MAN Truck & Bus, together with the Austrian Council for Sustainable Logistics (CNL), have signed an agreement to begin testing electrically-powered vehicles.

In signing the development partnership agreement, the companies have initiated the introduction of electric drives in medium and heavy distribution transport with a permitted gross weight of 12 to 26 tons. The letter of intent between the CNL member companies and MAN Truck & Bus was signed at the MAN production site in Steyr, Austria, where the Munich-based vehicle manufacturer manufactures its MAN TGL and MAN TGM distribution transport vehicles.

“As the Truck Modification Centre is also based here, the Steyr site is perfect for producing our first electric trucks. The CNL companies will test out these vehicles in daily use,” says Joachim Drees, Chairman of the Board of MAN Truck & Bus, underlining the importance of MAN’s Steyr works for its development partnership with CNL.

CNL is linked to the Centre for Global Change and Sustainability at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU).

“CO2-free urban logistics represents an essential step forwards in combating urban air pollution and climate change,” says BOKU Vice Rector, Josef Glößl. “We are delighted that here at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna we are able to set a first milestone on this path.

“CNL and MAN have come together as competent partners with the aim of positively mapping out the future of urban life.”

Climatologist Helga Kromp-Kolb says achieving internationally agreed climate targets requires pioneers who are able to look ahead and who are prepared to do their bit. “This partnership provides an opportunity to achieve rapid success – success that we urgently require in order to keep global warming below two degrees,” she says.

Dr Carsten Intra, a member of the MAN Executive Board who is responsible for research and development, adds that the partnership with CNL offers MAN an opportunity to further develop existing technology for series production using the practical experiences of members in the consortium. It will also help the company’s new product portfolio to meet customers’ requirements.

In addition to technical field testing, the development of services specific to eTrucks will also be incorporated into the process. This involves more than just the simple workshop service. “In e-mobility, there is more of a focus on effective operational advice and support in order to ensure that the customer is provided with the right means of transport to suit their transportation needs. As manufacturers, we will start to place a greater emphasis on analysing customer needs.”

According to Dees, MAN has a clear roadmap for its trucks and buses when it comes to electro mobility. “We are introducing you to our first eTruck, and by the end of the year you will be seeing it on our streets,” he says, explaining MAN’s long-term approach to electrically-powered vehicles.

“By 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.”