Has Brazil accidentally found a way to accelerate EV truck adoption?
Interesting things just happened in Brazil, a huge country without any electric vehicle sales to speak of.
Reuters broke news that Volkswagen is going to supply 1,600 electric trucks!
As it turns out, Ambev, a Brazilian brewing company owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, plans to add 1,600 EV trucks by 2023. The vehicles would be purchased by around 20 logistics companies that are contracted to distribute Ambev’s products.
Anheuser-Busch in the U.S. is also considering a purchase of 40 Tesla Semi and up to 800 Nikola One.
The talks between Ambev and Volkswagen had long preceded this, but it seems that the decision was at least accelerated/triggered by the latest policy, introduced by the government that applies a new fixed minimum freight fare for diesel truckers. EVs are exempt, so logistics companies are inquiring Volkswagen, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and others to provide electric trucks.
"Roberto Cortes, Chief Executive of Volkswagen’s bus and trucks operation in Brazil, told Reuters that negotiations with Ambev had long preceded the new policy, which came into effect this month. The timing was “pure coincidence,” he said, though he acknowledged the rule could lead clients to rethink their fleets.
Ambev’s plan, which had not yet been firmed up, follows a truckers strike in May that severely hampered the flow of food, fuel and key exports for nearly two weeks and forced the government to promise changes.
This month the government signed those promises into law, including a minimum fare for freight to be paid to diesel truckers, which is now higher than the current market rate. Electric vehicles are exempt from the price minimums.
“It’s obvious that a strike of that nature calls attention to the need of having products that are alternatives to diesel trucks,” Cortes said. “Still, we are not expecting any sales directly caused by this decision.”"
1,600 electric trucks would be the biggest such fleet in Brazil and some 35% of Ambev’s fleet. Ambev said that it would enable savings of 30,000 tons of carbon emissions per year.
It's not yet known what type of trucks Volkswagen will supply. Recently, VW Group's MAN presented the eTGM is a 26 tonnes distribution truck.
If logistics are so sensitive to costs, just imagine what a splash is coming when finally someone introduces autonomous electric trucks.