Renault Trucks and GEODIS join forces to develop a new urban electric truck at ‘diesel prices’

Renault Trucks and GEODIS are combining their industrial, logistics and engineering expertise to design an electric heavy truck dedicated to urban logistics that meets the requirements of city-centre freight transport at a cost comparable to that of a diesel vehicle.

Changes are occurring in urban freight transport, whether in terms of emission regulations, restricted access, or the proliferation of modes of mobility (cargo bikes, bicycles, scooters, etc.) sharing the public space. 

For reasons of standardisation, vehicles with a tonnage of over 3.5 tonnes will remain at the core of urban distribution, says Renault. 

With a complete range of electric vehicles manufactured in France ranging from 3.1 to 26 tonnes, Renault Trucks has been working for ten years on reducing the environmental footprint of city logistics. GEODIS, whose ambition is to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030, has undertaken to provide carbon-free deliveries to 37 cities in France by 2023.

Through their new collaboration, the manufacturer and logistics partners are taking this approach a step further and combining their know-how to develop a brand new 16-tonne electric urban truck, at a comparable cost (TCO) to that of a diesel vehicle, which is a prerequisite for the widespread adoption of alternative power units.

Marie-Christine Lombard, Chief Executive Officer of GEODIS, said: “The environmental emergency combined with the growth of e-Commerce and the implementation of low-emission zones in major French cities mean that we urgently need to step up the decarbonisation of transport. This is the objective of GEODIS in forming this partnership with Renault Trucks. We want to quickly provide concrete answers to the issue of sustainable urban logistics.”

Bruno Blin, president of Renault Trucks, added: “We have noticed that the image of the truck is changing; at last, it is being perceived as an indispensable tool. The purpose of the project, in which Renault Trucks is working alongside GEODIS, is to design a truck that will seamlessly blend into the urban landscape, among other road users in areas with traffic and even in pedestrian zones. This new truck will be designed for the driver’s working comfort and safety, and for the safety of city dwellers.”

A truck that seamlessly blends into the urban landscape 

Thanks to the collaborative work carried out from the design stage onwards, this vehicle (project name: Oxygen) will make it possible to integrate all the requirements and functions of city-centre delivery: elimination of nuisances such as pollution and noise, and improvement of active and passive safety in order to better manage co-existence with all road users (active mobility, including pedestrians and cyclists). 

In the early phases of work, the following areas of focus were identified: 

• Improved safety for the driver and the public thanks to a lowered cab giving the driver an excellent direct view for optimal protection of road users; a large windscreen and multiple cameras instead of rear-view mirrors, offering a 360° view; a sliding side door on the passenger side which eliminates the risk of the door opening into pedestrian areas. 

• Greater comfort for the driver, who will be able to get out of the truck on either side, left or right. Climbing in and out of the truck will be made easier by a much lower access height than on a standard delivery truck.

• Optimal ergonomics and easier access to the cargo space. A specialist bodybuilder will develop an innovative body installation to improve loading/unloading operations in the urban environment.  

• Connected tools enabling drivers to optimise their delivery operations and their routes. 

• To ensure that this vehicle blends into the urban landscape perfectly and with a view to enhancing both the comfort and the self-esteem of the driver, Renault Trucks designers have completely redesigned both the exterior lines of the truck and the interior of the cab.

Delivery of the prototype is scheduled for the end of 2022. It will be produced at Renault Trucks’ site in Blainville-sur-Orne, France, since 2020, the first European plant to manufacture series production electric trucks.

The truck will be trialled for urban deliveries in Paris, starting in 2023. This real-world testing will be followed by a phase of adaptation of the vehicle incorporating feedback from drivers covering comfort of use, practicality, recharging, etc., and then by a study to optimise the total cost of ownership and to identify other possible applications for the concept.

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