Ice cold endurance test at the Arctic Circle – for trucks and buses.

Snow, ice and minus 35 degrees Celsius on the thermometer. Northern Sweden has the perfect winder landscape to put our trucks and buses to the test under the harshest conditions. Only if our products perform perfectly here are they good enough for our customers.

Every winter some 250 engineers, drivers and mechanics from MAN set our to the polar circle. Some of them even stay 4 to 6 weeks, so as not to miss the highly professional vehicle tests. They stay in cosy log cabins in Arjeplog, Lapland. Their mission is extreme tests for MAN trucks and MAN and NEOPLAN buses.

Winter test MAN bus & truck Winter test MAN bus & truck Winter test MAN bus & truck Test track MAN winter testing
"Cold-start performance, exhaust gas after-treatment, changing lanes, circular testing, brakes - we scrutinise everything."

Cold-start performance, exhaust gas after-treatment, changing lanes, circular testing, brakes - we scrutinise everything. The vehicle testing list is long, and so not just individual components, but many specifications are tested at the same time. Take the endurance testing of the vehicle, for instance, where the drivers work in two shifts for four months, driving up to 1,200 km a day.

MAN vehicles in the "Sweden test"

Snow crystals sparkle in the sunlight, and the thud of the engine breaks the icy silence. This can only be one thing in the Swedish wasteland: The truck drivers testing on the circular test orbit.

The heavy semitrailer sets out and accelerates on a sheet of ice to 50. The driver steers the 40-tonne vehicle with calm precision, in perfect unison with the electronic stability program (ESP). Gentle steering stops the vehicle from skidding out of control. But the limit is reached as the vehicle hits 80 km/h when the laws of physics step in and the semitrailer jackknifes.

Pleased with the result, the experienced MAN test driver Josef Betz climbs out of the cab; the ESP did exactly what it is supposed to do.

Thumbs up for articulated buses with kink protection

At four hours of daylight on a good day, every ray of sunshine brings a smile. But maybe the smiles are about the successfully tested safety system.

Test engineer Maximilian Huber watched intently as an "accordion bus" boldly mastered a range of driving manoeuvres. Realistic everyday situations were tested, such as quickly changing lane to put the electronically controlled kink protection system through its paces. "This system ensures that the articulated bus does not swing in critical situations" explains Huber. "It helps to prevent accidents and protects passengers."

The upper echelons of management in the far north

The whole group is very pleased with the results at the end of the four-month test phase and with the fact that they have been able to make a valuable contribution to the success of MAN under these extreme conditions. "The winter tests have a very important role to play in ensuring that we can deliver robust and reliable vehicles to our customers", explains Jörg Junginger, responsible for bus test driving. And Rainer Miksch, Head of Truck & Bus vehicle testing, confirms: "Testing under real-life extreme conditions is essential to ensure customer satisfaction later on."

"The winter tests have a very important role to play in ensuring that we can deliver robust and reliable vehicles to our customers."

If something is as important as this, the "executive floor" has to be represented too. So at the end of each winter test Bernd Maierhofer, the Executive Board Member for Research & Development at MAN Truck & Bus, and his executive board colleagues arrive – to see for themselves that the vehicles are unfailingly fit for the road. This is also a real show of appreciation for the staff's work and a good opportunity to review the tests that have just been completed. Because at MAN we are one team.

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