Design determined for efficiency
The new Renault Trucks brand visual identity marks a turning point in the manufacturer's history. The across-the-board renewal for Euro 6 has made it possible to create a visual consistency throughout the range. The new design for the trucks demonstrates the manufacturer's determination to offer reliable and efficient tools to accomplish their missions in the very best way possible.
Determined. That is perhaps the best word to describe the visual language adopted by the new Renault Trucks vehicles. Hervé Bertrand, the Renault Trucks design director explains: "As soon as they set eyes on it, we wanted drivers and owners to be able to say: that's a truck that'll do the job, and do it well. Because, for our customers, trucks are above all tools to serve their productivity, and tools they must be proud of."
An assertive design
In stylistic terms, this translates into a trapezoid radiator grille evoking the Pi symbol. "This radiator grille, with its stability and assertion, expresses the confidence you can have in a Renault Trucks vehicle," explains Hervé Bertrand. "It is featured, with different variations on the theme, throughout the entire range, creating a visual consistency between our various vehicles, just like the optics and indicator lights with their boomerang layout." Created when the T Long Distance was being designed, these lights and their boomerang layout are the result of intensive development. Such a forward position for the optics with their relief has never ever been seen before in a truck. This design means we can do without deflectors, because by directing the airflow, they clean the doors perfectly. Furthermore, they use unique technology making it possible to light up the indicator lights' entire surface with a minimum number of LEDs. Finally their boomerang-inspired form gives the indicator light maximum visibility to vehicles coming up from behind.
Adapted to all the ranges, this trapezoid or "p" shaped radiator grille takes on yet another dimension on the K - which replaces the Kerax - with high ground clearance and approach angles that emphasise its impression of ruggedness.
Trucks, an industrial tool
The visual language used by the new Renault Trucks ranges establishes a number of parallels with the world of industry. The design of the access steps to the cab and the windscreen and even the supports of the sunshield are very angular, reminiscent of industrial conveyor belts. The red plate with the Renault Trucks name on the door is also drawn from the world of industry. "It complements the logo on the front, and makes our trucks immediately identifiable," explains Hervé Bertrand. "It makes direct reference to the plates on industrial machines: it is a means of giving the machine's characteristics, in this case the truck, but is also a guarantee of quality. We can see it as the Renault Trucks seal which signs the truck and shows our commitment." Part of this plate is given over to the manufacturer's characteristics of the truck (name, configuration, etc.) while another part can be used by the customer for adding information of their choosing (such as the name of the driver, or the company, etc.).
Far from reproducing the codes of the world of cars, the Renault Trucks Hall of Design teams have taken care to ensure that every one of the truck's elements is consistent with the scale of the whole vehicle. For example, the handles on the doors are big and solid and can be used when wearing gloves. Inside, the steering wheel has a large diameter and the electronic parking brake control is well dimensioned, with a big and comfortable feel. The inside of the door - often a detail which is overlooked - has been particularly carefully designed, particularly in the lower part, the first thing the driver sees when getting on board.
The notion of an industrial tool characterises the entire range and justifies the stylistic options that have been chosen. On the Distribution range for example, particular attention has been paid to the front bumper. This is the part of the vehicle most sensitive to impacts. On the Renault Trucks D and D Wide this has therefore been designed in several parts, so that each one can be changed more easily and at a lower cost for the customer, in the event of damage. Similarly, on the KM, the requirements of the Euro 6 standard forced the engineers to position the anti-roll and tow bar in front of the radiator. But instead of trying to hide it, as was the case on the Kerax, the designers decided to give it a new look and make it something to be proud of: "We based this on the notion that we should not hide any of the truck's functional elements," explains Hervé Bertrand. "It's rather like the motorbikes of the 1950s, which had all their working parts clearly visible. If something has a function, we show it. And the towbar, for example, emphasises the vehicle's ruggedness." This was also the philosophy which inspired the engineers to leave the cab tipping elements on the T uncovered and clearly visible.
