Icy tests: MANeTruck copes with polar winter

Published: Monday, May 8, 2023

From December to March, MAN integrated the upcoming large-series e-truck into its annual winter testing in northern Sweden. There, the MAN eTruck, which is suitable for daily ranges of between 600 and 800 kilometres, proved that it also works without problems in ice, snow and temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees. Driving functions and range, air conditioning and charging behaviour were the focus of thousands of successful electric test kilometres under Arctic conditions.

Around 30 test engineers braved the polar winter with freezing cold, snowstorms and only a few hours of daylight for around four months to bring the new MAN eTruck further towards series production readiness.

In the process, they tested the overall energy management, the cooling and thermal management of the battery packs, the interaction and control of the powertrain components as well as the charging behaviour under the extreme winter conditions, among other things, on four prototypes with different battery, e-motor, transmission, axle and cab configurations of the later series production range.

“The winter tests were a complete success. Our engineers literally put the new eTruck through its paces, day and night under the toughest conditions. The maturity level is already extremely high and the development team is working with great passion on the further trials to provide our customers with an optimal product for the switch to CO2-free Road freight transport,” said Dr Frederik Zohm, Executive Board Member for Research and Development at MAN Trucks & Bus.

Rainer Miksch, Vice President Vehicle Testing, MAN Truck & Bus, explains, “Interdisciplinary teams are the key to making the eTruck ready for all customer requirements and operating conditions. Our goal is to be able to cover a large part of today’s application portfolio electrically with the new eTruck. The CO2-free long-distance transport of refrigerated goods in the classic semitrailer combination will be just as possible as the collection of milk from the organic farmer with the electric food tanker or the low-noise and emission-free waste disposal in the city.”

The winter test was just the beginning of a series of numerous vehicle and component tests that will put the new MAN eTruck through its paces until its market launch.

Batteries have to prove their resistance to open fire, immersion in water and a free fall to the ground, individual components as well as the entire vehicle have to pass demanding crash tests, but also noise measurements and tests on electromagnetic compatibility are just some of the numerous upcoming validations that will make the truck ready for series production.

In addition, the new eTruck will cover many hundreds of thousands of kilometres in continuous operation on European roads. Apart from winter testing, it also includes so-called hot-land testing in the south of Spain with outside temperatures well above plus 40 degrees and strong sunlight, which heats components to an extreme and places very specific demands on the temperature control of the batteries, the charging management system and also the powertrain components, as Rainer Miksch emphasises: “Meeting the sometimes extremely different operating conditions with regard to the diverse applications of our customers is the fine art of commercial vehicle development. But now that the eTruck has more than fulfilled our expectations in winter testing, the entire test and development team is already looking forward to the upcoming validations and summer testing in order to get one step closer to large-scale production of the electric truck again.”Story & Images Source:www.press.mantruckandbus.com


Campus Future Driveline: MAN researches together with universities on the drives of the future

A cooperation between the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), the Nuremberg University of Applied Sciences Georg Simon Ohm (Ohm) and MAN Truck & Bus is conducting joint research into the mobility of the future.

The Campus Future Driveline works both decentrally together and spatially united on the factory premises of the MAN site in Nuremberg. The joint laboratories on the MAN site were officially opened in the presence of Prof. Dr. Siegfried Russwurm, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and Marcus König, Lord Mayor of the City of Nuremberg.

To jointly commit to the further development of fossil-free, future-proof drives and to create synergies between science and industry—that is the goal of the Future Driveline Campus, which officially opened in April.

The Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), the Technical University of Nuremberg Georg Simon Ohm (Ohm) and the commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN Truck & Bus are involved. As a triple alliance, they will share their existing infrastructure at previous locations and create new laboratories at the Campus Future Driveline on the MAN factory premises in Nuremberg. The first Ohm students will move into their workplaces here in summer 2022. The conversion of the laboratories was started at the beginning of 2022.

Five test benches have already been set up and put into operation. A total of eight test benches for batteries and fuel cells as well as a materials laboratory are to be built here.

