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2020 MAN Lions City E

While the development of e-cars for private individuals has now picked up considerably, the later beginning development of buses is now much faster. This is due to the fact that politicians are clearly exerting pressure, driven, for example, by the threat of a ban on Diesel cars, the drivers affected by this and the trade.

Politics is waving with money at them. If we assume that two years ago, an electric bus cost about twice as much as a Diesel bus and the total battery capacity has more than doubled, you can guess what such a vehicle costs today (2020) and what can be earned from it.

It is not only Mercedes and MAN that are facing fierce competition; the two German manufacturers are also threatened with bad luck from abroad. There is a lot to be gained. If anyone has the impression that MAN has hesitated a little too long in this circle, it would be logical to take a bigger step to catch up.

What does it look like? Under the sheet metal rather conservative. While Mercedes is using a completely new rear axle from ZF with electric motors and outer planet gearboxes at the wheels, MAN is retaining the ZF axle with cardan shaft from the rear, as is customary for Diesel engines, and is using a particularly powerful engine from the VW-group.

However, anyone who now believes that it is finally possible to use the same engines for a commercial vehicle as for a sports car, trusting in the high torque of this species, is mistaken. The performance is all right, but not the torque. Even the most powerful Porsche engine currently has only half of the City E to offer.

In addition, bus operators obviously cannot advertise peak performance as are used for a passenger car. They are more honest, which means that the MAN can deliver this double torque for hours. So, that would be the first difference to Daimler, but the second one follows immediately. It concerns battery capacity and when I heard about it at the last IAA for commercial vehicles, I could hardly believe it.

Although MAN, unlike Mercedes, allows almost the entire engine compartment to be used by passengers, the solo bus achieves 480 kWh and the articulated bus 640 kWh, all gathered on the roof. If one converts the values of good car batteries, then at least 4 tonnes are already collected on the roof of the solo bus.

Unfortunately, if you look at the pictures, the charging capacity cannot quite keep up with these capacities. Although the group's own 800V technology will probably be introduced here, MAN almost exclusively talks about charging via plugs, which results in 150 kW maximum. A single station where charging rails were visible on the roof of a City E. So let's assume 300 kW, which will then only be available in the factory and probably also at the location of the buses.

What is missing are the so-called pantographs. If you look to Amsterdam, for example, you will find four of them next to each other at any given location. Pantographs are also perhaps already there because two years ago, public transport companies had to make do with a real range of perhaps 60 km and designed the timetable in such a way that it was possible to have such a shop at perhaps several stops.

And let's be honest, the plug will still be there for emergencies, as will the possibility of AC charging, but bus drivers will certainly be spared this activity in the long run, simply because pantographs save time and are less complicated and safer. By the way, in Amsterdam the buses do not charge with 300 but with 450 kWh. Let us hope that the two German companies will soon be able to remedy this small disadvantage and then supply as many buses as VDL.

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