Circle of trust
MAN’s IAA stand was shaped like a circle. Standing in the hospitality area above the cacophony of metal on display, it reminded CHARLEEN CLARKE of a circle of trust … Trust is important to truckers. They trust that their suppliers will give them products boasting leading-edge technology, trucks and buses that won’t ever let them down, products that deliver efficiency. And that was very much the emphasis at MAN’s IAA stand this year.
Yes, there were some world premieres on display (more about those later). But the distinct impression that was created this year was that the company had set its heart on building and cementing relationships – rather than on wowing the crowds with futuristic technology.
It’s not that the futuristic technology was missing – MAN brought its Concept S to Hanover again this year (we first saw it two years ago). This time around, it was hooked to a dead-sexy aerodynamic trailer from Krone. This makes sense; there’s only so much truck manufacturers can achieve in the race to reduce CO2 emissions – they have to work hand in hand with trailer manufacturers. As Anders Nielsen, the newly appointed CEO of MAN Truck & Bus, noted: “The area in which considerable savings in CO2 are to realised in the operation of heavy commercial vehicles can be found in the consideration of truck and trailer together – and here, primarily in the aerodynamic design of the vehicle as whole. That’s where the biggest potential is.”
And in the case of the Concept S, the company has indeed uncovered huge potential: a mammoth 25 percent fuel and emissions saving. These sort of savings normally come at the expense of payload – but not with this concept vehicle (it can carry the same load volume as a conventional truck).
So how has the company achieved these savings? It’s all about aerodynamics. “Our Concept S, in conjunction with an aerodynamically optimised semi-trailer, is as streamlined as a modern passenger car,” Holger Koos, head truck designer of MAN Truck & Bus, revealed.
“We proved it in the wind tunnel. The savings in consumption are absolutely realistic.”
This necessitated making the truck-tractor and trailer longer than usual, with the result that the combination doesn’t meet European statutory limitations in terms of maximum length (currently 16,5 m). Nielsen said this isn’t a huge issue. “Politicians could achieve big gains in environmental protection with a minor change to the law while simultaneously utilising the innovative strength of Europe’s commercial vehicle industry,” he told FOCUS. “A mere 2,3 metres more length would suffice.” This is no pipedream: the EU Commission may well approve such changes.
While the Concept S is good news for efficiency, it also gets a resounding road safety thumbs up. The combination has a bundle of safety features – our favourite is the LED display at the back of the trailer, which gives drivers behind the truck information on traffic jams or danger on the road ahead. Ain’t that cool?
MAN: POWERED BY AUDI!
MAN gave us another peek into the future with a hybrid truck (yes, you are reading this right) that boasts an Audi diesel engine. It also has a lithium-ion battery, which is located underneath the cab. It will be interesting to follow the company’s progress with this hybrid, which will be tested in the Antwerp/Brussels region at the end of 2012.
A LION WITH TEETH
But back to the present: the big news on the stand was the new MAN logo. As our wonderful stand guide Radim Gendler (sales trainer for trucks at MAN Truck & Bus) noted: “There is more emotion in the design. And our lion now has teeth so we can bite!”
The lettering on the new MAN logo is bigger (it’s found in the middle of the radiator grille), and the new-look lion is meant to “radiate agility and strength”. I think it looks considerably more butch. The lion has also moved up – it now enjoys a prominent position above the lettering. The new corporate identity has already been implemented in South Africa; look out for it on the very latest MAN vehicles on our roads.
EURO-6 IS HERE
MAN also officially lifted the lid on its Euro-6 TGL, TGM, TGS and TGX trucks. As Gendler proudly noted: “One of the most important features of our Euro-6 engines is weight. We are not just consistently efficient; we are also consistently light.” He wasn’t making some wild marketing claim when referring to the company as being “consistently efficient”. Independent European trade magazines have verified that the fuel consumption of the Euro-6 engines is better than that of their predecessors. Furthermore, a “substantial” drop in AdBlue consumption is reported, while the weight of the Euro-6 system has remained low (with obviously payload benefits).
How have they done it? By using demand-controlled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and exhaust after-treatment with SCRT1 (selective catalytic reduction technology). The central components of MAN’s Euro-6 powerplant are common-rail-injection, cooled and controlled exhaust-gas recirculation and two-stage turbocharging. These are followed by exhaust gas after-treatment by an SCR system with an integrated oxidation catalytic converter plus CRT3 (continuously regenerating technology) filter. Electronic sensors permanently monitor absorption capacity of the particulate filter to control regeneration. “MAN is the only company using a two-stage turbocharger on its Euro-6 engines,” Gendler pointed out as we wandered around the stand.
Later on, I dashed upstairs for a quick meeting for the extremely busy Dr Frank Hiller, executive board member marketing sales and services at MAN Truck & Bus. We continued the chat about the Euro-6 trucks, and he revealed that they had been tested in South Africa. “All our new trucks for Europe – including our Euro-6 trucks – are tested in South Africa. If it works in South Africa, it works everywhere,” he noted with a smile.
