Volkswagen’s truck division Traton announced at its parent company’s Innovation Day this week that it plans to invest more than €1 billion (AU$1.63 billion) into electro mobility and more than €1 billion into digitalisation in an effort to keep pace with the industry’s “radical” transformation.
Traton’s goal is to become the world’s leading provider of battery-powered commercial vehicles and is committing over €1 billion in research and development expenditure over the next five years.
Traton Group is developing a common modular electric powertrain toolkit which is set to be used for the first time in 2020 in serial produced all-electric city buses made by Scania and MAN – two of the company’s brands, along with Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus.
The modular electric powertrain toolkit “can be individually modified depending on the brand and area of use,” said Christian Levin, the COO and head of R&D at Traton SE.
“As a result, a maximum number of individual solutions can be produced with a minimum number of components and costs.”
Further, Traton has introduced a cross-brand development budget for electro mobility and brought together teams from across the Group in an effort to develop the next generation of e-drive systems, software for battery management, and compatible frame structures.
The company’s drive to expand its electric offerings stems at least in part from their “customers’ interest in e-mobility,” according to Andreas Renschler, management board member at Volkswagen AG and CEO of Traton SE.
“In the mid-term, we expect that the total cost of ownership (TCO) of battery-powered commercial trucks used in distribution services and city buses will be comparable with vehicles powered by fossil fuels.”
“When we started this journey four years ago, attempts at e-mobility in commercial vehicles were brushed aside as experiments,” Renschler said.
“Today, we are already taking orders for electrically powered trucks and buses and are confident that over the next 10 to 15 years, every third truck and bus we deliver will have alternative drive systems, of which the majority will be purely electric.”
Traton’s CEO also announced at Volkswagen’s Innovation Day in Sweden, held on Wednesday, that the Traton Group will commit over €1 billion to investing in digitalisation.