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article imageVolkswagen to invest $1.7 billion in electric truck technology

By Karen Graham     Oct 11, 2017 in Business
VW’s trucks chief Andreas Renschler, speaking on the sidelines of a company event in Hamburg on Wednesday said Volkswagen will invest 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in new technologies including electric trucks and buses by 2022.
Renschler said the money will go toward electric drives, autonomous vehicles and cloud-based systems in its Truck & Bus division. This latest move will add to VW's push into electric cars, announced in September.
Renschler also told Reuters a spin-off of VW's truck business still remains an option. He added that to spread the costs, U.S. affiliate Navistar International Corp. will adopt the electric drivetrain.
There are 110 12-meter all-electric buses equipped with Microvast fast charge batteries “ready to ...
There are 110 12-meter all-electric buses equipped with Microvast fast charge batteries “ready to go” in Lianyungang, China. Three "fast" combined: "Fast Traffic Track + fast charge + fast charging stations.
Microvast / media
Commercial electric trucks market booming
The market for commercial electric trucks and buses has been heating up around the globe. As CleanTechnica pointed out last month, the electric bus market is booming in China. And now it appears that the U.S. and Europe are beginning to rev up their electric truck programs, moving from pilot projects to taking orders.
One European company, Streetscooter, a fully-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Group, is beginning to electrify whole fleets of delivery trucks. And then, there's the Clean Climate Group. They have been instrumental in getting a number of large corporations to agree to electrify their own fleets through a new plan called the EV100 program.
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Navistar International Corp and Volkswagen Truck & Bus say they will launch an electric medium-duty truck in North America by late 2019, and a battery-powered VW truck, called e-Delivery, will roll off assembly lines in Brazil in 2020. German companies MAN and Scania will be delivering totally electric buses to Europe's streets next year.
Volkswagen's vision
“We believe in a wide range of alternative powertrains and fuels, depending on local availability, social and local demand and customer requirements,” Renschler said at a press event. “Therefore it is crucial that policymakers adopt a technology-neutral approach" in any regulations.
Renschler forecasts that electric trucks for local deliveries will exceed a five percent market share by 2025, compared to a 25 percent market share for EVs. One problem facing electric truck production and availability will be the broad range of different regulations.
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But regardless of regulations, and they can be changed to fit the circumstances, the big key to the successful adoption of electric trucks is the battery technology. Electric trucks will gain in popularity when the cost of operation is reduced significantly, Renschler said.
“With city buses, we are just hitting the break-even point compared to conventional solutions,” Renschler said. “Electric distribution trucks are expected to turn positive in 2020-25,” while battery-powered long-haul heavy vehicles will be “late” in turning a profit for their owners.
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