot project with DB Schenker and Fresenius University of Applied Sciences to investigate the potential of this approach.
The trucks are electronically interconnected using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, so that they effectively act as a single unit. The lead truck is controlled by a human driver. In one of the following trucks, all of which are traveling just 15 meters apart at a steady 80 km/h (roughly 50 mph), a second driver is on standby, intervening only if required. If the lead truck is forced, for example, to brake sharply, its brake sensors wirelessly share this information with the trucks behind it, causing them to brake just as sharply with almost zero delay. The data is transferred at speeds far exceeding human reaction times, minimizing the risk of accidents. The pilot project showed that the platooning system installed in the MAN trucks worked faultlessly 98 % of the time. The backup driver only had to actively intervene once every 2,000 kilometers – significantly less often than expected.
So much for safety – but what about the climate? The technology is climate-friendly, too – during the pilot project, the trucks consumed between 3 and 4 % less fuel due to the slipstream effect of platooning. Because they travel so close together, the trucks behind the lead truck generate less air resistance, reducing each truck’s fuel consumption and emitting less CO₂.
Saved from the scrap heap
Remanufacturing used components not only saves money, it’s also good for the climate. When remanufacturing parts, there’s no need to extract or transport raw materials or transform them into new products using various energy-intensive processes.
With this in mind, MAN takes back used engines and 55 other product groups under the MAN Genuine parts ecoline initiative. Parts that are still reusable are professionally remanufactured, then sold on to customers looking for an attractively priced repair option. This has major benefits for the climate because remanufacturing not only cuts costs by approximately 30 % per component, it also reduces both resource and energy consumption by 80 %.
Here’s how it works: First of all, the used items are dismantled and thoroughly cleaned. All surfaces are then measured with special equipment – because perfect performance depends on accurate dimensions. Then follows a series of machining operations, such as grinding and polishing. The finished remanufactured parts are inspected with the same test equipment used for newly manufactured products. The current portfolio of remanufactured products comprises some 3,900 different items.
Transparency in climate protection
Here on the South American continent, natural rubber is harvested from the hevea brasiliensis tree. It is an essential raw material for automotive manufacturers and, in particular, for commercial vehicle manufacturers. Roughly 35% of commercial vehicle tyres are made out of natural rubber as this significantly extends the tyres’ service life. MAN’s CR strategy 2025+ safeguards the transparency of the supply chain for natural rubber and other risk materials. This serves to ensure that all of the suppliers and business partners comply with the Code of Conduct, which also includes CO₂ emissions.
As part of this strategy and in collaboration with Volkswagen, MAN is responsible for coordinating and implementing sustainability risk measures for natural rubber throughout the Group. These measures include disclosing the supply chains to identify sustainability risks along with evaluating the risks and is determining recommended actions and measures. Specifically, the Group’s suppliers and other participants in the supply chain could be required to comply with defined environmental and climate protection standards for working conditions.
Sustainable energy supply
The number of electric vehicles worldwide is increasing rapidly. This is good for the climate yet also creates a new challenge: disposing or recycling the vehicle batteries.
Even after years of use, the old batteries still have so much storage capacity that there is no need to recycle them right away. Instead, they are given a second life. For example, in Hamburg: Working together with the Hamburg-Holstein transport authorities (VHH) and Volkswagen, MAN is carrying out a ground-breaking pilot project in Hamburg focusing on reusing electric batteries. 50 batteries that were previously installed in VW Passat GTEs have been combined into a stationary battery storage system at the VHH bus depot. They were fitted on a framework and wired together to create a single large battery. This storage system will be used to test out and optimise a variety of scenarios at the bus depot. The battery storage system then serves to balance out times of peak demand when recharging the electric buses (peak shaving). In addition, the pilot project also aims to provide insights into the batteries’ ageing behaviour.