Traton buys stake in TuSimple in push for Level 4 autonomous trucks

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020:

Traton buys stake in TuSimple in effort to develop autonomous truck in Europe
Traton, the commercial truck arm of Volkswagen, announced Wednesday a partnership with self-driving tech company TuSimple to develop self-driving trucks for the European market. As part of the partnership, Traton has also taken a minority stake in TuSimple.

The two companies have launched a developmental program to operate the first Level 4 autonomous hub-to-hub route in Sweden using Traton’s Scania trucks.

TuSimple has been working on its Level 4 autonomous technology since 2015 and has been working with a number of customers in the U.S. to contract to haul loads.

Traton’s goal is to test driverless truck fleets on roads throughout Sweden, Germany and other countries.

Navistar announced a similar partnership with TuSimple in July. Traton has also had interest in acquiring Navistar, upping its offer to purchase the company earlier this month.

Lion Electric to deliver 10 battery-electric trucks to Amazon
Electric truck manufacturer Lion Electric will deliver 10 battery-electric trucks to Amazon, two of which will be delivered this year. Amazon plans to use Lion’s trucks in its middle-mile trucking operations, according to a press release from Lion.

“This vehicle delivery for Amazon represents a very significant milestone for Lion,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and founder of Lion. “Amazon is a leader in adopting decarbonizing technologies that can improve sustainability among their trucking fleet. Our all-electric trucks will be a valuable addition to Amazon’s trucking operations as they work to deliver on their sustainability goals.”

As part of the delivery, Lion will provide one-time training to Amazon and the drivers who will operate the trucks upon delivery. They will also establish a maintenance program for the trucks.

The trucks are being manufactured at Lion’s Canadian facility, which has a current capacity to produce 2,500 electric trucks per year. A larger facility is planned for the U.S. in the future. Lion’s current all-electric truck offering consists of Class 5 to Class 8 trucks available under various configurations, including straight truck, tractor, reefer, bucket and refuse trucks.

TRALA pledges support for COVID-19 vaccine
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) announced its support for the U.S. government’s race to find a vaccine to fight COVID-19, offering to lend its vehicles, logistics and warehouse network to store and help distribute and deliver the vaccines across the nation when the time comes.

The group says its members account for more than 25% of over-the-road highway trucks and tractors in the U.S., and its nearly 500 members have vehicles and facilities throughout the country.

“TRALA member companies are industry leaders in logistics, have the necessary refrigerated vehicles and equipment as part of their rental and leased fleets, and have the critical experience operating in every state and region in the country, which will be essential in the efficient delivery of a coronavirus vaccine,” TRALA President and CEO Jake Jacoby.