Vehicle manufacturer Renault Trucks and supply chain company Geodis have partnered to design an electric heavy truck for urban logistics that can meet the requirements of city-center freight transport.
The companies have agreed to develop a 16-ton electric urban truck, at a comparable cost (TCO2) to that of a diesel vehicle, which is a prerequisite for the widespread adoption of alternative power units. Delivery of the prototype is scheduled for the end of 2022. It will be produced at Renault Trucks’ site in Blainville-sur-Orne, France. The truck will be trialled for urban deliveries in Paris, France 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 optimize the total cost of ownership.
In the early phases of work, the partnership focused on improving safety for the driver and the public with a lowered cab, a large windshield and multiple cameras instead of rear-view mirrors. The design also incorporated a sliding side door on the passenger side to restrict the door opening angle and let the driver get out of the truck on either side. The lowered cab is also expected to make it easier for drivers to access the vehicle. Finally, to improve maneuverability, Renault has redesigned the exterior lines of the truck and the interior of the cab.
The companies initiated the project on the understanding that vehicles with a capacity of more than 3.5 tons will remain at the core of urban distribution for massification reasons despite challenging changes in urban transport. These changes include emission regulations, restricted access and the proliferation of different modes of mobility (cargo bikes, bicycles, scooters, etc) sharing the public space. The project, named Oxygen, will work toward integrating all the requirements and functions of city-center delivery, including eliminating pollution and noise and improving active and passive safety to better co-exist with all road users (pedestrians and people using soft modes of transport).
Marie-Christine Lombard, the CEO of Geodis, said, “The environmental emergency combined with the growth of e-commerce and the implementation of low-emission zones in major French cities means that we urgently need to step up the decarbonization 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, the 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 Oxygen 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.”