In business, it pays to practise as you preach.  That seems to be the approach adopted by Renault Trucks in starting the shift towards electric trucks by switching the transportation of axles between their sites from diesel trucks to battery electric E-Tech Range T tractor units.

However, the entirety of the company’s transport will not be electrified until 2030.

This first stage of this project involves the electrification of axle transport for the 50-mile journey between its Lyon and Bourg-en-Bresse plants. The 450,000 km driven each year between the two production sites will be handled by Dupessey & Co and Transports Chazot using five 44 t Renault Truck E-Tech T electric vehicles.

“Applying here at Renault Trucks the solutions we offer our customers”. This is how Renault Trucks could sum up its approach to the electrification of logistics, which has been up and running for a few days now.

Thanks to the launch of its electric heavy-duty truck, which marks a real step forward in inter-regional distribution, the French manufacturer has decided to switch to Renault Trucks E-Tech T 4×2 tractors for the axles supply to the Bourg-en-Bresse plant.

In practical terms, two partner hauliers have been chosen to carry out this task over the next six years, namely the Dupessey&Co Group and Transports Chazot.

Five electric trucks, each loaded with 22 tonnes of equipment, will make two round trips a day (360 km) to deliver the axles, manufactured at the Lyon site, to the Bourg-en-Bresse plant, where the heavy-duty trucks are assembled.

Renault Trucks axles logistics flow
Five electric trucks, each loaded with 22 tonnes of equipment, will make two round trips a day (360 km) to deliver the axles

Depending on the flow of goods, the number of deliveries can be increased, with up to seven trucks on the road in a single day. The trucks will require an interim charge of 45-50 minutes once a day at the Lyon site, where a charging station has been set up specifically for this purpose. The vehicles will also be charged every evening at the depots of the two hauliers.

This electrification of logistics will allow 440,000 kilometres to be driven by e-vehicles, saving 375 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The ‘Range Simulator’ at Work

The manufacturer has set out to be a model for industry players and its customers, by applying the decarbonised mobility solutions it offers them to its own operations.

Before electrifying its logistics flows between Lyon and Bourg-en-Bresse, the feasibility of the project needed to be studied. For this, the Renault Trucks teams used the same software they propose to customers, namely the Range Simulator. This calculates where, when and for how long charging is required, based on four main parameters: use of the truck, its load and equipment, the outside temperature and the topography.

Once this diagnosis has been completed, the required positioning of the charging facilities is established so as to ensure optimum use. As a result, two 360 KW terminals (each with 2 charge points) have been installed at the Saint-Priest site to manage the interim charges for the various trucks in optimal conditions.

“We’ve worked long and hard to electrify this first logistics route, having chosen axles between Lyon and Bourg-en-Bresse because this is a flow that is emblematic of Renault Trucks’ business, with very high operational constraints, particularly in terms of output and precision. The launch of this project is a further illustration of our expertise in decarbonising mobility”, explained Bruno Blin, President of Renault Trucks. “Here at Renault Trucks, this kind of project is helping us build a new transport model. Our target for 2030 is to electrify our logistics on a huge scale, with all flows between our production sites using electric vehicles.”

Renault Trucks is currently working on the electrification of around a dozen other logistics flows, due to be operational in the months and years to come, in particular thanks to a system of relay vehicles that will enable electric trucks to be used over increasingly long distances.