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MAN sets sights on completing electric in 2024

MAN’s 2024 is set to be a massive year, courtesy of a new complete electric bus model and a variety of technological innovations

Well-known for its variety of bus and coach models both globally and in Australia, MAN Truck & Bus has plenty more innovation to come in the near future.

With a suite of Euro 5 models traditionally part of the MAN stable, the brand has recently converted its buses and coaches to Euro 6 versions. This tweak has already seen performances increase across the board, while improved reliability and design capabilities mean MAN’s chassis in Australia have a total cost of ownership advantage for customers.

“When operators look at the MAN models, our coaches and buses are all available with plenty of benefits, including the efficient Euro 6 engine,” Penske Australia head of bus and coach Crinel Geaboc told ABC.

“Whether it be the standard low-floor bus, two or three-axle coaches or a new electric chassis, we have options for everyone in the local market.”

The latest technological innovation that MAN will bring to Australia in the coming year is a new complete electric bus. Having been designed in 2019 before being launched in 2023 in Europe, more than 1,000 of these vehicles have now been registered in Europe.

The Lion’s Chassis E LF was first shown to Australian crowds at the 2022 Bus & Coach Expo in Sydney. It is based on the MAN Lion’s City E, which was voted the International Bus of the Year for 2023.

“It’s a fantastic bus in terms of performance, appearance and design,” Geaboc says.

Image Supplied: MAN

“It’s been at the top of our list to bring this model to Australia. We’ve incorporated the driveline of the European complete bus to bring into Australia a similar product.”

Geaboc recently went to MAN’s global factory, overseeing the production line to see in person the quality of the new MAN electric bus. He’ll now take with him this experience and apply the same standards to local bodybuilder partners who will help produce the complete MAN electric low-floor bus.

With bodies being built by the likes of New Zealand-based bodybuilder Global Bus Ventures, Geaboc says the new model will have a complete electrified look that replicates how the European model appears. Whether it be front and rear design, windscreens or lights, all MAN genuine parts will be fitted onto the body to produce an identical model to the global award winning bus.

Geaboc says this complete electric bus is expected to be released in 2024, with demonstrations lined up with Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian companies. The chassis itself is now available for order, with east coast customers able to get their hands on the low-floor electric chassis and experience its unique driver offerings.

Alongside this complete electric bus on the way, MAN still has its popular range of diesel vehicles ready, including standard low entry and high floor bus options for Australian customers.

A new electronic architecture and communications platform will be available on diesel buses from 2024, and soon become standard on the next generation of electric buses emerging out of MAN’s factory. What will be new on MAN’s diesel buses in 2024 will be a separate new platform, called Elsa, that will include an improved safety package as standard.

“This will feature lots of improved safety measures and protections as standard,” Geaboc says.

“This offering is well above the standard  to ensure our buses and coaches remain reliable and safe to operate for the next few decades.”

Apart from these exciting innovations, MAN will also spend 2024 increasing its dealer network to accommodate for the new models. With the likes of its D15 engine achieving Euro 6e standards, there’ll be plenty of new MAN vehicles on Australian roads.

Geaboc is primed to ensure MAN is prepared for this influx of MAN orders.

“We have an opportunity to increase our dealer network capabilities across Australia to support this technology,” Geaboc says.

“The new technology and platforms will be the biggest feature of our product range, so we’ll be looking to support this move.”

What to look forward to in 2024

Outside of the array of electric buses and platforms slated to arrive in Australia in 2024, MAN will also focus on its Penske dealer network.

“We’re always looking to expand into areas that we need to in order to support our customers,” MAN Truck & Bus general manager at Penske Australia George Konstantinou told ABC.

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