Over 80% of goods are freighted by trucks in Europe. Without trucks, hospitals would be left without medicines, shops without goods and so on. Considerable progress has been made over the last 20 years in terms of environmental impact and safety, but the public is all too often unaware of the fact. Renault Trucks has played its part in this evolutionary process, developing efficient, safe vehicles that pollute less and less. By continuing its efforts and highlighting the road haulier's primer role, the French manufacturer is bent on helping restore the profession's nobel status.
There are many misconceptions about trucks
The facts speak for themselves:
- Over 80% of goods are freighted by truck in Europe. On average, 101 kg of goods, 89 of them carried by trucks, are necessary for each member of the French population every day, thus demonstrating the crucial role played by road transport in the present-day economy and the services performed for the whole community in everyday life. Without road transport, there would be no economic growth or prosperity. It provides the flexible, effective transport of which society will be in constantly increasing need.
- In environmental terms, the European regulations that entered into force in 1990 require manufacturers to achieve regular cuts in engines’ atmospheric pollutant emission levels (nitrous oxides, particles, unburnt hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide). Regulations are rapidly being updated and Renault Trucks is currently preparing for the next deadline in 2013 (when Euro VI standards come into force). As a result of these regulations, polluting emissions have dropped by 70% - 90% in 20 years. Furthermore, in some countries (particularly Germany and the Netherlands), there is now the Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle (EEV) qualification. This is an environmental standard with even more stringent limits on emissions than the Euro V standard. Finally, it should be noted that, in worldwide terms, carbon dioxide emissions associated with human activity account for 5% of the total. And among these anthropic CO2 emissions, road transport accounts for 18%, of which 5% are generated by trucks and 10% by cars.
- The truck is no slouch on the safety side either! HGV’s involvement in accidents were 9 times lower in France between 1980 and 2009, whereas the distances covered have constantly been on the increase.
Renault Trucks: providing hauliers with the tools they need
Although manufacturers have risen to these major societal challenges, trucks nevertheless remain working implements. Renault Trucks, a longstanding French truck manufacturer, has always responded to the needs of its haulier customers and their customers in turn, and it has done so whether operating in the health, emergency rescue, safety, food, building or other sectors.
For instance, Renault Trucks revolutionised truck architecture with the Magnum in 1991 by placing driver comfort, a neglected factor at the time, at the centre of its concerns, thus enabling the driver to focus his whole attention on the road and its other users.
At present, Renault Trucks is still ahead of the field with Premium Optifuel, a long-distance tractor fitted with all the fuel-saving options, combined with instruction in rational driving and a software programme to monitor consumption and analyse each driver’s style. Comparative tests under actual operating conditions between a standard equivalent vehicle and the Premium Optifuel have revealed that the latter consumes 6.4% less fuel, a result certified by the TüV, an independent German certification organisation.
The future offers fresh possibilities for further reducing consumption, and as part of its research programme, Renault Trucks has developed the Optifuel Lab laboratory vehicle which proves that consumption can be cut by as much as 13% provided, among other things, that the whole tractor-trailer rig’s aerodynamics are thoroughly redesigned.
With this overall approach, Renault Trucks is in the forefront of a general trend – towards safer trucks carrying more on every trip and consuming less and less fuel.
With its awareness of the truck’s impact on the environment and the nuisance it can cause at times, Renault Trucks is seeking solutions to steadily reduce both. It has already developed several and will be developing more wherever they are reasonably feasible. These alternative solutions to all-diesel are now covered by the Clean Tech label, represented by a number of vehicles running on electricity or gas, as well has an experiment in hybrid technology currently underway in Brussels and Lyon. These are intelligent vehicles operating in an urban environment as part of a co-ordinated transport system with trucks that consume less and less and whose greenhouse gas and pollutant discharges have been considerably reduced. Renault Trucks is out to achieve the best combination of the fuels and technologies currently available to deliver tangible results in the short term.
