The future has right of way: Today’s MAN buses, for the mobility of tomorrow
Bold decisions, innovative and sustainable solutions, adaptable structures and a strong team: With its NewMAN strategy, MAN Truck & Bus has set the course for the future, with the clear aim of playing a decisive role in shaping the mobility of tomorrow. The focus is on holistic solutions for customers, true to the motto: “Simplifying Customer Business!” The two bus brands MAN and NEOPLAN offer a state-of-the-art portfolio of city buses, intercity buses, coaches and minibuses and win over customers with tailored solutions for every application. The growth in market share in the bus business despite the Covid-19 crisis is indicative of how well the vehicles are already being received. An excellent basis for meeting the challenges of tomorrow.
- At MAN, the focus in future will be on zero-emission technologies with an emphasis on e-mobility, autonomous vehicles and digital solutions
- The broad portfolio of city buses, intercity buses, coaches and minibuses for every purpose is already impressive
- Fully electric MAN Lion's City E an operational success throughout Europe
- World first: New MAN Lion's Intercity LE sets benchmark in Low Entry class
- Building on experience: The NEOPLAN Cityliner has been wowing business owners, drivers and passengers for 50 years now
Nothing has affected and shaken people and markets more in recent months than Covid-19. The pandemic has been extremely challenging for the coach sector in particular. “Despite these challenging circumstances, our buses have performed excellently on the market,” says Andreas Tostmann, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus. The market shares of the MAN and NEOPLAN brands have grown steadily in recent years. “This is also down to the broad and future-oriented portfolio of city buses, intercity buses, coaches and minibuses we can offer. Demand for these vehicles is constantly increasing. We are very proud of this,” says Tostmann, before adding: “We are, however, fully aware that we need to put the future at the forefront of what we do at all times in order to stay relevant. After all, the megatrends of zero-emission mobility, digitalisation and automation are changing the face of the world we know at a rapid pace. Our NewMAN strategy provides the basis for a comprehensive reorientation of the MAN brand. With the strong team we have, we are fully committed to embracing this period of change at MAN and together we will lead the company towards a successful future!”
The strategy focuses on creating competitive and adaptable structures to make MAN Truck & Bus as resilient as possible. The other objective of the restructuring process is a considerable improvement in operational results, which will enable us to use our own resources for any future capital expenditures that may be necessary. The reorganisation of the production and development network is making an important contribution to cost efficiency. In terms of technology, MAN is focussing on zero-emission technologies in its role as a “smart innovator”, with a particular focus on e-mobility and hydrogen as an alternative. Autonomous vehicles and a digital product portfolio that will facilitate new business models while playing a decisive role in improving the customer experience will also be key areas of focus. But all of this is only possible with a strong team that adheres to common values and principles – another important pillar in the NewMAN strategy, which aims to “simplify customer business through leading sustainable solutions”.
MAN Lion’s City E: Fully electric city bus gets pulses racing
The innovative buses from the MAN Group clearly show that the MAN team has an excellent foundation to build on. And leading the line is the fully electric Lion's City E, MAN Truck & Bus' sustainable series solution for urban mobility that is already out on the road. For months now, the MAN Lion's City E has been demonstrating how well it copes with city traffic in a growing number of European cities and how easily it can be integrated into existing processes. To help public transport operators adapt their electric bus perfectly to the specific deployment, MAN is now offering two different battery usage strategies for the Lion’s City E: Alongside the tried-and-tested “Reliable Range” strategy, there is now also the “Maximum Range” strategy, which offers an even greater daily range.
With its range in particular, but also with its reliability, comfort and sustainability, the electric bus inspires bus operators, drivers, passengers and experts alike. “Buses are already considered the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective mode of transport. However, it is up to public transport operators and local authorities to cut CO2 emissions even further and thus contribute to climate protection,” says Rudi Kuchta, Head of Business Unit Bus at MAN Truck & Bus, before adding: “More and more public transport companies are taking this on board and putting their faith exclusively in battery-powered city buses when purchasing new buses. Either that or they are setting clear target dates for converting their entire fleet to emission-free drives.”
