Traton and Hino are intensifying their cooperation in the field of electromobility. As part of their strategic partnership, the commercial vehicle subsidiaries of Volkswagen and Toyota have signed a joint venture agreement to speed up development for products with battery and FC technology.
The duo intends to drive forward the development of battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles and components and also to develop joint platforms for electric commercial vehicles, including software and interfaces. The two companies are putting together a team of specialists for these projects, which will initially start work in Södertälje, Sweden, before expanding its activities to Tokyo in a further step. Traton and Hino have mentioned their intention to interact in the field of electromobility on several occasions in the past.
The planned joint venture is based on the conviction that there will be a future need for both technologies – battery and fuel cell – according to an accompanying press release. Yoshio Shimo, President and CEO of Hino Motors, is also quoted as saying: “I am delighted that we can follow our procurement joint venture and further embodying our synergy with TRATON in e-mobility, helping to reduce global CO2 emissions and fighting global warming. We will combine our strengths as leading commercial vehicle manufacturers to offer EVs with the highest value for customers, through joint planning of commercial EVs.”
Traton CEO Matthias Gründler describes the new joint venture as the next important step in the company’s electrification strategy. Against this background, Gründler reaffirms the Traton Group’s goal, announced last year, of investing one billion euros in electrification by 2025. “Our goal is to become the leading manufacturer of electric trucks and electric buses,” said Andreas Renschler, then head of Traton, at the time. Traton has created a common modular electric powertrain for its MAN, Scania and Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus (VWCO) brands. Since this year, this powertrain has been used in Scania and MAN’s first series-produced electric city buses and is being individually adapted to suit each brand and application.
Hino and Traton had already agreed on a long-term strategic partnership in 2018. On this basis, the duo founded a purchasing joint venture in 2019. The two commercial vehicle companies complement each other in several ways. Traton, for example, is a specialist for heavy commercial vehicles, while Hino is successful in Asia with small and medium-sized trucks. In addition, the Japanese company is far ahead in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen, while Traton is increasingly gathering know-how in battery technology. Beyond the eMobility joint venture that has just been announced, Hino and Traton are willing to pool further competencies.
The partnership is not exclusive. Hino Motors is also working together with the Chinese group BYD on the development of electronic commercial vehicles. A few days ago it was announced that this cooperation will also result in the establishment of a joint venture. The new company will be established in China in 2021, with BYD and Hino each holding half of the shares. Both partners have specified the goal of the cooperation and the joint venture is to launch vehicles under the Hino brand in the first half of the 2020s. The vehicles are to be primarily aimed at Asian markets.
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke, France.