Report: On the way in the MAN Lion's City 10 E: Cheers to our bus driver

When it comes to mobility, one question is on people's minds.

Report: On the way in the MAN Lion's City 10 E: Cheers to our bus driver

When it comes to mobility, one question is on people's minds. What do I do if I don't have an electric car and live outside the city? After all, the local public transport network is constantly being expanded. The risk of falling through the cracks is growing. Especially if you live in areas that are difficult to access, such as a mountain village. Pass roads with tight turns and narrow lanes are not suitable for every bus and often cause the drivers of the large vehicles to break out in a sweat. With good reason: there are often only a few centimeters between a carefree journey and contact with a stranger. Squeezing past oncoming traffic in an 18-meter-long articulated bus would require a high level of concentration on the part of the driver and would be almost impossible in some places. In addition, the number of passengers is not so large that the use of such a vehicle would be worthwhile. After all, the bus companies and the municipalities calculate with a sharp pencil and try to save wherever they can.

However, it is also clear that the switch to electromobility is also gaining momentum in public transport. So there has to be a solution. The MAN Lion's City 10 E is 10.5 meters long and designed precisely for these jobs. But that doesn't mean that the electric bus isn't useful in regular city traffic. After all, there is less and less space in the metropolitan areas and traffic density is increasing. So the MAN engineers simply took an MAN Lion's City 12 E that is already on the road in the cities and cut out a module. This not only reduces the weight by around 350 kilograms, but also drastically reduces the turning circle from 21.40 to 17.23 meters. Important when it comes to angled corners. To make this possible, the axle is in front of the third door and the electric motor (in the direction of travel) is connected to a drive shaft at the rear left. "In principle, we can also use the axle in a diesel bus," explains Heinz Kiess, Head of Bus Product Marketing at MAN. That saves costs, but you still have to put around 490,000 euros on the table for the Lion's City 10 E.

The MAN Lion's City 10 E can accommodate up to 80 people. Our bus configuration has 25 seats without a driver, plus 42 standing places. This makes the MAN mid-bus a classic representative of the low-floor type that is found every day in urban passenger transport: the floor of the vehicle is very low, making it very easy for older people or those with restricted mobility to get on. However, this construction requires that the batteries and the air conditioning system are housed on the roof. The five battery packs of the Lion's City 10 E alone weigh three tons. Far from ideal for the center of gravity, but the more passengers on board, the more effectively they neutralize the disadvantage. The capacity of 400 kilowatt hours should take the MAN bus up to 300 kilometers. The drive consists of a permanently excited synchronous electric motor (PSM) with 160 kW / 217 hp or 240 kW / 326 hp peak power and an electronically limited (!) torque of 2,100 Newton meters. From a standing start, the electric bus reaches its top speed of 83 km/h in around 35 seconds.

We want to know whether the concept also works in everyday life and are on the road with the Lion's City 10 E in the Dolomites. To be more precise, the 13.5-ton vehicle is supposed to climb up to the Grödener Joch at 2,136 meters. Famous ski world cup races such as the downhill run on the Saslong slope with the famous camel hump and the giant slalom of Alta Badia take place here against the backdrop of the picturesque landscape. Suitable for the demanding endurance test for the batteries and the vehicle concept with the short wheelbase of 4.40 meters. After just a few kilometers it becomes clear that the climbing section will not be an everyday one. The roads teem with motorcyclists and bicycle riders, uncompromisingly overtaken by locals who know every inch of the tarmac. We focus on the performance monitor and determine that the consumption is up to 223.1 kWh/100 kilometers uphill. Almost ten times that of an ordinary electric car.

The climbing also poses new challenges for the bus driver. Since every small movement of the gas pedal immediately results in an action, a finely motorized right foot is required if the passengers are not to nod involuntarily all the time. "We have set the characteristic curve of the gas pedal like that of a diesel bus," explains product expert Stephan Rudnitzky. We are pleased that the journey is going very smoothly. The Lion's City 10 E is not without it. Due to the short wheelbase, the rear overhang is very long and you have to be careful when maneuvering. The advantage of this concept can be seen in the tight turns of the ribbon of asphalt that meanders up the famous mountain. The e-bus manages every turn without any problems and you don't even have to reverse. The high center of gravity is also not a big problem. As soon as there are passengers on the bus, they compensate for the shortcoming to a large extent anyway. The extra weight of people doesn't matter in performance either. This is in abundance and the system simply adjusts the power to the new parameters.

Now we have arrived at the highest point of the tour, the Rifugio "Passo Valparpla" at 2,168 meters. Consumption amounts to 176.1 kWh / 100 km and the charge level of the battery is still 54.8 percent. For comparison: depending on the driver, a diesel bus needs around 35 l/100 km on this route. From now on it's almost all downhill, time for the second supreme discipline of the passenger transporter - recuperation. The technology shovels back a maximum of 240 kWh / 100 km into the energy storage system - exactly the maximum output of the engine. Experienced riders use this and get by almost without using the classic analogue brakes on the way down into the valley. This also works on our trip. On the way down into the valley, some of these 240 kilowatts flow back into the battery. This effective "engine brake" also means that dangerous overheating of this vital component is a thing of the past and a weakness has become a strength. After 165.6 km we arrive at the destination of our journey, the consumption has been reduced to 77.2 kW/100 km. This corresponds to a business trip through the city. The battery is still 47.6 percent full and the recuperation rate is 50 percent. considerable.