• Australasia Bus & Coach Expo took place in Sydney on 5 and 6 October;
• The all-electric Lion's Chassis E LF low-floor chassis was shown for the first time at the MAN exhibition stand;
• Battery-electric chassis based on proven technologies from the Lion's City E;
• The aim is to make traffic in cities all over the world even cleaner, quieter and safer;
• First demo vehicles to be delivered as early as 2023, series production to start in 2024.
At the beginning of October, MAN Truck & Bus celebrated a world premiere: the new Lion's Chassis E LF, a fully electric low-floor chassis, was presented to the public at the Australasia Bus & Coach Expo in Sydney. The chassis is based on proven technologies from the MAN Lion's City E, which is already operating successfully in many European countries and proving its everyday suitability, performance and reliability day after day. "We are very pleased that the MAN Lion's Chassis E has been presented live here in Australia for the first time," says Crinel Geaboc, Head of MAN Bus and Coach at Penske Australia, exclusive MAN partner in Australia and New Zealand. Geaboc continues: "MAN offers one of the most technologically advanced diesel buses on the Australian market. The new electric chassis perfectly complements the existing range."
The high level of interest shown by operators and entrepreneurs in alternative forms of propulsion is demonstrated by the high response to the Lion's Chassis E during the Sydney show. Many visitors took the opportunity to learn about the all-electric chassis as well as environmentally friendly mobility. MAN's clear goal is to further advance this and to make traffic in cities all over the world even cleaner, quieter and safer. In addition, every second MAN city bus sold is to have an emission-free drive by 2025. "The new Lion's Chassis E is an essential building block for us to achieve this goal. Because with our electric chassis we now offer the MAN electric bus solution for the international markets, and bodybuilders from all over the world receive the ideal basis for their fully electric models with the chassis," says Rudi Kuchta, Head of Business Unit Bus at MAN Truck & Bus, and adds: "In this way we can also provide our customers with emission-free solutions outside Europe."
Flexible solutions to facilitate entry into electromobility
Especially in times when sustainable mobility is increasingly coming into focus, such an offer is of particular importance. "With the Lion's Chassis E, we are in a position to make it much easier for companies and operators to switch their fleets to electric technologies, which is already required in this country," says Crinel Geaboc. This also succeeds because MAN offers two alternatives in terms of battery technology. In this way, the sometimes enormously different requirements of international bus companies in terms of daily range, total kilometre performance and costs are to be met. In concrete terms, this means that in addition to the NMC technology (lithium nickel manganese cobalt battery) familiar from the Lion's City E, there will be LFP technology (lithium ferrophosphate battery).
In the development and market launch of the electric chassis, MAN is relying on the knowledge and expertise that it has already been able to build up and gather with the Lion's City E. "MAN has achieved excellent results with the Lion's City E in Europe. Since the start of production in 2020, more than 1,000 orders have already been received for the all-electric city bus. It was also recently named 'Bus of the Year 2023' by European trade journalists," says Geaboc, adding: "This success in Europe combined with MAN's continued investment in electric technology - such as the construction of a battery factory in Nuremberg - and the strong partnership with Penske on the ground in Australia builds confidence with our customers."
First demo vehicles to be delivered as early as 2023
For the market launch of the Lion's Chassis E, the MAN team is working intensively with a worldwide network of bodybuilders. This is to ensure that local customer requirements in Asia, Africa, South America, New Zealand and Australia can be met in the best possible way. It is planned that the first assembled demo vehicles will be delivered as early as 2023. In addition, the performance and functionality of the chassis will be tested in possible target markets in the coming year, including Australia. The start of series production of the Lion's Chassis E is planned for 2024. The electric chassis will be produced at the Polish MAN plant in Starachowice. "The Lion's City E will also be manufactured there. The experience that our employees have gained in development and production around our eBus and its series production will of course be incorporated into the production of the electric chassis. Our international customers will benefit significantly from this," Kuchta is certain.
MAN will initially offer the all-electric chassis as a two-axle vehicle for low-floor (Lion's Chassis E LF), low-entry (Lion's Chassis E LE) and high-floor (Lion's Chassis E HF) applications. To ensure that it can be used everywhere, it will also be available as a left- and right-hand drive version. This is particularly interesting for countries such as Singapore, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, where left-hand drive is the norm and MAN buses are already in use.
About the Australasia Bus & Coach Expo
The Australasia Bus and Coach Expo is held every two years, alternating between Sydney and Melbourne. The event is supported by the Bus Australia Network, which includes the Bus Industry Confederation and state associations. Products and services relating to buses are on offer at more than 100 exhibition stands. At this year's show, which took place on 5 and 6 October, MAN exhibited the Lion's Chassis E LF as well as the low-entry Lion's Chassis LE (RC2), which is powered by the 330 hp MAN D15 engine. The body came from Custom Denning, one of Australia's leading bus manufacturers. Also on display was the Lion's Chassis IC (RR8) intercity bus chassis with an Irizar i6s coach body.