Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, said that it is focusing on three trend-setting fields, namely automated driving, connectivity, and alternative drive systems that are friendly to the environment.
The Volkswagen Truck & Bus division said it will invest 1.4 billion euros (US$ 1.65 billion) in new technology including electric drive trains, autonomous systems and cloud-based software, Andreas Renschler, head of the unit, reportedly said.
Working in cooperation with the firm DB Schenker, MAN will start testing the first platoons on the digital test track on the A9 highway between Munich and Nuremberg in spring 2018. Scania is involved in a platooning project in Singapore, where the plan is to have platoons run on public roads between two port terminals.
Eckhard Scholz, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said, "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 model is set to be launched in 2022.
Volkswagen Truck & Bus noted that it is also working on electric solutions for use in both medium- and heavy-duty distribution transport and city buses. It will soon have a complete range of electric vehicles for the European market.
Navistar, Volkswagen's strategic partner in the U.S., will also use the platform to be able to offer electric distribution trucks from 2019 onwards. MAN is already well on its way to developing an electric distribution truck.
"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. ….. We will be launching the first small set of vehicles on the market at the end of 2018," Joachim Drees, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus, explained.
The e-Delivery is a modern truck for urban logistics designed to improve sustainability in the delivery of goods. It will be built at Volkswagen Caminhões e Onibus in Brazil in 2020.
Both MAN and Scania will be testing the module on pre-series production versions of a city bus that runs on electric batteries (BEV) under everyday conditions in several European cities. Series production of these electric buses is due to start before 2020.
Volkswagen Truck & Bus said it also is working closely together with Volkswagen Group Research to make automated driving a viable option on public roads, all the way up to autonomous driving at level five. The "Fellow Truck" project, for instance, gradually integrates artificial intelligence modules into the vehicles.
Fully autonomous Scania vehicles are ready to be used in mines, while the first commercial vehicle will be shipped to its owner within the next few weeks.
In 2016, the brands of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, which includes MAN, Scania, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus, and RIO, sold a total of 184,000 vehicles. Its product range includes light commercial vehicles, trucks and buses that are manufactured at 25 sites in 17 countries.
Volkswagen is also preparing to unveil two more all-electric cars as part of its series of new I.D. concepts that will serve as the basis of its new electric car strategy. They should be the third and fourth vehicles on the new platform and hit production in 2020-2021. They are planning a $10 billion investment over the next 5 years in order to have 25 electric car models across all its brands on the market by 2025. Volkswagen earlier this year announced an updated joint-venture with state-owned Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motor) to produce 100,000 all-electric cars per year in China.
“Our goal is clear: we want to make the fully electric, fully connected car a bestseller around the world. The iconic car of the electric age must be a Volkswagen.”, said Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management for the Volkswagen brand.