MAN will continue showcasing the best of its diesel engine technology. Yet it’s a new electric chassis that is set to steal the show in 2023.
Spanning across diesel and battery electric technology, MAN’s five-chassis fleet covers many applications in Australia.
Through its range of coaches, school and intercity buses, MAN’s high-quality chassis and commitment to safety is clear. When it comes to its metro city buses and latest electric chassis that it recently unveiled, MAN is on a mission to expand its zero-emissions capabilities in Australia.
The star of the show is MAN’s new electric low-floor chassis. The Lion’s Chassis E LF was first shown at the Bus & Coach Expo in 2022. The fully low-floor electric chassis is modelled off the MAN Lion’s City E chassis, which was voted the International Bus of the Year for 2023.
Head of MAN Bus & Coach Crinel Geaboc says the new electric model sits front and centre in MAN’s offerings for 2023 and beyond.
“We’re excited about being able to offer the Lion’s Chassis E LF a bit earlier than initially expected,” Geaboc told ABC. “We first thought that we were going to have to wait longer but the timeline reduced, which is great.
“It’s been almost two years and now we’re set to release it. It comes exactly in time to deliver the electric chassis to operators in New South Wales, Brisbane and Victoria, where there’s so much excitement about electric buses.”
Geaboc says the prototype of the electric chassis is expected to arrive in Australia in the middle of 2023. Once it arrives, Geaboc says the chassis will be available for demonstrations, with orders now currently open.
Yet MAN’s offerings aren’t restricted to electric technology. MAN’s leading diesel chassis include its intercity and charter bus models. Geaboc says the engines featured in these products are the most advanced technology in diesel that customers can source in Australia.
“We have this diesel technology available in a model that varies between 10.5m and 12.5m long in two different lengths,” Geaboc says. “We also have diesel coaches available that feature the typical MAN high-end finish while also being top quality in terms of reliability and safety for a coach.”
The coach chassis available from MAN ranges from 12.5m to 13.5m long three-axle variants that feature 510 hp and Euro 6 engine emission technology. Geaboc says the power on these diesel coach chassis make them a unique feature of the Australian diesel coach market.
“These are the best performing engines for such an application,” Geaboc says. “It has lots of muscle packed into it to help the coaches get up hills and work through different Australian climates.”
Geaboc says MAN’s investment in safety is emblematic across all chassis in its fleet.
The buses and coaches feature driver assistance packages as standard that also work on split windscreens. With adaptive cruise control, EBS, emergency braking, automatic wipers and lights, lane guard warnings and tyre pressure monitor systems included, Geaboc says MAN’s safety packages cover all bases for Australian customers.
“The safety packages on these buses and coaches are outstanding,” Geaboc says. “One of our salesman recently drove one of these coaches from Melbourne to Sydney. When visibility was reduced by poor weather conditions in the dark, the bus automatically began to reduce speed.
“The driver soon found out there was a traffic jam ahead. The bus knew before he did. How exciting is it to see MAN’s engineering at work?”
It all points towards a heavy focus on the Australian industry. Geaboc says he’s excited about what MAN can bring down under in 2023 and beyond.
“The new electric bus body will be made here in Australia, increasing local content,” Geaboc says. “We want to support local manufacturing here for a long time to come.”
What to look forward to in 2023
Geaboc is the first to admit that 2022 was a difficult year for the Australian industry. With supply chain issues running rampant, the MAN Bus & Coach head says the company did its best in trying circumstances.
“With delays caused by the supply chain and delivery schedules being impacted, no one was immune from the effects,” Geaboc told ABC. “It was difficult to meet commitments to deliver buses on time, yet it was understandable.
“We’ve now been able to increase the number of units to deliver next year as well.”
Leading the charge for MAN’s resurgence is its electric Lion’s Chassis E LF that will drive MAN’s commitment to zero-emissions chassis in 2023. Having received positive feedback about the bus globally, Geaboc says the chassis is set to take Australia by storm.
Geaboc says MAN is aiming to have every second bus delivered in 2030 be an electric model. The release of this electric chassis goes a long way towards meeting the target.
“I had the opportunity to test the bus on a track in Munich after hearing the strong customer feedback,” Geaboc says. “I was impressed by how the bus performed.
“I believe it’s a chassis that we will be very proud of, and we hope the customer will also enjoy the high-quality product too.”