And now onto the actual trucks. Let’s kick off with the TGL and TGM, which have been enormously successful for the company (over 150 000 TGL and TGM vehicles have been sold to customers in Germany and abroad). Our guide was eager to point out the new interior, which – with its brushed aluminium trims, surfaces of grained plastic and satin chromed door handles – looks more like a luxury car than a truck.
He was equally proud of the new engines, noting that the new Euro-6-compliant MAN TGL and TGM vehicles operate practically emission free. “What’s more, they do so with the same power, economy and reliability as achieved with our Euro-6 engines and [enhanced environmentally-friendly vehicle] EEV,” he stressed.
The new MAN TGS and TGX are, of course, equally impressive. “I hope the Scania guys won’t kill me for stating this, but this is our king of the road,” Gendler told us with a broad grin, while pointing to the TGX 18.480. He noted that the A-pillar on the new truck is different – he says this has made a big difference to aerodynamics. “The V is more pronounced than on the Euro-5 truck; there’s also a lot more bold colouring – black, silver, then back to black again – on the cab. We optimised the air flow under the cab too; you need to remember that Euro-6 systems need a lot of cooling,” he stressed.
Gendler’s favourite feature on the truck, though, is the telescopic windscreen washer – a simple but really clever device that makes it much easier for drivers to clean the windscreen (it’s also unique to MAN). The sales trainer took great delight in relating an incident he witnessed at a truck stop. “It was 6 am and I was watching a MAN driver and a Merc driver cleaning their windscreens. The Merc driver was climbing, and the MAN driver was standing, very relaxed, with the telescopic window cleaner in one hand and a cigarette in the other,” he related with a huge smile.
Of course, the TGX also makes the operators’ lives easier – because, in EfficientLine guise, it’s known to be a veritable champion fuel-saver, and the same applies to the Euro-6 version. “MAN was the first producer to market a truck of this kind, designed front to end for efficiency, and has been imitated many times since. The fuel saving – as much as three litres compared to a standard semi-trailer tractor – is maintained for Euro-6,” Gendler told us.
Around 10 000 EfficientLine trucks are in already operation all over Europe.
COACHES BECOME EFFICIENT TOO
Speaking of EfficientLine, MAN has now taken this concept one step further – and applied it to the Lion’s Coach, which premiered in EfficientLine guise at the IAA. Exactly the same principles as the TGX EfficientLine apply; MAN has pulled out all the stops to slash fuel consumption. This is, of course, equally important to coaches, which also have high annual mileages, typically around 100 000 km.
With its EfficientLine concept, MAN combines technologies, driver information, instruction and training as well as selected services – the ultimate goal being a reduced total cost of ownership.
The Lion’s Coach EfficientLine comes with a fixed powertrain configuration optimised for fuel savings. It’s the D2676 12,4-litre common-rail diesel engine, which delivers 324 kW and a torque of 2 100 Nm at 1 000 to 1 400 r/min. It’s matched to a fuel-saving Eco hypoid axle and low final-drive ratio (i=3.08). A 12-speed MAN TipMatic Coach gearbox is similarly a permanent element of the EfficientLine configuration. The vehicle also comes with an intarder as standard.
At a motorway speed of 100 km/h, this powertrain combination results in a decrease in engine speed of around 14 percent. That’s versus the combination that has, up to now, been the most popular in the Lion’s Coach (rear axle i=3.36, MAN 400-hp D2066 and manual six-speed gearbox).
While there is only one powertrain option, three lengths are up for grabs: 12 metres and 49 seats (Lion’s Coach), 13,26 metres and 53 seats (Lion’s Coach C), and 13,8 metres and 57 seats (Lion’s Coach L).
The world premiere of the Lion’s Coach EfficientLine at the IAA 2012 coincided with its market introduction. The EEV version can be delivered in Europe with immediate effect, while the Euro-6 version will be available at the end of 2013. The Lion’s Coach EfficientLine could come to South Africa, but Hiller said that the company wanted to first test the vehicle and scientifically determine its exact fuel consumption savings in Europe before launching it locally.
IS IT A BUS? OR IS IT A COACH?
The answer is both. We are referring to the Neoplan Jetliner, which also enjoyed its world premiere at the IAA – it’s a “premium bus that can serve as both a city bus and a touring coach”, so it’s a “double earner”.
The new Jetliner has a floor height of 1 070 mm, allows maximum flexibility in terms of a choice of seating, offers up to 8 m³ of storage volume, and has the perfect access height for use in regular-service operation. Furthermore, it has a height of 3,4 metres and a turning circle of just 21 m for the 12-m model.
LIFE’S A GAS WITH VOLKSBUS
Yet another interesting display within MAN’s “circle of trust” was that of a Volksbus
17.280 OT with dual-fuel technology (it can run on natural gas and/or diesel injection). This bus is a particularly environmentally friendly solution for local public transport because emissions are, of course, significantly reduced, especially when biogas is used. Because it can run on diesel alone, the Volksbus 17.280 OT is not restricted to operating in areas with a gas supply.
Development of the Volksbus 17.280 OT with dual-fuel technology is part of the Rio Sustainable Transport Programme. Its objective is to ensure more efficient and sustainable passenger transport for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding region. MAN Latin America deployed similar vehicles for use as shuttle buses at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in June this year.