Since the keys to the first Maxity all-electric were presented to beverage distributor Tafanel in 2010, over 20 Maxity Electrics have been put into service by Renault Trucks. And now, this electrically powered 4.5 ton truck, which can be driven with a regular driving licence, has already covered a total of over 100,000 km and won't stop there! Its reliability, together with the success it enjoys with drivers, hauliers and their customers, indicates that Renault Trucks has made the right decision by deciding to develop this technology.
The Maxity Electric, the first all-electric small truck developed by Renault Trucks and launched in 2010, has just clocked up a total of 100,000 km. With some 20 of these vehicles currently on the road, overall feedback from customers has been very positive.
These include Nicolas Morisse, managing director of Greenway Services, who states: "With its high payload, size, operating range and productivity, the Maxity Electric consistently demonstrates that it is the best vehicle currently available on the market, one which gives our customers services in every way comparable with those of a conventional carrier." His company operates 10 Maxity Electrics in the streets of Paris. For this young company specialised in added value deliveries using electrical vehicles, the Maxity Electric offers real leverage for growth. "This vehicle allows us to promise our customers deliveries that are totally CO2 free - an argument which they find very compelling", he concludes.
There is the same reaction from other Renault Trucks customers who have backed the electric solution. "It's perfect for Paris!" declares François Ghiotti, the director of GF Service. His company has been operating a Maxity Electric in the very heart of Paris for several months, delivering to prestigious customers in the 8th district. "Its manoeuvrability, payload and compact dimensions make this truck perfect for weaving its way through the dense traffic," he explains. "What's more, as it is so amazingly quiet, we're considering making the most of this to do night time deliveries which will give an even greater boost to our efficiency."
Reliable and efficient technology
For Luc Pelletier, director of Logistics and general resources at JM Bruneau, a company specialised in the sale of office equipment and supplies, opting for electrically-powered vehicles should not be at the expense of what matters most - customer satisfaction. In his view, "Our Maxity Electric fulfils its role like all our other vehicles," he insists. "It delivers to our customers on time. That being said, the technology chosen by Renault Trucks for the batteries is particularly efficient. Not only does it give us perfect security, it’s also efficient!"
The Maxity Electric is fitted with an asynchronous electric motor requiring little maintenance compared with an internal combustion engine at a similar power rating. It is supplied by latest generation lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged in eight hours at a cost of around two Euros an hour. To date, the batteries, which have so far been trouble-free, are designed to give the Maxity Electric an operating range of around 100 km on a full charge.
Treated in the same way as the company's conventional vehicles, the JM Bruneau Maxity Electric has to travel about 80 km on each round and have enough spare energy to handle the gentle climb back to its depot. Luc Pelletier points out that his drivers, "Worked in close collaboration with Renault Trucks to optimise their driving, route and rounds." The director of this company which has been committed to a sustainable development policy for several years adds, "After having covered 5,000 km, our Maxity Electric has now found its cruising speed."
The Greater Lyon Authority was presented with the keys to its Maxity Electric in November 2010 and decided to continue operating the small electric truck well after the test had finished. Its vehicle now has 15,000 km on the clock, and has therefore decisively established Renault Trucks' all-electric technology in an urban environment.
A path to growth
It can happen that the Maxity Electric also helps hauliers win new markets. This was the case for Transports Rivals, a firm operating in the south-west of France since 1965. This carrier wanted to gain access to the historic centre of Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage town, and supply the town's shops using a Maxity Electric. The aim was to improve the efficiency of this type of delivery to win new markets with the Albi municipal authority or the urban community who are particularly keen to put a cap on sound levels and polluting emissions.
To date, the Transports Rivals' Maxity Electric has covered over 5,000 km. "We have been very impressed by the technology's efficiency," explains Eric Rivals, the company managing director. "Our main priority when we chose the Maxity Electric was to have an efficient working tool. And as far as productivity is concerned, we have not seen any difference between it and our internal combustion engine powered vehicles."
Greenway Services is already convinced of the potential offered by developing the Maxity Electric. "100,000 kilometres with the Maxity Electric?" asks Nicolas Morisse, "We’re well on the way to doing that ourselves by the end of the year with our fleet of Maxity Electrics!" The efficiency of the Greenway Services concept, which has fulfilled its ambition to totally amortise the extra cost associated with using this new technology to serve the Yves Rocher Group, has also won over decision-makers at L’Occitane en Provence, another beauty product chain keen to adopt a sustainable development approach. They are currently testing one of the carrier's Maxity Electrics on deliveries to its stores in Paris. Ultimately, a fleet of several Maxity Electrics will be devoted to serving them.
A vehicle that cannot go unnoticed
Having been committed to a policy of clean transport for several years, beverage distributor Tafanel was the first company to be presented with keys to a Maxity Electric. "The most significant difference from the vehicle with an internal combustion engine is the silence," explains Mr. Lessaigle, the driver assigned to the Maxity Electric. "It makes my work much more restful!" And amid all the hubbub of the capital, it is indeed the silence which attracts the attention of cyclists and pedestrians: "They often ask me if the truck really is electrically powered!" says the driver with a smile. The customers show a great deal of interest as well, but with more pragmatic questions concerning issues such as the payload or the battery capacity.
Apart from the purely economic aspects of this approach, Tafanel’s decision to purchase the first Maxity Electric got a very positive reaction from its customers: "They thought it was innovative and forward looking," explains Xavier Thillaye, the Tafanel site manager. A feeling shared by the company's workforce: "There was a real current of enthusiasm among the staff and a certain pride associated with this vehicle," the manager concludes.
Ideal for inner city centres
With its 2 t load capacity and compact dimensions, the Maxity Electric has the same intrinsic qualities as its Diesel equivalent, recognised for its efficiency in town environments. The all-electric motor produces neither atmospheric polluting emissions, nor any CO2 and also has the advantage of reaching its maximum torque at start-up. This makes it a particularly pleasant vehicle to drive, even in narrow and congested inner city streets.
Opening the way to new applications and markets
Two years after its launch, after having been operated by owner drivers, parcels services, local authorities and even used as a travelling library, the Maxity Electric has clearly demonstrated its versatility and reliability for many urban applications.
The manufacturer is also aiming at new markets, and is getting ready to launch the sale of its small all-electric truck in Spain and the Benelux countries.