VW plans large $1.7 billion investment to bring electric trucks and buses to market

VW is the latest automaker to leverage its electric vehicle investments into developing electric powertrains for its trucks and buses.

The company announced a new $1.7 billion investment into the technology over the next 5 years.

The money is going into the revitalization of Volkswagen’s trucks and buses with autonomous driving and cloud-based technologies, but they are especially highlighting the electrification of their lineup.

During a presentation at their ‘Innovation Day’ in Hamburg yesterday, several VW executives presented new electric truck and bus initiatives.

Dr. Eckhard Scholz, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, explained:

“The eCrafter is a high-performing van with a range of up to about 200 km. The vehicle will be shipped to selected customers by the end of 2017. The VW I.D. Buzz Cargo, a compact van that runs on electricity, is also being developed, its design and suitability for day-to-day life reminiscent of those of the classic VW Bulli.”

The I.D. Buzz Cargo is another version of the microbus unveiled earlier this year and set to enter production in 2022.

They are also working on solutions for use in both medium- and heavy-duty transport, which aims at a similar segment as recently announced electric truck efforts from companies like Tesla and Cummins.

In that segment, VW plans several vehicles for the European market and it partnered with Navistar in the US.

Joachim Drees, CEO of Volkswagen’s MAN Truck & Bus, commented:

 “We plan to deliver the first nine fully electric trucks to our customers in Austria by the end of 2017 – including large supermarket chains, breweries and haulers. Electric drives and distribution are a match made in heaven: The drives are quiet, do not produce any emissions locally, and are a perfect fit for customers’ requirements. Equally, demand for these types of vehicles has been on the rise. We will be launching the first small set of vehicles on the market at the end of 2018,”

The company also confirmed plans for “series production of electric buses due to start before 2020.”

While battery-electric seems to be VW’s “alternative drive” of choice, the company also announced plans to work on “Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)” systems.

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