TRATON Group commits to electric future

The TRATON brands – MAN, Scania and Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus (VWCO) – have committed to become the leading provider of electric trucks and buses.

Speaking at TRATON’s Innovation day in Södertälje, Sweden, Andreas Renschler, member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG and CEO of TRATON SE, said: “Our goal is to become the leading provider of e-trucks and e-buses. By 2025, we plan to have spent a total of more than €1 billion in electro mobility.”

Renschler added that customers’ interest in e-mobility is clearly growing and he expects the total cost of ownership (TCO) of battery-powered commercial trucks used in distribution services and city buses to fall and be comparable with vehicles powered by fossil fuels as battery cells will become less expensive, and their service life will grow.

“If all necessary prerequisites are in place at the right time, I expect for our Group, that in the next 10-15 years every third of our trucks and buses can have an alternative drivetrain, most of them fully electric.”

The TRATON Group are currently developing a common modular electric powertrain toolkit, that will be used in 2020 in the first serial produced all-electric city buses made by Scania and MAN, according to Christian Levin, chief operating officer and head of R&D at TRATON SE. “It can be individually modified depending on the brand and area of use. As a result, a maximum number of individual solutions can be produced with a minimum number of components and costs.”

For the first time, TRATON has also introduced a crossbrand development budget for electro mobility and brought together teams from all over the Group. They are working on the next generation of e-drive systems, a software for battery management, and the compatible frame structure. TRATON’s brands already hold more than 1,000 electro mobility patents and, thus, some 25% more than in 2018.

VWCO has signed the world’s largest purchase intention agreement for e-trucks — 1,600 trucks have been ordered by the Brazilian beer and beverage producer Ambev. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2020. In order to speed up the introduction of e-vehicles in Brazil, VWCO has just announced the formation of an e-Consortium at its Brazilian R&D and production complex.

This is the first time that a vehicle manufacturer has established a complete support structure for its electric trucks, from manufacturing to setting up the charging infrastructure and managing the life cycle of the battery pack, leveraging the commitment of the company’s fully integrated supply chain.

Meanwhile, later in 2019, Scania plans to put a bus in operation that will electrically and autonomously transport passengers for Nobina in the Stockholm metropolitan area. Together with Asko, Norway’s largest food wholesaler, Scania is testing fuel-cell trucks with an electric powertrain in which the electrical energy is converted from hydrogen gas from renewable resources in fuel cells on board the vehicles. Later on, Asko will test a Scania battery-electric truck.

Also, 26-tonne e-trucks made by MAN are currently being tested by customers in Austria; an extended production of the eTGM for further customer tests is scheduled to start this year.

“We have the products for today and tomorrow. We are in the starting blocks,” said Renschler said. He also urged political leaders to initiate in their respective countries “an incentive program for electric commercial vehicles and a European master plan for charging infrastructures” that would ease customers’ transition to electro mobility.

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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