MAN Truck & Bus announces hydrogen combustion engine

Commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN Truck & Bus will be the first European truck producer to launch a small series with a hydrogen combustion engine.

The initially planned small series of around 200 units is to be delivered to customers in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland and selected non-European countries as early as 2025.

The MAN hTGX, as the vehicle will be called, offers an alternative zero-emission drive variant for special applications like transporting heavy goods – such as construction work, tank transport or timber transport.

The hTGX, according to the OEM, can also be an environmentally friendly alternative to battery-electric trucks for use in areas without sufficient charging infrastructure or for markets where sufficient hydrogen is already available.

MAN will hand over its battery-electric truck to customers for the first time in 2024 and scale it up from 2025.

“We are continuing to focus on battery-electric vehicles to decarbonise road freight transport. These currently have clear advantages over other drive concepts in terms of energy efficiency and operating and energy costs,” said Friedrich Baumann, Executive Board Member of MAN Truck & Bus.

“However, trucks powered by hydrogen combustion engines are a useful addition for special applications and markets. We anticipate that we will be able to best serve the vast majority of our customers’ transport applications with battery-powered trucks,” he said.

“For special applications, hydrogen combustion or, in the future, fuel cell technology is a suitable supplement.”

The hydrogen combustion engine H45 is based on the proven D38 diesel engine and is produced at the engine and battery plant in Nuremberg.

“The use of familiar technology enables us to enter the market at an early stage and thus provides a decisive impetus for the ramp-up of the hydrogen infrastructure,” continued Baumann, who is also responsible for Sales & Customer Solutions.

“With the hTGX, we have now added an attractive product to our zero-emission portfolio.”

The hydrogen drive is particularly suitable for special transport tasks that require a special axle configuration or where there is no space for the battery on the frame due to the need for truck body work.

The MAN hTGX offers high payloads and maximum ranges of up to 600 kilometres in its initially offered 6×2 and 6×4 axle variants.

The H45 hydrogen combustion engine used has an output of 383kW or 520hp and a torque of 2500Nm at 900-1300 rpm. The direct injection of hydrogen into the engine ensures particularly fast power delivery. With hydrogen compressed to 700 bar (CG H2) and a tank capacity of 56kg, the vehicle can be refuelled in less than 15 minutes.

“The new CO₂ regulations at EU level will classify trucks with hydrogen combustion engines as zero-emission vehicles,” said Dr Frederik Zohm, Executive Board Member for Research & Development.

“This means that such vehicles fully contribute to our CO₂ fleet targets, which also opens the door for this small series that complements battery electric vehicles. At the same time, depending on the country, our customers benefit from corresponding toll reductions, for example.

“At MAN’s Nuremberg site, we have the most innovative engine technology and decades of experience in the use of hydrogen as a fuel. We are utilising this and presenting a real MAN with the MAN hTGX. The new hydrogen combustion truck is based on the tried-and-tested TG vehicle series and impresses with the highest quality and uncomplicated maintenance. We will continue to research fuel cell technology based on battery technology and hydrogen.

“H2 fuel technology is also in preparation at MAN. However, it will be several years before the technology is really ready for the market and competitive.”

MAN regards hydrogen combustion and hydrogen fuel cell engines as a complement to its purely battery electric drive systems.

The company is currently working with industry partners Bosch, Forvia and ZF on the “Bavarian Fleet” (Bayernflotte) project to develop a fuel cell truck, due to be trialled with five customers.

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