First drive of the new MAN battery electric eTruck

Just a few weeks after its razzmatazz unveiling at the IAA Transportation Show in Hannover, MAN has made the eTruck available for driving impressions at its factory test track in Munich. Still having prototype status, the truck we drove was designated an eTruck 4x2 LL SA tractor, loaded to around 32 tonnes. Its modest sounding maximum power output of 350kW (470hp) is matched by a less modest amount of torque, “more than 3,000Nm”. While lower rated versions will be equipped with a two-speed gearbox, more powerful ones such as that driven will have four ratios. On the flat, ours chose to set off in second, which gave it impressively brisk and smooth acceleration.

MAN eTruck Munich

MAN eTruck Munich

The maximum six lithium ion batteries were fitted, but operators requiring more payload at the expense of range can specify from three upwards. MAN claims that with three or four batteries, the tractor weighs slightly less than the diesel equivalent, but a bit more with six. With a mid-journey 45 minute top-up, MAN claims up to 800km is achievable.

Progress around the short test track was remarkably smooth and quiet, much more so than the MAN Lion City E bendy-bus that transferred us to the track, which featured an incongruous level of transmission whine. On the eTruck, by contrast, the loudest noise was from the heater fan.

The eTruck still has plenty of time ahead of it, though, with orders due to be taken after the 2024 IAA Show for series production in 2025. Although 6x2 rigids should be available at launch, UK operators waiting for a 6x2 tractor, or for double-drive bogies, will have to wait rather longer.