OEMs team with logistics firm on e-LCV JV
Sweden’s Volvo Group, France’s Renault and container shipping firm CMA CGM agree collaboration
Swedish commercial vehicle maker Volvo Group and France’s Renault will form a new joint venture (JV) to develop electric light commercial vehicles (LCVs). And they have also secured an investment agreement from French logistics firm CMA CGM, which could be a core user of the new vehicles.
Volvo — not to be confused with passenger vehicle maker Volvo Cars — and Renault are familiar dance partners, as the former bought the latter’s Renault Trucks commercial vehicle subsidiary as far back as 2001. Now the two firms will invest €300mn ($315mn) each over the course of the next three years in an initial 50:50 JV to develop an “all-new family of fully electric and software defined vehicles”.
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The vehicles will be built on a new fully electric LCV skateboard platform that aims to offer high modularity for different body types at low cost. Production is planned to start in 2026.
But CMA CGM has also signed a non-binding letter of intent to invest €120mn to join the new company. The founding partners will also continue to seek additional investment and shareholders.
The tie-up with a logistics firm that could be a key anchor customer seems deliberate.
“Not only are we investing in this project, but we will also bring our know-how and expertise to ensure inbound and outbound logistics, while some of these vehicles could ultimately be used to decarbonise our fleet,” says CMA CGM CEO Rodolphe Saade.
And the new JV notes that “future CO2 regulations on transport of goods and access to cities are drastically transforming the logistics ecosystem” and promises that, through its new range, “the pain points of logistics players will be addressed”.
Its software offering “will onboard unprecedented capabilities to monitor delivery activity and user business performance, reducing the global cost of usage for logistics players by 30pc”. CMA CGM’s involvement is intended “to assist the new company in building appropriate solutions that can fit all transport and supply chain players’ needs, based on end-to-end efficient solutions”.
The new standalone firm is expected to launch in early 2024. It will have its own brand and be based in France.
“The new company is a start-up-minded, unmatched combination of the complementary assets of three champions: a leading truck maker, expert in tailored services; a champion of the global supply chains; and a European EV pioneer & LCV leader. All the ingredients are there to come up with something truly unique,” says Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo.