It is now more than six years since the first sketches for the new Renault Trucks range were made by the Renault Trucks Halle du Design teams led by Hervé Bertrand. Now, only a few weeks from the final presentation, he tells us about the origins of this new range dedicated to efficiency.
Although the design of the new Renault Trucks range was finalised three years ago, the first sketches go back to 2006. At the very beginning, design director Hervé Bertrand and his teams thought of drawing inspiration from the world of automobiles. "But we weren't happy with the result," he explains today. "Car production works on much shorter cycles, probably too short in fact. We wanted a design that would be timeless and wouldn't go out of fashion." This realisation soon led to designers feeling that the notion of a tool was what mattered most. For after all, what is a truck if it isn't a tool that hauliers use to carry out their assignments as efficiently as possible? "In former times, craftsman were defined by the tools they used," observes Hervé Bertrand. "These were the tools that enabled them to do their work properly. First and foremost, they were functional, but they also looked good and were highly valued. It was this kind of idea that we wanted to connect with by creating the new Renault Trucks range: offering our customers vehicles seen to be efficient tools which allow them to fulfil their mission with a maximum amount of pride."
The teams then drew inspiration from a number of different industries or products which symbolise this notion of tools and efficiency. These included, for example, the Leica® camera. Acknowledged by professionals for its efficiency, its design is however minimalist and has no other purpose than to be functional and facilitate the taking of good photos. Another example is the legendary Opinel® knife with its very simple design which simply reflects the object's function while at the same time making it beautiful.
The designers also drew their inspiration from the world of motorbikes, particularly those from the 50s: "On these bikes, the chassis and fuel tanks were clearly visible and designed to fulfil their purpose," adds Hervé Bertrand. "They had a language that could be used by the world of trucks. And in fact, there are elements from it in the final design."
In the world of trucks, when you talk about efficiency, the notion of saving fuel can’t be far away. The pioneer and leader in the field with its Premium Long Distance and Optifuel Solutions, Renault Trucks aims to remain in front when Euro VI becomes compulsory. This is why, in the specifications issued to designers for this new range, consumption was of prime importance. "Designing a truck to be a tool that delivers maximum efficiency means, in terms of design, having a cab with the best possible Cx (aerodynamic drag coefficient) performance," explains Hervé Bertrand. The Renault Trucks specific "white body" was therefore designed with this as the objective from the outset. The designers chose to incline the windscreen and give what they call “pillar A” an angle of 12° to improve its penetration through the air. The ridges on the side of the cab as well as the profiled headlights also contribute to keeping consumption in check. All these options were subsequently validated or invalidated by carrying out tests in the wind tunnel. "We wanted a truck that would be as efficient as the Premium Long Distance and as prestigious as the Magnum," concludes Hervé Bertrand. "And I think I can safely say that we have succeeded!" he adds with satisfaction.
The cab interior layout has been entirely redesigned, separating it into two distinct areas: the first of these is devoted to driving, with the second reserved for rest and relaxation. It should be borne in mind that actual driving only takes up half of the time drivers spend in their trucks. During the remainder, they sleep, eat, drink or make phone calls! Consistent with the exterior design, made to last, the interior fittings have been created with the same goal in view: "Since drivers spend a great deal of time on board their trucks, it was important for us to offer them interior fittings in colours they wouldn't get tired of," explains the design director. "We therefore chose shades of black and grey which do not tire the eyes and we have created an interior atmosphere using LED lighting that is quite unprecedented in the world of trucks."
The design of the trucks in Renault Trucks' new range reflects exactly what they are: tools for carrying out a task as efficiently as possible. They make no attempt to hide it, fully assuming their status and the purpose for which they were built. "We have designed these trucks with the idea of generating pride," concludes Hervé Bertrand. "Pride for those who drive them, pride for those who own them and pride in having an efficient tool to carry out a task, the transport of goods, which is of vital importance to society."