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Having already dropped itself into an ocean of electrical automobile R&D, Volkswagen is now planning to develop battery-powered business autos geared toward servicing city areas the place public officers are having evening terrors about air high quality.

Jürgen Stackmann, VW’s board member accountable for gross sales and advertising, promised the corporate could be at “full steam” on EV manufacturing and improvement by 2020. That features a battery-only possibility for “all kinds and physique varieties” by 2030, in line with Stackmann. However the model desires to have one thing comparable on the desk for vehicles and buses earlier than then.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus is investing 1.four billion euros ($1.7 billion) into new electrical drivetrains to be used in each medium and heavy-duty distribution transport and metropolis buses. Whereas that improvement will go towards European autos initially, VW and strategic companion Navistar will use the “e-drivetrain” platform on U.S.-based electrical vehicles from 2019 onwards. 

The corporate says a battery-powered truck, known as the e-Supply, will make its option to Brazilian meeting strains in 2020. Nevertheless, the German producer’s MAN and Scania manufacturers will each ship solely electrical buses to European cities earlier than this yr’s finish. “The e-Supply marks a milestone within the historical past of Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus (Vehicles and Buses),” stated Roberto Cortes, CEO of MAN Latin America, in a press release. “This can be a brand-new platform that was developed in Brazil with the purpose of providing new mobility options to massive cities.”

If VW Group can adhere to its proposed timelines, it might place it in very place to compete with Tesla, Daimler, and Volvo Vehicles’ makes an attempt to ship comparable electrified lengthy haulers. However Volkswagen isn’t happy with delivering on electrical powertrains — it additionally desires to design autonomous driving expertise that’s centered on closed environments.

By narrowing its scope, the corporate might get a soar on rivals pursuing comparable self-driving methods. Navigating via unpredictable site visitors and infinite roadways is a tall order, so VW’s preliminary autonomous autos shall be issues like transportation shuttles, freeway upkeep autos, and airport-based tractors. By maintaining issues in a extra stagnant atmosphere, the automaker thinks it might get the primary self-driving fashions out inside two years.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus launching trial projects for digital truck platoons

In fact, the tip aim is to construct as much as totally autonomous trucking fleets able to making it cross-country. To that finish, MAN will work with logistic specialists at DB Schenker to check a convoy of linked vehicles on the A9 autobahn within the spring of 2018. The speculation of “platooning” the autos collectively permits the lead truck to set the course and tempo by way of a human driver whereas the remaining autos comply with autonomously.

“Platooning is step one in direction of automated driving on public roads,” Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, defined. “The subsequent step will contain enabling truck convoys comprising completely different manufacturers to function in platoon formation. As a part of this course of, Scania and MAN will be a part of forces beneath the Volkswagen Truck & Bus umbrella to pioneer expertise and develop requirements that may form the way forward for your entire business.”

[Images: Volkswagen AG]

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