The executive traveled to Chile amid the launch of e-Delivery, the company’s first zero-emission truck. An example which he took advantage of to return to the history, standards and strategy of the factory located in Brazil. As well as telling us about our market and the importance of its latest release.
A few weeks ago, Volkswagen Trucks and Buses presented e-Delivery, its first 100% electric truck, in Chile. An urban delivery vehicle designed for cleaner, quieter and more efficient cities, capable of offering a range of up to 250 kilometers.
Produced in the factory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the e-Delivery is the first zero-emission truck from the German company, in the development of which more than 30 million dollars have been invested, the equivalent of 400 000 kilometers of testing.
During its launch we spoke with Leonardo Soloaga, director of VW Trucks and Buses, who took advantage of the visit to our country to inform us about the internationalization plan of the factory, the importance of Chile for the region , as well as construction challenges. an electric truck, among others. That’s what he told us.
How important is the Brazilian factory for the region?
Volkswagen Trucks and Buses head office is in Brazil, we are 100% Brazilian, our factory is in Rio de Janeiro and our offices in Sao Paulo. It is from there that all the activity is born, born 40 years ago, Chile and Paraguay being the first countries to receive our trucks.
Today, we export not only to countries in the region, but also to Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In each of them, we have a fairly ambitious growth strategy, seeking to position ourselves as a strong brand mainly in emerging countries.
For this type of market we offer a product very focused on the cost-benefit ratio, where the important thing is to offer the customer efficiency, the best possible consumption and low maintenance costs.
During these 40 years of factory production, how has the transformation and investment in cleaner and more efficient processes taken place?
For the electric itself, the factory has been adapted. Almost 70% of electronic delivery takes place on the normal line, then there is another line where the entire electrification part is carried out. This is a different technology, which requires high training, not of mechanics, but of technicians specialized in high voltage. We also have suppliers there.
What was the biggest challenge when building an electric truck?
Although there is a technical challenge, the bigger challenge is educating the public. We talk a lot about electric mobility and its sustainable nature, but in reality, few companies are adapting to it.
Today, it is the largest companies that promote electromobility, they are the ones that have zero carbon production targets for 2025.
And there is also the big price difference that exists compared to its classic pair…
It is true that this equation is still not resolved, because the price of batteries is still very high. Its cost is still half that of a truck, which means that an electric model costs 2 to 3 times more than a traditional model.
Now, a truck should not only be valued by its selling price, but also by its life cycle cost, that is, how much it costs to maintain that truck. We call this the total cost of ownership.
We already measure this in an electric truck and we calculate that from the second, third year you are equal to a diesel and from the fourth year it is better to have an electric.
Finally, we would like to know how important is Chile for VW trucks and buses?
Since our beginnings, we have had a history with Chile, which today translates into more than 27,000 units exported, including 10,000 in the last decade.
Currently, it’s our third largest market, so it’s very important strategically, since everyone is there. It is an open market that attracts products from all over. So here you measure the strength you can have as a brand.
Likewise, we have a very professional importer, who is part of the Porsche group, with whom we have a lot of synergy in the way we work.
Our goal is to remain among the top three truck brands in Chile and we are confident that this will be the case, since we have a complete range of products and after-sales service throughout the country.