Volkswagen is getting serious about electric-powered trucks and buses with news the German auto giants would invest more than $2.1 billion Australian dollars into their further development.
The funding will go towards developing electric drivetrains, autonomous systems and cloud-based software for heavy vehicles.
Andreas Renschler, head of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, said it will be International Trucks (built in the U.S. by Volkswagen affiliate, Navistar) as well as the Volkswagen-owned MAN and Scania brands that benefit from the investment.
The goal being to lead the market in emission free trucks and buses in Europe and North America by 2025.
Mr Renschler said the investment will be returned first through electric city bus and local delivery truck sales, then, in the longer term, long distance trucks.
The electric powertrains being developed by Volkswagen will be offered alongside bio-diesel, hybrid and natural gas-powered trucks and buses, according to Renschler.
“We believe in a wide range of alternative powertrains and fuels, depending on local availability, social and local demand and customer requirements,”
“Therefore, it is crucial that policy makers adopt a technology-neutral approach” in any regulations.”
While the Volkswagen Truck & Bus boss says it will be better battery technology that will be real key to making electric trucks more attractive to operators.
The news comes as momentum towards electric-drive buses and trucks seems to be gathering.