Johannesburg - MAN Truck & Bus is working on a new hybrid bus platform that could be up to 20 percent more efficient than existing models with conventional drivetrains.

The new bus, which is due by the end of 2017 in basic form, is being developed as part of Europe’s new ECOCHAMPS project - a research group consisting of 26 brands working together to develop cheaper, lighter, tougher and more efficient hybrid technology. 

"In the city bus segment in particular, we are seeing huge potential for using eMobility applications. However, the Total Cost of Ownership plays an especially significant role for transport operators and carriers," explains Dr. Götz von Esebeck, Head of eMobility at MAN Truck & Bus. "For this reason, we are working continuously to find both technical and economic improvements for our solutions." 

One of these solutions, according to MAN, is to standardise some of the hybrid components used in high-volume passenger vehicles, which could then also be used in commercial vehicles. 

Few specific details about the future bus are available, but MAN says the concept is to develop an electric driveline which could be paired with other energy sources such as a diesel generator or fuel cell depending on customer requirements. 

The new system could also recover braking energy, save it for a short period, and use it for auxiliary drives such as electric power steering, heating and air compressors.

MAN sees this hybrid drive as a bridging technology until purely electric transit buses are introduced.