FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group is a "second mover" in electrified commercial vehicles, after lagging behind companies such as Tesla and Deutsche Post DHL in putting them on the road, the head of VW's trucks business, Andreas Renschler, told a German newspaper.
He said VW could deliver zero-emissions alternatives to conventional trucks and buses. "But maybe the German manufacturers were too slow," Tagesspiegel quoted Renschler, who is also a member of the VW Group management board, as saying in an interview published on the German paper's website on Sunday.
Truck manufacturers such as Tesla, Daimler and Navistar International are racing to overcome the challenges of substituting batteries for diesel engines as regulators crack down on carbon dioxide and soot pollution.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday that the Silicon Valley company would show off a prototype of an electric semi-trailer truck on Oct. 26.
"Tesla has set some important and good impulses in the industry," Renschler told Tagesspiegel, but added that VW was a "second mover, who would rather check a couple of times more whether the standards are right."
Daimler said on Thursday that United Parcel Service would be the first U.S. commercial customer for its new battery-powered eCanter truck.
German logistics group Deutsche Post, working with Ford of Europe, designed and made its own electric delivery van, the StreetScooter, and plans to double annual output to 20,000 by the end of the year.
VW said at the Frankfurt auto show that it was stepping up its shift to electric cars by investing more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion) in zero-emissions vehicles by 2030 to challenge pioneer Tesla in creating a mass market.