THE FIRST GENERATION OF RENAULT TRUCKS HYBRID VEHICLES COMPLETES ITS MISSION SUCCESSFULLY
Subjected to a test programme under actual operating conditions in Lyon at the beginning of 2009, the Renault Premium Distribution Hybrys Tech has now covered 5,000 km and it is time to examine the results. The vehicle, equipped as a Refuse Collection Vehicle (RCV), was used by the Greater Lyon Authority and SITA (SUEZ Environment) for almost a year. This first test version has allowed Renault Trucks engineers to carry out a number of significant modifications for the "second generation" hybrid vehicle which is currently undergoing tests in Brussels and Lyon. We review this experiment, which has been as conclusive for Renault Trucks as it has been for its customers.
For almost one year, the population of the Lyon conurbation has been able to observe Renault Trucks' hybrid technology undergoing tests. The Renault Premium Distribution Hybrys Tech, operated by SITA (the Suez Group's environmental arm) and the Greater Lyon Authority was put into service at the beginning of 2009 to collect domestic waste in the Lyon area. This experiment, carried out under actual operating conditions, has proved highly instructive. It has allowed this new concept to be validated and a number of technical improvements to be made to this test vehicle, together with a number of new features, prior to its future market launch.
During its 500 hours or more of operational service, the vehicle has covered over 5,000 km and collected 550 tonnes of waste! Several drivers have taken the wheel of the Renault Premium Distribution Hybrys Tech, and once they got used to it, the teams were able to appreciate the comfort offered by the vehicle and its very low noise level, particularly when working in all-electric mode. This aspect was observed as much by drivers as by those living in the streets where it was operating, with everyone very satisfied by the Renault Premium Distribution Hybrys Tech's unobtrusiveness. As far as fuel consumption is concerned, the test vehicle enabled the Greater Lyon Authority and Sita to make savings of between 20% - 25%, which is in line with the project's objectives.
The feedback provided by drivers and bin collectors during the experimental period allowed this new technology to be improved in several ways. For example, the switchover between electrical and internal combustion power modes was made smoother by installing new software. Cold start performance was improved to make sure that the vehicle remained operational, even at low temperatures (-15°C). Sound emissions were also further improved, particularly auxiliary systems such as the power steering, now much quieter since it has been electrified. Furthermore, the wheelbases have been shortened, to make it easier for the vehicle to operate in narrow streets and heavy urban traffic.
Based on a Renault Premium Distribution in a 6x2*4 configuration, this first hybrid vehicle, fitted with a refuse collection body specially designed by Faun, has a DXi7 Euro V 320 hp engine, combined with an electrical motor offering a nominal power rating of 70 kW and a peak of 120 kW.
Renault Trucks has therefore been able to draw useful benefits from this successful experiment. Aware of the advantages offered by hybrid technology, the manufacturer is continuing to improve its solution. Other versions of the Renault Premium Distribution Hybrys Tech are still undergoing tests in 2010, with Coca-Cola Enterprises Belgium in Brussels and Colas in Lyon. Renault Trucks' aim is for these programmes to firmly establish its reputation as the benchmark for commercial vehicles with high environmental credentials for use in urban distribution applications.