MAN-Batteryrepair-Check. Foto: MAN Truck&Bus

Battery Closed Loop: MAN battery centers for Europe

Two battery repair centers are already in operation in Germany (Hanover-Laatzen site) and Spain (Barcelona). In 2024 and 2025, MAN Truck & Bus will set up battery repair centers in Italy, Denmark/Norway, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Poland and the UK, with further countries in Europe in the pipeline. Millions will be invested in this over the next two years. The roll-out of the Battery Repair Hubs in Europe is necessary because the first units of the new MAN eTruck generation will be delivered to customers in 2024. Over 1,000 battery-electric MAN city buses and more than 2,400 all-electric MAN vans are already on Europe’s roads. With the ramp-up of MAN eTruck production, the electric vehicle population will continue to increase significantly in the coming years. The Munich-based commercial vehicle manufacturer is making intensive preparations for this within its service organization.

The first battery repair center and the associated build-up of expertise in the repair of batteries dates back to 2020. The first pilot repairs and process documentation were carried out for the battery of the MAN eTGE electric van, which was launched in 2018. This was followed by the battery packs of the MAN eTGM distribution truck, which was launched in a small series in 2020, and the start of series production of the MAN Lion’s City E electric city bus – also in 2020. For all these different batteries, repair steps were tested, employees were qualified, repair instructions were created and workplace requirements were defined.

This knowledge, which was built up in the first MAN battery repair center in Hanover-Laatzen, is now being successively transferred to the other markets. The aim is to operate a Battery Repair Hub in every market in which MAN is represented with battery-electric commercial vehicles. Short transportation routes and highly trained technicians on site will ensure that the battery can be repaired quickly. This results in less vehicle downtime.

Repair and recondition: Battery Closed Loop Strategy

MAN Truck & Bus’s primary goal is to use the battery in the vehicle for as long as possible. That is why repair and remanufacturing are at the heart of the current measures. Since 2023, MAN has been leading the REVAMP project, a consortium of nine partners from industry and science. This three-year project aims to automate the process of assessing the condition of used vehicle batteries. This knowledge will be used to remanufacture batteries economically so that they can then be used in vehicles (2nd use) or for other purposes (2nd life). The REVAMP project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).

Repairing and reconditioning the battery are key elements of the Battery Closed Loop Strategy and MAN’s sustainability strategy. The diagnostic capability of the battery and its economical dismantling are essential for this. The overarching goal is to establish a closed loop for the batteries. Important milestones in this battery cycle are, on the one hand, further use in the vehicle (2nd use) or in another application (2nd life) after the first use in the vehicle.

In order to close the closed loop of valuable battery materials, MAN is already focusing on recycling and the return of recycled raw materials (recyclate) to new battery cells. The increasing demand for battery cells for the electrification of the MAN portfolio will increase greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain unless this is counteracted by dedicated measures. The use of secondary materials is one of the possible levers that need to be addressed in order to decarbonize the battery cell hotspot. In this way, we are also making a contribution towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas neutrality, which MAN has committed to in the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in 2021.

Sufficient recycled material

The prerequisite for the closed loop is that sufficient recycled material is available. To ensure that this is the case in the future, MAN is currently working with its parent company TRATON SE and the COE (Center of Excellence) at Volkswagen AG on concepts to enable closed loops. The aim here is to ensure that sufficient recyclate is available for new batteries in the future in order to meet the target values of the European Union’s new Battery Ordinance (BattVO).

MAN Truck & Bus also became a partner of the Munich-based start-up network Circular Republic in 2023 in order to get closer to the goal of the Battery Closed Loop. Circular Republic is part of UnternehmerTUM GmbH and has set itself the task of bringing established companies and start-ups together to implement and further develop innovations in the circular economy. In a first project under the leadership of Circular Republic, MAN is working together with other cooperation partners on the semi-automated dismantling of traction batteries and the recycling of cell modules.

Read more interviews, articles and studies on the subject of electromobility & autonomous driving in the current issue of eMove360° magazine in german language. Print edition – also available as an annual subscription – can be ordered in the eMove360° store.

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12.04.2024   |  

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