What's more, customers are already benefiting from a comprehensive e-mobility concept that brings together integral consulting and customised, forward-looking mobility solutions. For example, MAN has recently restructured its MAN eManager services so that fleet managers can manage their electric vehicles in an optimum manner. With the aid of the digital tool on the RIO platform, TRATON's cloud-based platform, the battery, room temperature and many other vehicle parameters can be conveniently controlled from your desk.
New MAN Lion’s Intercity LE makes its world début
The latest member of the MAN bus family also oozes innovative spirit: the new MAN Lion's Intercity LE is now making its world début and setting standards in the low-entry class. This is because the new Lion's Intercity LE offers the best of both worlds in the fast-growing low-entry segment: it combines an optimised seating layout with low- floor genes and intercity design concepts in a modern, attractive vehicle. This means that the MAN Lion's Intercity LE can be used in a versatile manner for both city and intercity transport services. The new model series replaces three bus models, and starting in 2023 will also be fitted with the tried and proven MAN EfficientHybrid drive of the new Lion's City generation. The two intercity versions, namely the Lion's Intercity LE 12 and Lion's Intercity LE 13, will be launched first. Production will start at the beginning of 2022.
NEOPLAN Cityliner: Evergreen of the coach segment turns 50
The NEOPLAN Cityliner was causing a stir five decades ago, and the same is still true today. It was unveiled for the first time at the legendary Omnibus Week in Monaco in 1971. Its unmistakable design concept became a distinctive feature of the brand, which is synonymous with innovation and progress in a way unmatched by any other bus brand. In 2006, the latest generation was launched on the basis of the design icon, the NEOPLAN Starliner, using the unmistakable “sharp cut” design. To mark the 50th anniversary of the successful model, there is now a “platinum version”, modelled on the legendary “Platinum Edition” from 1996. It was launched on the occasion of the company's 60th anniversary.
“Whether it's a modern intercity bus, a luxurious coach or a fully electric city bus – business owners and cities will find the right bus for every purpose at our company,” says Rudi Kuchta. The extensive product portfolio is also complemented by MAN minibuses, which are used as coaches, for feeder services or as crew transport vehicles. As of this year, the minibuses, which are based on the successful MAN TGE van, are equipped with the new engine generation as standard in accordance with the more stringent Euro 6d emissions standard – making them even more environmentally-friendly.
Wide range of systems improve safety for all road users
The operational purposes of large buses and minibuses may differ greatly, but they all score points when it comes to comfort, the latest technology and their range of safety systems. These provide drivers with the greatest possible support and protect passengers and other road users. “Improving safety for everyone is something we think about all the time, and that drives us forwards. That is why we have been pooling our experience and expertise into developing innovative assistance systems”, says Heinz Kiess, Head of Product Marketing Bus at MAN Truck & Bus. For example, MAN ComfortSteering – an electronically assisted steering system – will be available for MAN and NEOPLAN buses/coaches from 2022. This makes the entire steering process much easier and more comfortable for the driver as it complements the hydraulic steering system with additional steering torque from an electric motor. The Lane Return Assist (LRA) system will also be available as of next year: The Lane Return Assist LRA helps drivers to stay in lane by actively steering the vehicle back into the current lane. Drivers in city traffic also receive special support from the turning assistant with active warning system and pedestrian detection – an effective way of preventing accidents caused by blind spots. Front and side cameras automatically monitor the surroundings of the vehicle, and the driver is alerted visually and acoustically to dangerous situations and potential collisions.
“Our goal is to set the course for the future with competitive structures, ultra-modern, clean vehicles, innovative assistance and safety systems, not to mention sophisticated services that make it as easy as possible for our customers to embrace e-mobility,” says Kuchta. And he goes on to say: “We have set out on a path that is certainly challenging at times. Nevertheless, we will continue to pursue it resolutely, focus on our customers and the issue of sustainability to an even greater extent, and build on our strengths. This approach will enable us to play a decisive role in shaping the mobility of tomorrow.”