Reducing consumption and investing in the future

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Reducing consumption and investing in the future

The vast majority of trucks in the world run on Diesel, a fuel which, for the time being, remains the most cost-effective. However, in a society increasingly concerned by environmental issues and in which Diesel is becoming increasingly scarce and more expensive, the road haulage industry understands that it must reduce its carbon footprint. Renault Trucks has been striving to help hauliers achieve this goal for many years by implementing a comprehensive strategy aimed at reducing its trucks' fuel consumption and also offering a full range of vehicles using alternative energies.

At present, the vast majority of trucks in the world run on Diesel. But this fuel, which currently offers the best energy yield, is becoming scarcer and more and more expensive. For several years, Renault Trucks has been developing technological tools and services to reduce its vehicles' fuel consumption and thereby help its customers cut their operating costs. Since 1975, trucks' fuel consumption has dropped by some 40%. Renault Trucks believes that it is possible to reduce this even further over the next few years.

To reach this goal, vehicles must become more efficient, but also training drivers must be a priority and the use of on-board IT solutions made more widespread. This is why, to obtain tangible and significant long-term results, Renault Trucks recommends hauliers to adopt a global approach to their fuel saving strategy. For Renault Trucks, cutting consumption should be approached from four key angles: correctly configuring the trucks, correctly training drivers, measuring and analysing consumption over a long period and reducing consumption throughout the vehicles' entire operating lives.

Cutting consumption was a key element in the design and development of the new range. From the outset, cabs for the Long Distance and Construction ranges were designed with the aim of featuring the best possible aerodynamics. During the development phase they were subjected to stringent tests in a wind tunnel. Similarly, the new Euro VI engines were also developed with the aim of making fuel consumption as low as possible.

But Renault Trucks goes even further by choosing to offer its customers a range of tried and tested vehicles running on alternative energies defined according to application. These modes of propulsion are now reliable and totally satisfy the customers who have chosen to adopt them.

Electrical energy is well suited for use in town centres and for so-called "last kilometre" deliveries. During the last two years, Renault Trucks has been offering an all-electric GVW 4.5 t Maxity with an operating range of 100 km that generates no noise nuisance. Still in an ongoing development stage, this vehicle will soon be combined with bodywork that is also entirely powered by electricity and could even be equipped with electrical PTO's.

Hybrid technology, which combines an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, offers a greater operating range. It is suited to urban and periurban distribution activities involving longer distances. For the past two years, Renault Trucks has been combining them on the Renault Premium Distribution, available in 19 t and 26 t configurations.

The Premium Distribution is also available in a natural gas (CNG) version. This energy offers the advantage of generating less noise than Diesel and results in no smoke or particulates being emitted into the atmosphere. Available since 1996, this was the first of the three solutions to be made available. To date, there are some 500 Premium Distribution CNG vehicles currently in operation.

In the future, Renault Trucks will be focusing its research and development on further improving Diesel vehicles as well as on developing alternative energies.

For vehicles running on Diesel, the Optifuel Lab research vehicle, unveiled in 2009, offers an opportunity to appreciate the various solutions that have been developed to reduce overall consumption for the tractor and its trailer. Optifuel Lab has benefited from considerable research into aerodynamics and rolling resistance, featuring several different technologies to reduce consumption by improving powertrain efficiency or by limiting the operation of certain components when they are not absolutely necessary.

This work on aerodynamics has been extended by the CX/03 industrial design project, presented in September 2012. Its cab is distinguished by a windscreen with a 12° incline to improve penetration through the air and thereby reduce consumption. This same angle of incline will also be found on the new range of Renault Trucks.

Furthermore, via the development of technologies such as the exhaust energy recovery system based on the Rankine cycle, Renault Trucks is studying the possibility of recovering some of the energy generated by vehicles to reduce their consumption.

Finally, the development of tools serving drivers to limit their consumption via, for example, intelligent driving aids, is a source for future additional fuel savings which should not be neglected.

As far as the use of alternative energies is concerned, Renault Trucks is continuing its research. It is currently carrying out experiments on the use of electrical energy for higher tonnages. For example, this is the case in Switzerland and France where all-electric Midlums of 13 and 16 t are being used under actual operating conditions for Nestlé and Carrefour.

When it comes to long-distance haulage, for Renault Trucks, the only alternative to Diesel is liquefied natural gas or LNG. For when gas is liquefied, its volume is diminished, meaning that larger quantities can be carried in the truck than with compressed gas, making it possible to obtain operating ranges compatible with long-distance vehicles carrying out interregional transport assignments.

Energy is a major challenge for the road haulage industry. To meet it, Renault Trucks offers its customers a whole range of tangible and efficient tools and services as well as a reliable range of vehicles adapted to each type of application using alternative energies. Furthermore, it invests in research and development so as to extend its offering in this area and further improve existing solutions. The development of its new range offers the greatest proof of its commitments in this respect: for despite the additional constraints imposed by the soon-to-be-introduced Euro VI standard, the new vehicles will have lower fuel consumption than current models.

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