Navistar and Volkswagen Work to Build Electric Powertrains, Connected Platform

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【Summary】Volkswagen and Navistar have plans to co-develop a medium-duty electric truck and a global connection platform.

Mia Bevacqua    Nov 28, 2017 10:00 AM PT

Navistar and Volkswagen Truck and Bus recently entered a partnership. As a result, the duo formed a new goal – develop an electric-powered medium-duty truck by 2020. And it appears the electric rig isn't just hopes and dreams. Navistar's bus brand, IC Bus, just unveiled the IC Electric Bus chargE. 

Powertrain Development

The electric CE Series concept school bus was developed with VW and is expected to be production-ready by 2019. It's a zero-emissions vehicle that utilizes a 260-kW electric drivetrain, good for a 120-mile range. The bus will serve as a platform for further development that could lead to an electric class 6/7 truck.  

It's possible that the next-generation electric truck may actually be a hybrid. Navistar and VW are also collaborating on a fully-integrated, diesel big bore powertrain. 

Bill Kozek, president of Navistar's North America Truck and Parts business, told media he feels for heavy-duty vehicles, a hybrid-electric system is more suitable than all-electric. At least in the near term.


Collaborating on Connectivity 

In addition to co-developing hardware, Navistar and VW are working to combine connectivity activities. Currently, Navistar has OnCommand Connection and VW has a digital brand called RIO. Merging the two will require a common, in-cab connection platform. 

Navistar president Troy Clark says such a platform could be used in the roughly 650,000 Navistar vehicles worldwide. A common global platform will also have the side benefit of more data collection and analysis. 

Volkswagen plans to launch a cloud-based system by the end of 2017. It will serve as a basis for the new, common global platform.

"Future transportation will massively be building on connectivity, as this will make our world much more efficient," said Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus. "The ecosystem we are about to create with our common platform will drive our strategic alliance to the next level."

Off to a Good Start

Navistar reported its joint venture with Volkswagen – Global Truck & Bus Procurement LLC –  is off to a good start. 

"Navistar is now writing the next chapter of our story," said Navistar president and CEO Troy Clarke. "Unlike any time in our history, we are positioned to win, and we will. We have the products, we have the dealers, we have the partner, and most importantly we have the will to win. We have the resolve to fight the next battle and the one after that."

Hopefully, that means the promise of a new electric truck by 2020 will become a reality. 

Sources: Trucking Info and SAE

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