The wider public tends to forget the good that trucks do and the services they perform, only seeing the nuisance they cause and dreaming of a truck-free world. This is undoubtedly an attractive idea, but it is a dream that might turn into a nightmare: supermarket shelves emptying, hospitals left without medicines, the fire brigade failing to turn out, petrol pumps running dry, orders placed on-line not arriving on the purchaser’s doorstep, stocks piling up and the economy in chaos.
Renault Trucks working hand-in-hand with the road haulage industry
HGVs, their drivers, hauliers and the whole road transport industry are currently demonised and rejected, in Europe in particular. In the face of these attacks, Renault Trucks has sided resolutely with the hauliers, backing their stances and bringing society face to face with its contradictions. For the record:
- during the Pollutec fair in Lyon (France), in 2006, Renault Trucks resolutely opened the public’s eyes to the mirage of a truck-free society. The manufacturer put paid to a number of preconceptions: trucks pollute less than people imagine and are safer than people believe.
- in 2008, Renault Trucks shared its vision of a reorganisation of city transport that would streamline it while at the same time further cutting its impact on the environment: placing the right truck, with the right fuel, in the right place.
- in 2009, a meeting at the CCFA (the French Automobile Manufacturers Committee) allowed Stefano Chmielewski, CEO of Renault Trucks, to remind everyone of “the good work done by goods vehicles”. Therefore, as interest in multi-modal transport grows, Renault Trucks is striving not to make the biggest vehicles, but those that do the “most good”.
- The latest event is the 2010 communications campaign, in which Renault Trucks clearly states its conviction: the world cannot operate without trucks, for if we did not have them, society would be unable to survive.
From now on, this is the truth that Renault Trucks will be putting out to everyone – demonstrating how it intends to fully play its role as a truck manufacturer serving its customers, drivers and society as a whole.
Renault Trucks is proud of the mission that hauliers perform, which is crucial to the smooth running of society. Because Renault trucks have always been there with a full range of vehicles and always will be there, the manufacturer unconditionally defends road haulage. These freight specialists and everyone who uses trucks to do their job for society must become proud of their profession again, for they are crucial to its smooth operation.
Renault Trucks pledges to give hauliers the best tools, so that they can deliver increasingly professional standards, be better perceived, accepted and appreciated by society.
This stance, which Renault Trucks adopted several years ago, now translates into a new brand slogan: Renault Trucks Deliver. The Hanover IAA show is the first international opportunity for the company to present this claim – which is in fact more a state of mind!
The truck: combating preconceptions
- Nowadays, the combined noise of 25 HGVs is less than that made by a single vehicle built in 1980.
- Since 1960, trucks’ acoustic impact on the environment has been divided by 12.
- Since 1990, with HGV traffic in Europe up by 40%, polluting emissions have dropped by 50% (a reduction which will reach 80% in 2013 when the full effect of the EURO IV and EURO V standards is felt).
- Trucks produce 5% of the total anthropic carbon dioxide emissions in the world, in contrast with the 10% produced by private cars.
- Between 1997 and 2008, the number of road accidents resulting in injury involving heavy goods vehicles was reduced by almost 50% .
- In 2008, trucks only accounted for 3.2 % of all vehicles involved in accidents causing injury, and only 7 % of total traffic. For cars, these two figures are 60.7% and 71% respectively.
- HGV involvement in accidents (number of accidents per thousand kilometres travelled) is almost 9 times lower than it was in 1980, and remains proportionately very much lower than those involving cars.
- An HGV consumes 30 L per 100 km less to carry an equivalent load than that carried by 40 private cars.
- Since 1960, although power ratings have tripled, on average, HGVs consumption has been halved.
- Urban goods transport accounts for 20% of vehicles on the road in major European cities (30% in the Paris region).
- For their own personal needs in consumer goods, building and waste collection, every inhabitant of the Ile-de-France region generates 22 tons of goods a year.
- Carrying more goods in a single load (similar to the model adopted for public transport to and from city centres) brings distinct advantages: to carry 6 tonnes of goods, a single, medium tonnage vehicle can replace 12 light commercial vehicles. This means that the ground space taken up by trucks can be divided by 3, noise levels by 6, CO2 emissions by 4 and energy consumption by 3.5.