One year ago, Renault Trucks presented the keys for the first Renault Maxity Electric to the Parisian beverage distributor Tafanel. Operated on a daily basis under actual operating conditions like any other truck, the all-electric, "zero emission" and "zero noise" Maxity can be proud of a very positive appraisal. Surprising Parisians by its silent operation, it has been greatly praised by Tafanel's drivers, and even by the company's customers!
Committed to a policy of clean transport for many years, Tafanel was the first company to be presented with the keys for a Maxity Electric. Since May 2010 the all-electric Renault Trucks vehicle that produces neither any CO2 nor any polluting emissions, has been used under actual operating conditions. "It performs exactly the same functions as its internal combustion engine predecessor," stresses Xavier Thillaye, the director of the Tafanel site. Just like the other internal combustion engine driven Maxity vehicles that carry out the distributor's deliveries, the Maxity Electric operates for six hours every day: "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.
Often the subject of questions when electrically-driven vehicles are being talked about, operating range is in fact much less of a problem in actual use: "Provided you know your area well, operating range causes no problems," judges Xavier Thillaye. Mr. Lessaigle agrees, saying: "At the beginning, I was a little apprehensive about the battery capacity, but as time went by, experience proved this to be completely unfounded. Which is fortunate, because as far as my customers are concerned, I can't afford to run out of power!"
After operating the vehicle for one year, Xavier Thillaye is very favourably impressed. "It's true that this solution calls for a bigger investment, but it has to be seen in perspective," he assesses. "Because maintenance costs are low and, of course, it consumes no fuel. What's more, it has not caused us any particular problems." Apart from the purely economic aspects, Tafanel's decision to purchase the first Maxity Electric created a very good impression on its customers: "They found it innovative and looking towards the future," he explains. A feeling shared by the company workforce: "We really felt a genuine sense of enthusiasm among the staff and a certain pride associated with this vehicle," concludes the director.
Renault Maxity Electric is a vehicle which produces no atmosphere-polluting emissions or CO2 and generates no noise. It retains all its intrinsic qualities (mobility, easy body mounting, 2 tonne total payload, etc.), while at the same time significantly improving its environmental credentials. Fitted with a robotised gearbox and latest generation lithium-ion batteries, it has a top speed of 90 km/h with maximum torque available from start-up. However, to optimise battery performance, and in view of the assignments this type of vehicle carries out, customers may choose to limit its speed to 70 km/h when operating in urban environments. The optimisation of the electric motor, as well as the recovery of energy from braking, gives the vehicle an operating range of almost 100 km (for "dry product transport" applications). Despite having a GVW of 4.5 t, this vehicle can be driven in France with a regular driving licence due to an administrative dispensation. Apart from having fewer restrictions on its use, this means nothing is lost in terms of payload, the Renault Maxity Electric's strongest advantage.