By leasing the space on the Nuremberg factory premises of MAN Truck & Bus to Ohm, the parties involved have succeeded in making particularly sustainable use of existing resources, because Ohm had already been looking for new space for its students for some time. The symbiotic use of the space vacated by MAN in buildings A3, A5 and A8 represents a win-win situation. Before the Campus Future Driveline moved in, the MAN premises were used for the development of natural gas and diesel engines.

“For MAN Truck & Bus, the campus here in Nuremberg is another milestone in the transformation of this tradition-rich site. This is where the most efficient diesel engines were and are already being created, and this is where the most economical battery packs, fuel cells and electric engines will be developed and produced for our customers in the future with scientific support,” said Alexander Vlaskamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of MAN Truck & Bus, during the opening ceremony.

Prof. Dr. Siegfried Russwurm, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and Honorary Professor of Mechatronics at FAU, was on site in Nuremberg as a guest of honour. He said: “Technology openness paves the way to climate neutrality. This leads to innovations that convince customers worldwide and are demanded by them. Politicians need to promote innovation without ideological blinkers and focus much more on the transfer between science and business.”

Furthermore, representatives of the two participating universities as well as Marcus König, Lord Mayor of the City of Nuremberg, attended the opening ceremony as guests of honour. A video message shown by the Bavarian State Minister for Science and the Arts, Markus Blume, also acknowledged the joint efforts and goals of the partners involved in the Campus.

Prof. Dr. Niels Oberbeck, President of the Georg Simon Ohm University of Applied Sciences, sees many advantages of the cooperation: “Through our application-oriented research, we can not only successfully shape this transformation, which is so important for our region, but also further develop our teaching: Our students gain insights into content and new technologies that would not be possible without the interaction of companies, university and university.”

And Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger, President of FAU, explains: “Without new and above all sustainable forms of mobility, the transport revolution will not succeed. Close cooperation between science and industry is essential for this. At FAU, scientists have played a decisive role in shaping research in the field of innovative transport technologies in recent years, just as students are dealing with the topic in various degree programmes. The Campus Future Driveline now brings three important partners in the region, MAN, FAU and THN, even closer together.”

The first joint projects of the Campus Future Driveline have been started or put into practice. Prof. Dr. Michael Wensing from FAU wrote the technical lecture “Hydrogen” for the MAN Academy, an internal further education institution. A basic training course on the subject of “hydrogen and fuel cells” developed at the Ohm Professional School (Ohm’s institute for further education) has also already gone live. In the field of fuel cells, the research project “Fuel-Cell System Heavy Duty” (FAU), the establishment of an energy laboratory in the NFLUID project (Ohm) and SMART.H2 (Ohm) have been started. The latter deals with the monitoring and regeneration of fuel cells. The BNG 2.0 project (THN), i.e., Battery Next Generation, is concerned with the further development of battery technology.

Nuremberg is and will remain MAN’s production and development site—as many recent decisions show. Another project for the future is also about batteries: from 2025, battery packs for MAN trucks and buses will be manufactured in large-scale series production at the MAN site in Nuremberg. The investment (around 100 million euros) is being supported by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs with 30 million euros as part of the energy research and technology promotion programme.

The pre-development project of the H45 hydrogen combustion engine, which is based on the D38 diesel engine, also originated in Nuremberg. For testing and demonstration purposes, the H45 was integrated into a MAN TGX tractor unit. The topping-out ceremony for a new production hall was also celebrated here at the end of March 2023.


Opening of Campus Future Driveline on 6.4.2023 in Nuremberg (from left): Ulrich Zimmer, Site Manager Nuremberg MAN Truck & Bus SE; Prof. Dr. Andreas P. Fröba, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen-Nuremberg; Prof. Dr. Siegfried Russwurm, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI); Prof. Dr. Niels Oberbeck, President of the Nuremberg Institute of Technology – Georg Simon Ohm; Alexander Vlaskamp, CEO MAN Truck & Bus SE; Dr. Frederik Zohm, CTO MAN Truck & Bus SE.Image Credit: Man Truck & Bus