Design serving fuel-efficiency
For a haulier, a truck must first and foremost be a centre of profit. In recognition of this, Renault Trucks put all its expertise into ensuring that its trucks would have the lowest fuel consumption possible. Right from the very first sketches made of the cab. This singular feature is entirely new and common to the Long Distance and Construction ranges. It was first of all developed to be as efficient as possible from an aerodynamic point of view. For although it draws on the DNA of the Magnum, with a cab positioned on top of a technical platform, it has benefited from considerable work on its aerodynamic aspects. "From the very first outlines we sketched of the cab, our main concern was to save as much fuel as possible," recalls Hervé Bertrand. "And that's why we went for an inclined windscreen, with an A pillar at 12° and a trapezoid shaped cab, 30 cm wider at the rear, so as to improve its penetration through the air while connecting the vehicle perfectly with the trailer." The cab was then tested in a wind tunnel at a scale of ¼ and then full-size, to validate these choices and fine-tune its design. "We wanted a truck that would be as efficient as the Premium Long Distance and as prestigious as the Magnum," sums up Hervé Bertrand. "And I think I can say we achieved it!" he adds, with satisfaction.
This original design, as well as the attention paid by the Hall of Design teams to the sides of the vehicles, has added a great deal of dynamism to the new ranges. "For example, if you look at the T, from a three quarters front view," explains the director of design, "you get a strong impression of dynamism. This comes from the very taut and highly characteristic lines between the optics and the rear of the cab. But above all, we have eliminated as many vertical lines as possible at the back of the cab and made a break at the top of the rear deflector. This gives a sharper attacking line and a more compact attitude to the truck - which is what also gives this feeling of dynamism."
An interior with two clearly distinct areas
The interior of the new trucks has also been completely revised. The driving area, tightly focused around the driver, is set well apart from the surrounding "L" shaped living area. Like the exterior, the interior has been designed to be simple and functional, without any frills. The dashboard includes a large flat area. This allows the driver to easily put various objects on it and also provides a removable panel on which various accessories, such as screens for checking the body for example, can be fitted without causing any irreparable damage. There are not a great many control buttons, not even on the steering wheel. In fact, there are thumb wheels within hands' reach underneath the steering wheel itself which are used to browse through the various menus on the dashboard display screen. "Every function had to be accessible, simple and easily identifiable," explains Paul Daindree, head of interior design. "We wanted drivers who are not familiar with the vehicle to be able to drive it easily."
The seats have also been very carefully designed to improve their appearance, durability and comfort. They were created in partnership with vehicle seat specialist Recaro®.
As far as the living area is concerned, the colours have been selected with great care: "In the lower part, we chose dark colours that would be resistant to stains and wear," explains Hervé Bertrand. "The higher up you go, the lighter the colours become, giving an impression of space and luminosity." The design for the overhead storage space was also carefully thought out to give the impression of lightness and overall spaciousness. The storage units were designed using a specific type of plastic. This absorbs light better and is more pleasant to the touch than conventional plastic. It contributes to the overall feeling of well-being created within the cab.
Finally, the Hall of Design teams were keen to create a special atmosphere with light on board. For example, when resting, drivers can benefit from soft lighting from spots along the passageway. When driving at night, the lights become red. "It's the only colour that isn't distracting when driving at night," explains Hervé Bertrand. "In fact, it's the colour you find in submarines". Inside the truck, this creates a special atmosphere which drivers should appreciate.
The design of the trucks in the new Renault Trucks range reflects what they are: tools designed for an assignment, to be carried out as efficiently as possible. They don't try to be unobtrusive. They assert their status and the mission they have to accomplish. "We have designed these trucks with the idea of creating pride," concludes Hervé Bertrand. "Pride for those who drive them, pride for those who own them, pride in using an efficient tool for carrying out a mission, transporting goods, which is essential for society."