Beverage Hauling Company Commits to 1,600 Electric Trucks
Volkswagen, one of the world’s largest vehicle companies, threw down the gauntlet in the electric truck business two weeks ago when it announced its Brazilian subsidiary would deliver 1,600 locally designed and built electric commercial trucks between 2020 and 2023 to one customer. Volkswagen Caminhões e Õnibus, one of the biggest truck and bus manufacturers in South America, plans to build the first Volkswagen e-Delivery trucks in its plant in Resende, Brazil. The first test trucks will hit the road later this year for testing with the customer, Ambev Brewery, the Brazilian subsidiary of Anheuser Busch InBev.
The VW announcement comes on the heels of a flurry of new electric truck reveals and production plans during this past year. Cummins, the U.S.’s largest truck engine manufacturer, showed off an electric powertrain and said they’d build whatever powertrain their customers wanted. They beat Tesla, who revealed its Semi and started taking deposits for a 2019 delivery (expect it to be impressive, like every other Tesla product, but also not be delivered on time). Thor and Nikola, two other start-ups, unveiled their prototype trucks to the public.
Then the big boys chimed in. Daimler started a sequence of reveals of new electric models, ranging from delivery trucks up to its Class 8 Freightliner Cascadia. Volvo said it would introduce an electric delivery truck in the European market next year—and maybe bring it to the U.S. Volkswagen’s MAN brand recently introduced an all-electric delivery truck and an electric bus
Volkswagen’s e-Delivery follows up on a company commitment from last year, Rodrigo Chaves, chief technology officer of Caminhões e Õnibus, said: “The future of inner-city transport will be electric—no doubt about it.” The truck is expected to have a range of 200 kilometers (125 miles) and incorporate state-of-art solutions for green logistics, like smart systems to adjust the battery demand according to the operation and regenerative braking to add energy to the battery from stop-and-go driving. The trucks also with explore autonomous capability, depending on the vehicle’s application and settings.
The powertrain being developed, which may or may not use a transmission, will be modular so it can be applied to a variety of different commercial vehicles (part of VW’s MEB electric vehicle toolkit). The initial motor VW has discussed delivers 260 kW at 5,500 Nm, which translates into about 350 horsepower and 4,000 pound-feet of torque, certainly enough to move the freight.
When it has its 1,600 VW electric trucks deployed in 2023, approximately 35 percent of Ambev’s fleet will be electric. That’s estimated to save Ambev (and the planet) 30,400 tons of carbon emissions per year.
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