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MAN: Web-based press conference instead of IAA

MAN Lion's City 18, no. 2027 of Bonn's SWB | © Volkhard Stern

As the well-known IAA commercial vehicles trade fair is not going to take place in Hanover right now, MAN, part of Volkswagen group, was not discouraged and organized an online press conference. Here some of the outcome:

Restructuring: MAN to become even more innovative

Shortly before the press conference, news went through the press that MAN wanted to cut staff. And in the beginning, the company responded to these news. Yes, it has been confirmed that there are indeed plans to reduce the number of employees. This serves to make MAN more effective and innovative. This may also lead to the closure of a plant, but whether this will happen remains to be seen.

There are currently three MAN bus plants. City buses are built in Starachowice, Poland, while Ankara in Turkey is responsible for overland and coaches. In addition, city buses will also be built in Ankara if the order books in Starachowice are too full. Finally, there is Work Plauen. A work with a very interesting history. Here the legendary VOMAG (Vogtländische Maschinenbau AG) built its no less legendary trucks and buses, including unusual constructions.

VOMAG Friedrichshafen built in 1927 | © MAN Archiv

As we all know, the Second World War was lost by the Germans, and Plauen became part fo the DDR, and the VOMAG factory was dismantled. A few designers of VOMAG moved to the Western part of Germany to a well-known commercial vehicle manufacturer called “Südwerke” – so for a short time the commercial vehicle division of Krupp … After Germany’s reunification in 1989 Neoplan moved into the former VOMAG facilities to build the unconventional plastic bus “Metroliner in CarbonDesign (MiC)” in it.

In 2000 Neoplan (similar with Setra at the same time) no longer managed to stand alone. Setra ended up in the Daimler (Mercedes) Group, Neoplan became the subsidiary of MAN. Und MAN converted the Plauen plant into its “Bus Modification Center (BMC)”, where mainly coaches of the MAN and Neoplan brands can be equipped with every possible luxury. Will the plant survive the restructuring?

But now we come to the individual buses of the brand:

The Lion’s City

The “volume model” par excellence of MAN is the city bus Lion’s City. Recently, he debuted with a completely new generation, which with its “edger” look (“smart edge design”) not only looks significantly better than its predecessor. 90% of all Lion’s City, which are still delivered with a diesel engine, leave the factory today as “Efficient Hybrid”. When braking, they recuperate electrical current, which they then use to start again at the next stop or traffic light. Independent research confirms to MAN that this will reduce diesel consumption by 8.2%. And this also reduces emissions of pollutants in the same range.

MAN Lion’s City 12, no. 2007 SWB Bonn | © Christian Marquordt

The articulated version is the “Lion’s City 18” with the usual length of 18 meters for most articulated cars. And finally, with the “Lion’s City 19”, MAN also has a slightly longer version of the articulated bus in its range, which measures 18,750 mm. 75 centimeters more: there you can accommodate two more rows of seats. With the “Lion’s City 19” MAN almost has a unique selling point: only Solaris offers a bus in this area with the “Urbino 18.75”.

The Lion’s City 12 E

The first 12-metre-long Lion’s City with electric drive started commercial operation. Two of the first vehicles went to Hamburger Hochbahn and to Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH), to Munich’s “Museum Line” 100 and to Wolfsburg. All are part of of pre-production series. Now series production begins, and 17 of the first ebuses will go to VHH. Twenty-two more will be delivered to Nobina Sverige in Malmö, Sweden.

Hamburg’s “sister company” HHA (Hamburger Hochbahn) recently advertised 530 electric buses to be delivered by 2025. Three manufacturers have been asked to submit an offer after an initial application phase. MAN is proud to be one of these three companies (the other two are Mercedes and Solaris). It has not yet been decided who will deliver how many electric buses, but: MAN is there!

