MAN targets battery repair hubs in every market it sells commercial BEVs

MAN Truck & Bus plans to set up battery repair centres in eight European countries in 2024 and 2025 using two existing hubs as a blueprint. The multi-million investment is preparing MAN's service network for the coming eTruck and a closed loop battery supply.

Image: MAN Truck and Bus

MAN Truck & Bus has already confirmed battery repair centres in Italy, Denmark/Norway, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Poland and the UK. Further European locations are planned, and MAN is slated to invest millions over the next two years. Two battery repair centres are already operating in Germany (Hanover-Laatzen) and Spain (Barcelona).

The rollout of the new European battery repair hubs coincides with the new MAN eTruck generation set for customer deliveries this year. The company reports over 700 orders for the new BEV. Moreover, MAN has already sold more than 1,000 battery-electric city buses and 2,400 electric vans in Europe over the years – all of which will need to be serviced at some point.

With the rollout of the Battery Repair Hubs, MAN also aims to improve its ability to respond to battery damage and shorten transport times. Previously, the batteries had to be brought to Hanover-Laatzen from all over Europe and then transported back again once they had been repaired.

Taking a wider perspective, repairing and reconditioning the battery are “key elements” in the company’s sustainability strategy. In today’s statement, MAN considers it a “primary objective” to utilise the battery for as long as possible.

This makes repairs crucial but not the only step. MAN has been leading project REVAMP, a consortium of nine partners established in 2023. They aim to automate assessing the condition of used commercial vehicle batteries to prepare them for remanufacture and 2nd life scenarios.

But let’s go back to the first step of battery repair. The new network takes its cue from MAN’s first workshop in Hanover-Laatzen opened in 2020 and carrying out pilot repairs of the eTGE electric van battery. The van launched in 2018, followed by the eTGM distribution truck and the Lion’s City E electric city bus (both in 2020). This gave MAN the room and time to trial repair steps for all these different batteries, train employees, create repair instructions and define workplace requirements.

MAN wants to operate a battery repair hub in every market where it sells battery-electric commercial vehicles.

It is the knowledge MAN is transferring to other countries. The company says it wants to operate a battery repair hub in every market where it sells battery-electric commercial vehicles, at least in Europe. The resulting short transport routes and trained technicians on site will also ensure the battery can be repaired quickly. This minimises vehicle downtime, writes MAN.

Aside from internal standards, a battery repair centre also has to meet criteria based on practice and national legal standards. Workshops, for example, need the appropriate high-voltage and special tools for handling vehicle batteries, and electricians must wear special protective equipment. The premises must fulfil further requirements, like access control, double doors, air conditioning, ventilation concept, 400 V socket and load crane.

“Battery repair is a necessity for MAN to ensure the economic efficiency and operational readiness of our customers’ electric vehicles at a high level,” says Christopher Kunstmann, MAN’s Senior VP of Customer Service Management. “We also make a major contribution to the closed-loop approach of traction batteries, as this extends the battery life in the vehicle, which conserves important resources.”

To close the loop, however, after extended battery life comes recycling and the return of recycled raw materials (recyclate) into new battery cells. 

The prerequisite is sufficient recycled material. MAN is working with its parent company, TRATON SE, and the COE (Centre of Excellence) at Volkswagen AG on concepts that will enable closed cycles and meet the European Union’s new Battery Ordinance (BattVO) target values.

In 2023, MAN Truck & Bus also became a partner of Circular Republic. The Munich start-up network aims to bring established companies and start-ups together to implement the circular economy. In the first project, MAN and partners are working on the semi-automated dismantling of traction batteries and recycling cell modules.


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