German bus manufacturer MAN Truck and Bus has received plaudits over the past year for the Lion’s City Hybrid bus. This innovative product was honored by German design organization red dot with their Product Design Award for 2011. The Lion’s City Hybrid Bus was also voted Bus of the Year 2011 by Spanish transportation experts organized by Revista Viajeros. MAN Truck and Bus has recently announced plans to open a Center of Competence with immediate plans for expansion to handle additional orders for their signature hybrid bus.
Researchers at the MAN Center of Competence plan collaborations with universities and municipal officials to assess current transit needs. The company already maintains Lion’s City Hybrids in Barcelona, Milan, Munich, Paris and Vienna. These municipalities will work with MAN to gather performance data useful for future deliveries. Representatives with MAN noted that they will work with research institutes and universities throughout the world to develop hybrid systems needed for the future of public transit. The Center of Competence also allows MAN to expand research teams dealing with the distinct challenges facing hybrid buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles. Unique challenges for vehicles across the MAN fleet include differing range requirements, operating conditions and cargo capacities.
Another goal of the Center of Competence is to enhance the Lion’s City Hybrid for future transit needs. The current version of this hybrid bus combines a six-cylinder, 191kW diesel engine with a 150kW electric generator. MAN designed the generator to filter electrical power through 75kW motors located on the front and rear axles. The Lion’s City Hybrid uses a 200kW rooftop battery pack that stores power from the regenerative brake system. This energy is used to operate air conditioning, power steering and start-stop functions necessary for daily operation. Developers at the Center of Competence hope to extend the vehicle’s range and battery capacity while increasing functions accomplished using only electrical power.
MAN Truck and Bus invested in the Center of Competence because the company needed more space for research and development while meeting the needs of consumers. The company has 66 unfulfilled orders scheduled for delivery later this year. Transit operators currently using the Lion’s City Hybrid may purchase additional units as finances become steadier and economic benefits become clearer. Early analysis of the Lion’s City Hybrid in real-world conditions finds that the vehicle uses 30% less diesel than traditional city buses. The Center of Competence is designed to build on this fuel efficiency and assist transit operators in their search for greener options.