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Volkswagen shifts gear on commercials

July 11, 2019
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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) is looking to become a provider of mobility services that function in all areas of the transport value chain, according to Thomas Sedran, the company’s chairman. Speaking in Germany during a tour of VWCV’s Hannover plant, he said that, from 2022, the facility would be geared to produce electrically driven commercial vehicles – some of them autonomous – that would form part of the Volkswagen Group’s new ID Buzz family.

“We are investing heavily in developing electric mobility solutions for people and goods in urban areas. We want to take this drive technology to a new level in everyday use. We’re working hard to create a comprehensive range of products and services that offer added value for society and the environment,” he said.

According to Sedran, in the transformation period the plant would continue to produce vehicles with diesel engines as well as those with hybrid drivetrains. However, a priority would be to equip the workforce with the skills it would need to build the new family of electric vehicles, including those which would be fitted with autonomous drive.

He added that it would be up to the country’s politicians to ensure the establishment of a nationwide and cross-border charging infrastructure which would be needed for the e-mobility offensive.

Alexander Hitzinger, VWCV’s head of technical development, said in a product strategy presentation that advancing digitalisation was fundamentally changing the nature of mobility. “Our aim is to be able to offer autonomous transportation of goods and passengers. This will make a lasting contribution to improving traffic flow and road safety.”

Against this backdrop, Hitzinger explained the interaction of individual sensors used for autonomous driving and the challenges regarding the cooperation and complexity of different vehicle systems.

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.

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