Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) is staffing its NEXT eMobility Solutions business unit in Michigan. It is close to several major suppliers working on battery-electric truck systems.
The 19,000-square-foot facility is 30 miles north of Detroit in Rochester Hills. That is a short drive from Continental Automotive Systems (OTC: CTTAY) and Meritor Inc. (NYSE: MTOR) in Troy, Michigan. Other suppliers are nearby.
“We look forward to joining this community as we create what will be the epicenter of everything that we do in electrification,” said Gary Horvat, Navistar eMobility vice president.
NEXT eMobility leads Navistar’s design, engineering and analysis of all its electric vehicles and batteries. That work is currently done at Navistar’s headquarters campus in Lisle, Illinois, west of Chicago.
The 50 NEXT eMobility employees work on high-voltage systems, batteries, power electronics, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, electric vehicle hardware and software integration.
‘Custom plan for each customer’
Navistar launched NEXT in October 2019 at the North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta, where it revealed its first electric truck, a version of its MV medium-duty.
Navistar plans to manage all aspects from design to delivery focusing on consulting, construction, charging and connecting.
“This goes beyond the vehicle alone,” recently named Navistar CEO Persio Lisboa said in Atlanta. “It is a custom plan for each customer. Companies interested in operating electric trucks have more questions than answers; they are looking for a partner who also brings clarity.”
Over time, Navistar expects to combine electrification efforts and other connected technologies with TRATON Group. TRATON is the holding company for Volkswagen’s truck brands. It owns 16.8% of Navistar. In January, TRATON made a $2.9 billion unsolicited bid for the 83% of Navistar shares it does not already own.
TRATON projects spending $1.1 billion on connected and autonomous vehicle research and development by 2024. Navistar can leverage that on its way to converging to a global technology platform with TRATON, Lisboa said.
Separately, Navistar announced on July 15 plans to sell a Level 4 autonomous tractor in 2024 in a partnership with TuSimple.