Focus on e-drives

Interview with Alexander Vlaskamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of MAN Truck & Bus, who sees the truck industry facing the biggest change in its history. He wants to show visitors to the IAA TRANSPORTATION he wants to show visitors how the transformation can succeed.

IAA aktuell: After a forced break, the commercial vehicle industry has returned to Hanover. How do you see the IAA TRANSPORTATION 2022?

Vlaskamp: I am looking forward to all of us finally meeting in person again. The IAA TRANSPORTATION is and will remain a showcase along the three megatrends of the industry: zero emissions, digitalisation and autonomous driving. We will be showing our heavy-duty e-truck and a new digital payment system for the first time, in which the truck in principle takes over the payment of the fuel bill completely automatically.

What trends are currently dominating the truck segment for you?

The truck industry is experiencing the biggest change in its history. In zero-emission technologies, we are focusing on electric drives and researching hydrogen technologies. E-drives are already holding their own in regional and distribution transport. From 2024, we will put our heavy-duty e-truck on the road. Autonomous commercial vehicles, which are expected to be in use after the middle of the decade, offer great potential in terms of safety and efficiency. In addition, digital networking is playing an increasingly important role. At MAN, for example, application-specific driving programmes can be uploaded to the vehicle over the air.

Why should visitors to the IAA TRANSPORTATION come to MAN?

Because we show transport companies ways in which the change can succeed. In the case of conventional drives, we are once again significantly reducing consumption with the new generation of engines. Overall, we are talking about a reduction of up to 15 percentage points from TG2 to TG3. We are significantly increasing driver comfort in the cab and thus making the workplace in the truck more attractive. For the changeover to zero-emission drives, we provide comprehensive advice on route analyses, fleet optimisation and, of course, the electric charging infrastructure.

And what is the current situation regarding the charging infrastructure for electric trucks?

With our joint venture, we are building at least 1,700 charging points throughout Europe together with Volvo, Daimler and Scania. That's a start, but of course the nationwide expansion of the charging infrastructure will only succeed in close cooperation with politicians. Megawatt charging technology will be important for this. Our upcoming e-truck is already pre-equipped, which will make daily ranges of up to 1,000 kilometres possible in the future. Our partner ABB E-Mobility wants to bring the necessary technology to market quickly.

How soon will automated driving functions be available for MAN trucks? Will the focus first be on scenarios in the depot or on driving on the motorway?

We are pursuing development projects for autonomous driving on the motorway, with the aim of driverless driving in traffic between logistics hubs, as well as within a logistics hub. We have already looked at the latter in the port of Hamburg and are developing the technology further in Deutsche Bahn's road-rail container handling near Ulm. There, trucks drive which, apart from the additional camera and sensor technology, do not look any different from trucks in which a driver sits. We expect to be able to bring autonomous transport between logistics hubs to series production by the end of this decade.

Hall 12, Stand C20