What will urban goods transport be like in 2030 or 2040? In an attempt to answer this question, Renault Trucks has developed "Connect". This concept-truck on a 1/25e scale, offers different approaches to designing the urban vehicle of the future. To achieve this, it projects the manufacturer's philosophy of "putting the right truck, with the right energy, in the right place at the right time" into the future.
Currently, Renault Trucks is the manufacturer offering the largest and most innovative range of urban vehicles on the market, particularly its Clean Tech range (electric, hybrid and natural gas). Looking into the future, the manufacturer imagined Connect, its vision of the ideal urban truck.
For this concept, the choice of electric propulsion was a must. On the one hand, because in 2040, access to town centres will be restricted to non-polluting and quiet vehicles, and on the other, because this technology opens up new horizons in vehicle architecture. By placing electric motors in the front wheels and locating the batteries in the chassis, Connect is able to offer a perfectly flat floor. This characteristic enables the access step to be at kerb height, making loading and unloading in the rear or on the sides safer and less tiring for the delivery agent.
Making it even easier to move around, the driver's seat has been placed in a central position. This facilitates getting into and out of the cab on the left or the right as required. The driver even has direct access from the cab to the goods in the rear, eliminating the need to get out of the cab and climb back into the vehicle to reach them. The central position also gives the driver an extremely broad range of vision in front and on the sides. This increases safety both for the driver and other road users, particularly pedestrians. Rear vision is provided by a screen on the dashboard connected to cameras positioned on the rear of the vehicle.
The name Connect has not been chosen by chance. It does of course refer to the possibility of connecting the vehicle to recharge it, but also to its on-board telematics. Already featured on current Renault Trucks vehicles, particularly with Optifuel or the Renault Trucks applications for Smartphones (the HGV dedicated NavTruck navigator, the Time Book virtual driving logbook, etc.), these applications will play an increasingly important role in the future. They will in fact be indispensable and omnipresent, keeping drivers informed of traffic conditions for example, the vehicle's remaining operating range or the nearest recharging point.
Although Connect may be a precursor to the vehicles of the generation after next, it is not at all utopian. Its design is in line with Renault Trucks' overall philosophy of urban goods transport and the solutions it offers are based on elements which, ultimately, could be featured in production models. Implementing these solutions on a mockup is the first step towards testing and developing them in a more concrete fashion. Other solutions, and other concept trucks will add to the various expressions of this philosophy and finally result in future models sold by Renault Trucks. These, as ever, will comply with the manufacturer's stated determination to "put the right truck, with the right energy, in the right place at the right time".