by Steve Hanley – March 25th, 2017
MAN, the heavy truck division of Volkswagen, says it will begin testing an electric semi truck in cooperation with nine of Austria’s largest transportation companies and the Council for Sustainable Logistics before the end of 2017. The trucks will have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of between 12 and 26 tons. How they perform in medium- and heavy-duty service will provide feedback that will help MAN develop a larger portfolio of electric trucks for the future.
“The CNL companies will test out these vehicles in daily use,” says Joachim Drees, chairman of the board of directors for MAN.
Dr Carsten Intra, another member of the MAN board, adds, “The partnership with CNL offers MAN the ideal opportunity to further develop existing technology for series production using the practical experiences of members in the consortium. It will also help us gear our new product portfolio to customers’ requirements.”
“MAN has a clear roadmap for its trucks and buses when it comes to electro-mobility. We are introducing you to our first eTruck here today, and by the end of the year you will be seeing it on our streets,” Drees told the press. “At the end of 2019 we will be going into series production for an all-electric city bus, with series production of the eTruck to begin in early 2021. We will be using a flexible modular assembly of drive components that we can use for different applications.”
MAN unveiled its first Metropolis electric concept vehicle in 2012 and showed a further development of the concept in 2016. The MAN City-Truck concept vehicle, designed for applications in night shift deliveries to city center locations, is powered by a 250 kW electric motor that delivers 2,700 Nm of torque to the rear axle via a prop shaft with no gearbox. Lithium-ion batteries from the Volkswagen Group are arranged under the driver’s cab above the front axle. The vehicle offers a range of 200 kilometers and has the same payload as a legacy diesel tractor from MAN’s TGS model range.
We know that Tesla is working on an electric semi truck which will be called the Tesla Semi (clever name, that). Also, Nikola Motors says it has hundreds of order for its Nikola One electric semi truck that will use a hydrogen fuel cell to extend range to as much as 1,200 miles.
As much as reducing the carbon footprint from automobiles is important, winning the battle against climate change will require heavy vehicles that haul cargo to give up their dependency on diesel engines. There are many more cars than trucks, but heavy-duty vehicles contribute a disproportionate amount of carbon emissions to the environment.