MAN Truck & Bus UK said its first demo eTrucks will appear on British roads by early next year amid plans to substantially widen its network and accelerate the sale of its BEV portfolio.

The truck will be launched at RTX, held from 4-6 June at NAEC Stoneleigh, as the company steps up its bid to have its 66 UK locations ready for electric HGVs by the end of 2025.

Speaking to MT at a special media event at its Swindon base, UK MD Stefan Thyssen (pictured centre) said its ‘Transformation Strategy to Decarbonise Road Transport’ included a goal for 50% of its vehicles to be zero emission by 2030.

Key to its plans, he said, was to prepare the entire MAN workforce for the transition, stressing that the change would require a different approach and skill set, particularly for its technicians.

The Traton-owned company currently has 20 retail locations in the UK, but intends to develop this network while expanding and refreshing existing locations.

The company is also keen to build partnerships with UK charging and utility providers, attracted by the fact that trucks on regular routes can offer a more stable utilisation of charging equipment.

“We’ll have the first demo eTrucks running on UK roads in early 2025 and have the first customers using the vehicles by the middle of that year,” Thyssen confirmed, adding that the truck had already had excellent feedback from European customers and offered a host of benefits for UK operators.

“The first is application fit,” he explained. “In the UK we have all kinds of trailers and the good thing is our tractor can work with all of them, including high trailers which is a strong argument.”

The eTruck also boasts several configurations of its battery pack, he said, giving customers flexibility to make decisions on cost, weight, space and the best fit based on their specific operation.



Asked how willing struggling operators might be to come onboard amid such a tough economic climate, Thyseen said: “We’re pushing the government and asking for an eco system to be put in place that supports the sale of those vehicles. This can be subsidy programmes, CO2-based road charges, support for customers on electricity tax, carbon pricing… there are many different options but the main objective is to accelerate the sale of BEVs.

“We have customers with 20-50 vehicles right up to 3,000. We have some brilliant ambassadors who see it as their responsibility – companies like Sky are really pushing heavily on decarbonisation and setting challenging targets for operators. We’re not talking so much to firms with 1-5 trucks - they have other challenges - but those with 20-50 are a good size and will maybe buy three electric trucks and then grow from there.”

MAN now plans to offer customers help and support through a consultation process that explains key benefits: “We’ll talk to them about supporting them on routes, weather, pricing, goods, weight and charging infrastructure,” he said. “It’s totally customer specific, mainly to find the right solution for them. We want to discuss what their requirement is and how we can support them.”

All the new eTrucks come with full digital services, he added: “This means the truck can talk to the workshop and gives technicians the chance to pre-plan maintenance.

“Driving an electric truck also requires a different driving style, so we’ll coach people on how to drive the vehicle and maximise its benefits.”

Thyssen admitted the main hurdle to early adoption by operators still remained the oft-quoted lack of charging infrastructure. However, he claimed the UK had a “perfect geography” in terms of its motorway system, reducing the number of charge points that would be required.

“We need a high-powered charging infrastructure and we need charging points suitable for long-haul operators,” he said. “And we need the government to provide targets for the roll out of this infrastructure. We’ve had weight discussions with the DfT who’ve given us two tonnes extra for alternatively-fuelled vehicles. That’s a good first step but it’s not enough, and we also need to discuss axle loads and to think about longer trailers which could provide a good incentive for operators to switch.”

Thyssen also hailed the government’s £200m Zero Emission HGV and Infrastructure Demonstrator (ZEHID) scheme: “This will bring probably 350 BEVs on the road,” he said. “It’s a massive start but it’s not enough. So we’re having good discussions with customers and government to push for support.

“This is a massive transformation for our customers and for infrastructure but it’s also super exciting,” Thyssen concluded. “We had our most successful year in 2023 but we can go further. We’re looking forward to RTX at Stoneleigh. We’ll have a much bigger stand than last time and there will exclusive electric experience days where we’ll talk to customers about driving, charging and servicing solutions and give them a closer look at how our product will work in the UK.”