The US commercial vehicle manufacturer Navistar is founding its business unit for EVs under the name of Next eMobility Solutions. The aim is to offer electric school buses from the end of 2020 and medium-weight e-trucks from the beginning of 2021.
In addition to the vehicles, Navistar also wants the startup to focus on advising its customers, in response to observations that companies interested in operating electric models have more questions than answers, as Navistar-COO and executive vice president Persio Lisboa explains. “They are looking for a partner who also creates clarity. Next combines the technical know-how needed to develop leading electric vehicles with industry experience to deliver customised solutions that go beyond the vehicle,” he extrapolates.
The Next team is led by Gary Horvat, Navistar’s Vice President for electric mobility. Horvat previously worked for the Japanese supplier Denso in the area of drive and electrical components, as well as with Fisker Automotive in the development team, and most recently for the US electric bus manufacturer Proterra.
The new company will sit in the Detroit region, but quite deliberately outside of Navistar’s existing hierarchies. “Next will combine the lean and agile approach of a startup with Navistar’s proven engineering and manufacturing capabilities,” says Lisboa. “The team is well-positioned to deliver fast, customer-focused innovations in eMobility.
The US startup will present the prototype of a medium commercial vehicle at the upcoming North American Commercial Vehicle in Atlanta. The prototype is a conversion based on the International eMV Series. The electric motor is to have a peak output of 474 kW and a continuous output of 300 kW, and the vehicle will be equipped with different batteries from 107 to 321 kWh. NEXT indicates a range of up to 400 kilometres.
Navistar already announced in 2017 that it intended to develop a medium-heavy truck with electric drive for the North American market – the market launch was scheduled for late 2019 or early 2020. At that time it was still said that the electric truck should be developed in cooperation with VW, but the current press release no longer mentions Volkswagen. The Geman carmaking giant has held a minority stake in Navistar for several years.
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