Renault Trucks tests an extended range 16t electric truck in partnership with Norbert Dentressangle

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Renault Trucks tests an extended range 16t electric truck in partnership with Norbert Dentressangle

Renault Trucks is continuing its research into urban delivery vehicles. The manufacturer is currently carrying out experiments with Norbert Dentressangle into the viability of an electric truck with an autonomy extender. This 16 t vehicle, built around a Midlum chassis, makes it possible to carry out assignments covering 60 km in all-electric mode, while having a total operating range of more than 400 km. The vehicle will be tested between June 2013 and January 2014 in the Paris region on behalf of ThyssenKrupp Materials France. This project is part of the ongoing technological partnership between Renault Trucks, PVI and IFP Énergies nouvelles.

Renault Trucks is testing a 16 t truck running on electricity with an autonomy extender in partnership with Norbert Dentressangle and ThyssenKrupp Materials France, a vehicle resulting from work carried out with IFP Energies nouvelles and PVI.

Transport is a pivotal element in the activities of ThyssenKrupp Materials France, which carries out 500 deliveries a day. It represents a cost centre subject to the pressures imposed by oil prices, European social regulations and various taxes. Saving money - whether in terms of energy or optimising costs - is a key goal in the everyday working of ThyssenKrupp Materials France. "This project seemed to us as an opportunity to prepare for the future. All the more so since our head office is in the Paris region where congestion and pollution are higher," states Jean-Michel Auriac, Senior Vice-President.

For this project, Norbert Dentressangle has once again demonstrated its willingness to be in the forefront of the fight against greenhouse gas emissions and all other types of pollution. Deeply committed to reducing the environmental impact of its activity, the haulier makes trucks one of its core concerns. "The experiments being carried out with this new hybrid vehicle reflect the partnership agreement we have had with the ADEME since 2005," explains Martial Valente, Transport division Purchasing director. "Since road haulage is, and for a long time will remain, the most efficient way of transporting goods, we make a special effort to research all the efficient means possible for reducing the environmental impact made by trucks. Together with Renault Trucks, we are providing unique solutions which will make it possible for us to have a modern means of transport, one that is efficient, safe and environmentally friendly."

The "hybrid series rechargeable" technology used by this vehicle makes it possible to combine considerable autonomy in all-electric mode with an overall operating range of several hundred kilometres in hybrid mode. The vehicle can therefore carry out assignments in "zero emission" zones (generally town centres) and in industrial zones on town outskirts in the same day.

In operational terms, this means that the experimental vehicle has a total operating range of over 400 km, 60 km of which can be in all-electric mode, i.e. emitting no noise, polluting emissions or CO2. It is fitted with electric traction by PVI, using a 103 kW/400 V asynchronous electric motor, Li-Ion batteries packing a total energy of 85 kwh and a Diesel DXi 5 engine combined with a 70 kW generator. This generator will make it possible to produce electricity for recharging the batteries while the vehicle is travelling, thereby ensuring its autonomy while it is on its round. Furthermore, every time it brakes or decelerates, the kinetic energy is recovered by the electric motor and stored in the batteries. These batteries can be recharged in four hours using a 380 V, 64 A three-phase supply.

This Midlum electric with autonomy extender will be operated by Norbert Dentressangle on behalf of ThyssenKrupp Materials France in the Paris region. Offering a payload of 6 t, it will be devoted to carrying steel bars between 3 and 7 m long, or palettes of small format steel, as well as sheet steel between 1 and 3 m long. It will carry out its assignments between 5 AM and 2 PM, covering a daily distance of between 170 and 220 km in the north-west of the lÎle-de-France region supplying some 20 of ThyssenKrupp Materials France's customers.

Thanks to the hybrid management program developed by IFP Energies nouvelles, the Diesel engine will always be operated under optimal conditions in terms of fuel consumption and thus for reducing CO2 emissions. IFP Energies nouvelles has drawn upon its expertise in the fields of control and hybrid powertrains, to produce an energy management calculator and all its calculating functions. These optimise the flow of power around the battery, decide when it is best to start up or shut down the internal combustion engine according to the situation, particularly in urban areas and ensure that the engine operates only under optimal conditions. The main objective is to enable the vehicle to reduce its consumption throughout its entire assignment as well as limit the sound nuisance it generates in urban environments.

Several on-board energy management modes are available and the driver can choose between the two following modes in real-time:

-    Automatic:
This is the default operating mode: the hybrid calculator automatically manages the battery charge by starting and stopping the autonomy extender. It constantly optimises electrical and internal combustion energy management to reduce the overall consumption by as much as possible. To obtain the best combination of the two energies, the hybrid calculator uses the data relating to the delivery round and any "zero emission" zones on the route which will already have been entered into the hybrid calculator.

-    Manual :
The driver can activate the all-electric mode at any time, particularly for deliveries in controlled or "zero emission" areas. In this case, the autonomy extender will not operate as long as there is a minimum amount of energy in the batteries.

A specific display and an additional screen serve as an interface for the driver to monitor and observe the flows of energy.

The results this experiment is expected to produce are as follows:
-    A reduction in CO2 emissions of around 30% compared with an equivalent Diesel vehicle, taking the entire assignment into account
-    A mobility equivalent to that of a Diesel vehicle while making sure energy is still available when the vehicle is stationary
-    A significant improvement in noise levels, corresponding to expectations of those in the vicinity of the vehicle's operations which should allow customer users to extend their timeframe of deliveries to early mornings or during the night.

This unique vehicle is the second experimental vehicle resulting from a close collaboration between Renault Trucks, PVI and IFP Énergies nouvelles. It has been developed as part of the Melodys project supported by the ADEMA demonstration funds. It is part of an experimental program designed to test technologies under real life conditions that have the potential of being applied to production vehicles in the future.

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