Volkswagen Truck & Bus underwent a name change, while parent company Volkswagen Group announced a partnership with California-based battery company QuantumScape and exploration of a collaboration with Ford.
This week saw a number of announcements from Volkswagen Group, with the most notable for the school bus industry being the name change of the Volkswagen Truck & Bus division, which collaborates with Navistar to produce the electric IC Bus “chargE” school bus that is currently touring the western U.S.
The division was renamed on Wednesday to TRATON GROUP to “further strengthen our Group’s joint identity and uniqueness,” according to Andreas Renschler, CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group and a member of the Volkswagen Board of Management.
“The new name TRATON is a major milestone on our road to become Global Champion of the transportation industry,” said Renschler. “The new name will also foster our visibility as the leading Group for innovative transportation solutions. It will increase our attractiveness for new talents, as well as for capital markets.”
“In our three short years as Volkswagen Truck & Bus we have grown and prospered much faster than expected. Our big ambitions mean big changes, especially in a world that is more and more connected, with higher expectations and greater challenges than we have ever faced,” said Business Controller Thyago da Costa e Silva. “Now is the time for a new kind of transportation company that has the power and potential to transform the transportation system, embrace a new model based on the spirit of partnership, and enable our customers to be more efficient, more competitive, and more sustainable.”
Navistar, parent company of IC Bus, expressed its support of the new TRATON Group and said its partnership with the company “is already demonstrating strong progress.”
“Our procurement joint venture is using global scale to drive new cost reduction opportunities, while our technology alliance is enabling more rapid and efficient R&D spend in such areas as a next-generation big-bore engine and electric powertrains for both school buses and medium duty trucks,” shared Lyndi McMillan, head of external communications. “In all, our alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus is on plan to deliver at least $500 million of savings for Navistar over its first five years, as well as enhanced opportunities for market leadership. We look forward to continued progress and opportunities.”
“The transportation sector is facing major changes due to increasing transportation volumes, higher emission standards and customer demand for efficient, sustainable and competitive solutions. TRATON combines the agility and spirit of a start-up with the extensive experience of traditional brands. With this unique set-up, the Group is perfectly positioned to reinvent transportation for future generations,” an official Traton Group statement read in part.
The name is based on the words “transformation,” “transportation,” “tradition,” “tonnage” and “on.” It was explained by the company as follows:
- TRAnsformation of the ecosystem transport is our mission—for everyone’s benefit.
- TRAnsportation is our and our customer’s passion.
- TONnage is what our customers are moving around the world, every day.
- TRAdition of our strong brands is what is grounding us.
- Always “ON” is the ultimate goal of our customers and our attitude in order to make everything possible for them.
Parent company Volkswagen Group also stated on Tuesday that it and Ford Motor Company “are exploring the potential of strategic collaboration to increase competitiveness and enhance customer value.”
“Both companies already have strong and complementary skills in various commercial vehicle segments. In order to meet the challenges of changing markets, we inevitably depend on more flexibility through cooperation,” said Dr. Thomas Sedran, Head of Volkswagen Group Strategy. “The planned strategic collaboration with Ford is an opportunity to improve the competitiveness of both companies worldwide.”
STN has previously reported that drivetrain provider “ROUSH CleanTech is the first Ford QVM-certified alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer to modify the 6.8L V10 engine,” and produce CNG, gasoline and propane school buses for Blue Bird.
Ford chassis are also used by Motiv to produce the electric Type C QuestXL from Starcraft, as well as the Type A electric SSTe Series from Trans Tech, and a new electric Type A school bus expected from Collins Bus.
Additionally, Volkswagen announced a partnership with California-based solid-state battery supplier QuantumScape on Thursday. Volkswagen said it would invest $100 million in QuantumScape to become its largest automotive shareholder, as well as take a seat on its board.
Solid-state battery technology, said an official Volkswagen statement, can increase the range of electric cars like the E-Golf, and “has further advantages over the present lithium-ion technology: higher energy density, enhanced safety, better fast charging capability and—above all—they take up significantly less space.”
“Volkswagen is the world’s largest automotive manufacturer and leads the industry in its commitment to electrification of its fleet,” said QuantumScape CEO Jagdeep Singh. “We are thrilled to be chosen by Volkswagen to power this transition. We think the higher range, faster charge times, and inherent safety of QuantumScape’s solid-state technology will be a key enabler for the next generation of electrified powertrains.”