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All systems go for MAN’s new engine plant

Ground has been broken at the MAN plant in Nuremberg, Germany to mark the start of construction of the new manufacturing hall where MAN Truck & Bus will produce the Common Base Engine (CBE), the joint platform for future diesel engines used in MAN, Scania and Navistar vehicles.

The highly efficient diesel engine developed in an alliance of the Group’s brands will serve as a bridge technology leading to the electric drive systems of the future.

The commercial vehicle maker has committed itself fully to emission-neutral drive systems as part of its transformation strategy ‘NewMAN’. Nonetheless, diesel engines will continue to be needed for long-haul transportation and off-road uses during the transition to emission-neutral freight haulage.

As part of a lead-engineering concept, Scania and MAN have been working since 2017 to develop this new engine platform that was aimed at meeting strict environmental regulations and continuing to minimise CO2 emissions.

“We are focusing in particular on developing battery-electric drive systems for buses and trucks,” said Dr. Frederik Zohm, the member of the executive board of MAN Truck & Bus responsible for research and development.

“We are one of Europe’s leading commercial-vehicle makers in this area as well. At the same time, we are conducting research on hydrogen-based drive systems in Nuremberg. The collaborative development and production of a completely new generation of diesel engines for the heavy-duty segment that will be the last of their breed are paying off for us in many ways.

“We not only developed an exceptional engine platform, but also created financial and personnel leeway that we can use in the development of emission-neutral drive systems. And, naturally, we are also working closely in this area with our partners in the Traton Group and in the Volkswagen Group.”

The MAN plant in Nuremberg will begin to produce engines of the CBE generation in 2024 – roughly the time when series production of MAN’s long-haul electric commercial vehicles will start at the company’s plant in Munich. The e-drive systems used in these vehicles will also be made in Nuremberg.

Conventional and electric drive systems will be produced here in the future as part of the technology transition. “As MAN shifts its strategic focus, Nuremberg will become the company’s main plant for alternative and conventional drive technologies,” said Ulrich Zimmer who is responsible for powertrain production at MAN and serves as director of the Nuremberg plant.

“You can literally see the transformation of the commercial-vehicle industry taking place here. The new production hall for the CBE generation is being built near future production facilities that will manufacture electric drive systems and the test beds for hydrogen fuel cells. We cannot bid farewell to the diesel engine simply by pressing a button. It is more like a scrollbar.”