MAN is establishing a network of battery repair centres in Europe: two first hubs are already in operation, in Germany and Spain – more are to follow in Europe in 2024 and 2025. Plans provide for battery centers to be established in 2024 and 2025 in Italy, Denmark/Norway, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Poland and UK, with further countries in Europe being planned.

The investment to establish these centres over the next two years is in forecasted to be in the range of “millions”, MAN states.

MAN has been leading the e-bus market in Europe in 2023 thanks to 785 Lion’s City E registered in the continent, over three times the 2022’s figure of 230 (a 12.4 market share).

MAN battery repair centers in Europe

Two battery repair centres are already in operation in Germany (Hanover-Laatzen site) and Spain (Barcelona).

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 (following launch in 2020) and more than 2,400 all-electric MAN vans are already on Europe’s roads, MAN sums up.

man battery repair centers europe

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 preparing intensively for this within its service organisation.

MAN battery repair center in every market

The aim is to operate a battery repair hub in every market in which MAN is represented with battery-electric commercial vehicles. Short transport routes and highly trained technicians on site will ensure that the battery can be repaired quickly, MAN points out. This minimises vehicle downtime. At MAN, a battery repair centre has to meet certain criteria based on practical experience and legal standards in the respective countries.

On the one hand, the appropriate high-voltage and special tools are required for handling the respective battery types of the vehicles. In addition, special protective equipment must be available for the electricians working there, MAN states. The premises also fulfil certain requirements, e.g. access control, double doors, air conditioning, ventilation concept, 400 V socket and load crane.

“Battery repair is a necessity for MAN in order to ensure the economic efficiency and operational readiness of our customers’ electric vehicles at a high level. 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,” says Christopher Kunstmann, Senior Vice President Customer Service Management at MAN Truck & Bus.

MAN and the REVAMP project focusing in 2nd life batteries

MAN Truck & Bus’s primary objective is to utilise the battery in the vehicle for as long as possible. That is why repair and remanufacturing are at the centre of 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 manufacturer stresses. The diagonal capability of the battery and its economical dismantling are essential for this.

MAN towards a closed loop for batteries

The overarching goal is to establish a closed loop for the batteries. Important milestones in this battery cycle are, after the first use in the vehicle, a further use in the vehicle (2nd use) or in another application (2nd life). In order to close the closed loop of valuable battery materials, MAN is already focussing on recycling and the return of recycled raw materials (recyclate) into new battery cells. The growing demand for battery cells for the electrification of the MAN portfolio will increase greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain unless dedicated measures are taken to counteract this. The use of secondary materials is one of the possible levers that need to be addressed in order to decarbonise the battery cell hotspot.

The prerequisite for the battery closed loop is that sufficient recycled material is available. To ensure that this is the case in the future, MAN says it is currently working with its parent company TRATON SE and the COE (Centre of Excellence) at Volkswagen AG on concepts that will enable closed cycles. 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).

In 2023, MAN Truck & Bus also became a partner of the Munich start-up network Circular Republic in order to move 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.

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