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Truck manufacturer embraces the electric revolution

The race to decarbonise the heavier end of the logistics fleet has assumed a greater urgency since the publication of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan last summer.

The government report said that the sale of new non-zero HGVs between 3.5 tonnes and up to 26 tonnes would end by 2035, and the sale of all new diesel HGVs would end by 2040, or possibly earlier if a faster transition seems feasible.

This means the UK logistics sector has between 13 and 18 years to find a feasible alternative to the Euro VI diesel engine, long established as a reliable way to power road haulage operations.

Currently, the three tailpipe zero-emission alternatives to diesel being considered by government are battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hydrogen-powered vehicles and electric road systems (ERS). One OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) that has nailed its colours firmly to the BEV mast is Renault Trucks.

Upon the publication of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, Carlos Rodrigues, Renault Trucks’ Managing Director for UK and Ireland, welcomed its ambition to bring about a zero-carbon transport system. “We continue to lead the UK market towards zero carbon, with the widest range of fully electric commercial vehicles available from any manufacturer,” he said.

At that point Renault Trucks was offering its Z.E. range of trucks for the urban delivery and city service sectors.

Last week (7 March 2022), it unveiled wider ambitions in the field of electric mobility, with an offer geared towards providing 360° support for its customers. Its Z.E. has now been rebranded E-Tech, to reflect the fact that it is stepping up its strategy and raising its ambitions. The manufacturer now plans for half of its sales to be electric by 2030 and for all of the vehicles it sells by 2040 to be carbon neutral.


Keen to publicise its step change towards producing zero-emission vehicles far and wide, Renault Trucks invited journalists to tour its dedicated EV factory in Blainville-sur-Orne, last week, for an inspection of the factory’s assembly line and to take part in workshops on the electric charging infrastructure and battery lifecycle.

A vast 74-hectare site, Renault Trucks factory at Blainville-sur-Orne has manufactured more than one million trucks since it was built in 1956. Given the heavy industrial activity it is engaged in on a daily basis (it produces 285 cabs and 82 trucks every day) the factory’s assembly lines offers a surprisingly clean working environment for its 2,200 staff.

Over the past 10 years, Renault Trucks has invested more than €200m in the site and it has impressive environmental credentials. As well as using 100% renewable electricity over the last 20 years it has reduced its water and energy consumption by 50%. The site has also been certified as a “zero landfill waste” site. In March 2020, it started to manufacture electric trucks and it now claims to have the biggest electric truck production capacity in Europe.


Decarbonisation has become an obvious priority for both the logistics industry and more generally for society, and Renault Trucks has decided to be at the forefront of these changes, according to Francois Savoye, Vice President Electromobility Solution offer.

Megatrends that impact the logistics industry – global warming and air quality – are a key focus for Renault Trucks, but he believes that new technologies will prove to be the gamechanger in the way it solves its customers’ challenges.

Society now demands more traceability, speed and ethics when it comes to sourcing products, Savoye maintained, adding: “Consumers are more and more aware about what they consume and how they consume.”

Like many other companies, Renault Trucks says it is committed to the science-based argument on sustainability, but what does this mean in practice?

“It means that as a company you need to define your own ambition, you make those ambitions public, those ambitions are related to quantifiable results and progress is publicly followed up in a yearly reporting process,” Savoye said.

Small, timid steps towards decarbonisation were no longer enough, he argued, only radical, disruptive action would help limit global warming.

“We have decided to commit towards the most ambitious scenario of the Paris agreement, which requires society in general to be net zero emission to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2050.”

In practical terms, this means that 100% of new Renault Trucks sales will be fossil free by 2040.


Renault Trucks prides itself adopting a holistic approach to its after sales service. Once its trucks are put into operation, the OEM continues to monitor them closely to ensure they deliver for their customers – financially, environmentally, and operationally.

“This is quite a unique approach when it comes to selling trucks,” Savoye said, “We think that it is time for us to move on from the former ZE sub-brand we have been using for the past three years to the new sub-brand that will be illustrating integration of this entire ecosystem.

All new trucks and products in the Renault Trucks ecosystem will now be branded E-Tech, to illustrate the OEM’s raised ambitions.

“This is a major identity evolution,” Savoye said, “And this evolution will be supported by major product range evolution.”

Renault Trucks will introduce the T. E-Tech to its product range to address the long-haulage application and the C. E-Tech to address the construction application. These vehicles are expected to be able to achieve ranges up to 300 kilometres on one single charge, 500 kilometres if you factor in charging during a 45-minute legally mandated break.

“Thanks to this Renault Trucks will be the only OEM in Europe able to offer full electric variants from 3.5 to 44-tonnes,” Savoye said, “We are shaping the future of electromobility.”


A major technology shift will change the industry more in the next decade than it has changed over the past 50 years, Savoye believes. However, technology will only play a supporting role in this transition.

“The real transformation is about people, the real transformation is about support and proximity, the speed that we’re able to provide our customers with. Our customers need advice and tangible support and we believe that expertise will make the difference.”

Renault Trucks is now deploying energy transition specialists in its network, who will advise its customers on the way to handle their transition, help implement the project, share their charging expertise, and optimise operational efficiency, in a way that simply did not happen in the diesel truck sector.

“We treat each deal as a project, each customer being unique, each mission and each site being unique,” Savoye said, “We have the technology, we have the competence, we have the people, we’re ready for the shift.”


Published On: 17/03/2022 16:00:08


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