MAN scores first e-bus order from Norway

The Norwegian transport operator Unibuss has ordered 76 all-electric Lion’s City E buses from MAN Truck & Bus for Oslo. For MAN, this is the first electric bus order from Norway. The order is for 59 solo and 17 articulated buses bound for operation in the northeast and east of Oslo from the end of 2023.

The Lion’s City 12 E as a solo bus has been manufactured at MAN’s Polish plant in Starachowice since October 2020, and the articulated bus The Lion’s City 18 E has also been coming off the production line there since April 2021. Unibuss is taking advantage of the German bus maker’s decision to offer more battery options: “Since this autumn, our customers have been able to decide for themselves on the number of battery packs,” says Kuchta and adds: “In this way, our all-electric city bus can be even better adapted to individual customer needs and requirements in terms of range and passenger capacity.”

According to MAN, Unibuss has decided on the options with one battery pack less in both models. The solo buses therefore have five packs instead of the standard six, while the articulated buses will have seven instead of eight. Although this reduces the range somewhat, it will still be sufficient for the planned use. This saves costs and weight on the vehicle and raw materials in the supply chain. In order to increase efficiency in use, Unibuss has ordered the air conditioning system with CO2 as a coolant, which has been optionally available since mid-2022. This is not only more environmentally friendly, but is also supposed to be more efficient – and thus provide up to 25 kilometres of additional range.

“Our innovative technology convinced Unibuss, as did the comprehensive advice on our eMobility solutions from the experts at MAN Transport Solutions,” says Kuchta. “Among other things, they also calculated the routes for the optimal use of the buses.” As is common for electric bus orders, MAN has also agreed to provide service and maintenance for the city buses for a period of up to 12 years. Here, all purely battery-electric vehciles have the advantage of requiring less mechanical maintenance their combustion engine counterparts due to the significantly smaller number of moving parts in an electric motor.

Although the vehicles will be the first MAN E buses in Norway, they will not be the first in a Nordic country: 22 MAN Lion’s City E are already in operation in Malmö, Sweden. In addition, the operator Keolis has ordered a total of 75 Lion’s City 18 E for Sweden in 2021. Another order for 12 electric articulated buses from MAN came from Uppsala. And the Lion’s City E is also on the road in Denmark.

MAN Truck & Bus have been lethargic in catering for purely battery-electric vehicles and has therefore seen less orders for its purely electric buses than other manufacturers, primarily because the company initially set its sights on hybrid electric and bio-diesel buses  – In 2020, Unibuss bought 127 MAN solobuses and articulated buses powered by HVO biofuel (hydrogenated vegetable oil). The public transport operator gained experience with electric buses from other manufacturers and made orders for electric buses from VDL, BYD and Solaris. In January this year, Unibuss ordered nearly 200 all-electric buses from Solaris. And before MAN Truck and Bus decided to offer electric buses of any kind in 2019, Unibuss had already ordered 23 electric buses from BYD in 2019, and 40 VDL electric buses in 2018.

That Unibuss has now decided for MAN electric buses is a good signal for MAN’s, albeit late, focus on electric mobility.


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