• Reuters


Volvo Trucks plans to share battery technology across its brands to tame development and production costs for the crucial but expensive component.

As automakers face growing costs to develop lower-emission vehicles and automated driving capabilities, Volvo Trucks, owned by Sweden’s Volvo AB, said Monday it “absolutely” makes sense for its brands — which include Japan’s UD Trucks and Mack Trucks in the United States — to share battery technology.

“We’re really striving to reuse a lot when it comes to expensive components, which are expensive when it comes to development and production costs … not only between the truck brands, but also the bus brands and construction equipment,” Lars Stenqvist, chief technology officer at Volvo Group Trucks Technology, said in an interview.

“The benefit of the group is that we can get high volumes when we reuse components across the group.”

UD Trucks said it plans to launch an electric version of its Quon heavy-duty truck around 2020, after Volvo Trucks announced earlier this month it will launch medium-duty electric trucks designed for deliveries and refuse collection in Europe in 2019.

“Since we share technologies and platforms, it won’t be difficult for us to do this,” Douglas Nakano, senior vice president of UD Trucks Technology, said during the same interview. “Technologically speaking, we are ready.”

Daimler-owned Mitsubishi Fuso began selling an electric version of its Canter delivery trucks in Japan and the United States last year, expanding into Europe earlier this year, while Volkswagen AG’s truck division has said it plans to launch a medium-duty truck in North America by late 2019.

New technologies that have been disrupting the traditional auto industry are also affecting the truck and heavy equipment industry, as electric carmaker Tesla Inc. is expanding into electric trucks, announcing last year it plans to start producing a heavy-duty model by 2019.

To stay competitive, a growing number of automakers are trying to reduce development costs by leveraging scale, with the truck units of Volkswagen and Toyota Motor Corp. announcing earlier this month that they were forming an alliance.