MAN Lion’s City 12 E, no. 2091 of HHA Hamburg | © Christian Marquordt

Lion’s City E, MAN relies exclusively on recharging the batteries overnight at the depot. Recharging on the line, MAN considers unnecessary due to the range of modern batteries. For the 12-metre-long “Lion’s City 12 E”, MAN calls a range of up to 270 kilometres.

The Lion’s City 18 E

The first test vehicles of the full-electric articulated bus Lion’s City 18E will go to KVB in Cologne and TMB in Barcelona later this year.

Note: It is interesting that Cologne is going to test the Lion’s City 18 E. We remember: MAN relies exclusively on recharging the batteries overnight at the depot (“over-night-charging”). Cologne’s KVB, on the other hand, has so far relied on recharging via pantograph on the line – see Cologne’s electric bus line 133 with its reloading stations at the main station and on Höninger Platz.

The new MAN Lion’s City 18 E | © MAN

MAN stores the traction current in 8 battery packs on the roof of the bus, which are kept particularly flat. Thanks to the arrangement on the roof, the batteries are easier to access, and the other advantage of this arrangement is that they are not located in the rear of the bus in an area where it could be problematic in the event of a rear-end accident.

The Lion’s City 18 E can carry 120 passengers. Two central electric motors on axles two and three provide propulsion. MAN has opted for the central motors because, unlike wheel hub motors or near-cycle motors, they are more accessible and less technically complicated. This means lower maintenance cost and consequently lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

The powertrain in the Lion’s City 18 E produces a maximum of 480 kW, the capacity of the Lithium-ion batteries is 640 kWh. MAN commits to a range of 200 kilometers, under favorable conditions 270 kilometers can be reached.

The Lion’s Intercity

The MAN Lion’s Intercity comes from the Ankara plant. He is a real all-rounder. It is available as an interurban line car with a narrow front door and double-width door in the middle.

Lion’s Intercity 13 meters length | © MAN

MAN now also offers the “Lion’s Intercity LE”. This is a low-entry bus, between the two doors a real low-floor car, where behind the second door it then goes up over steps into the higher rear area. The high carriage floor in the rear allows the installation of a simpler rear axle compared to a 100% low-floor bus, which makes the bus cheaper.

MAN’s smallest, the TGE Bus

Together with the parent company VW, MAN offers a transporter. At Volkswagen, it is called Crafter, at MAN it is called “TGE”. From the very beginning, it was also available as a station wagon with seats.

Competitor Mercedes has had some success for years with city buses derived from the “Sprinter” transporter series and being built at the Daimler plant in Dortmund. MAN was right to think that this could be done, and so the mini-city bus “MAN TGE City” made its debut at Busworld in Brussels last October.

MAN TGE City at the Busworld 2019 in Brussels | © Christian Marquordt
Brandnew MAN TGE Coach | © MAN

Now the program of MAN minibuses is supplemented by the “TGE Coach”, i.e. a coach. It is created in collaboration with the Lithuanian carbody ALTAS, who has his work in the vicinity of the capital Vilnius. The TGE Coach can accommodate up to 16 passengers on comfortable travel seats with plenty of room freedom. It is not only available as diesel, but also as an all-electric “eTGE”. It is available with the normal rear of the van as well as with a special “bus rear”, which gives the car a much more pleasing appearance. The TGE Coach is 7.4 metres long and 2.62 metres high without air conditioning. The propulsion is provided by an engine with 177 hp (130 kW).

While the “TGE Kombi” and the “TGE City” are being builtin its own Bus Modification Center in Plauen (seeabove), ALTAS in Lithuania is converting the TGE transporter in its longest version to the “TGE Coach”.

The coaches

In addition, MAN also has a number of coaches in its production programm:

1. The Lion’s Coach

2. The Neoplan Tourliner

3. The Cityliner

4. The Skyliner

Premier of the new Neoplan Tourliner at Busworld 2017 in Kortrijk | © Christian Marquordt
Neoplan Cityliner in Frankfurt in 2010 | © Christian Marquordt
The very first double deck coach: Neoplan DoLux | © Christian Marquordt
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