Today, more than eight out of ten Europeans live in towns. Their needs to be delivered in a timely fashion as consumers are just as important as their demands for better quality of life as citizens. Trucks, crucial to life in towns, are at the heart of this dichotomy. As a manufacturer, Renault Trucks offers the broadest possible range, matching vehicle and mission as closely as possible. It also has a range of Clean Tech vehicles, using alternative energies (electric, hybrid, and natural gas). But the firm is now going beyond its straightforward role as a manufacturer by developing new communication tools for drivers. Indeed, with their smartphones, truck drivers will be at the heart of urban logistics of the future. Renault Trucks is already experimenting with this future by partnering different projects, seeking to improve delivery of merchandise in towns. In short, Renault Trucks is working to get the right truck at the right place with the right energy at the right time for the benefit of its customers, drivers and all citizens.
The challenges of merchandise transport in towns
Today’s town are home to 60% of the planet’s inhabitants. In Europe, this proportion is as high as 80%. In this environment, trucks are just as crucial as elsewhere, delivering merchandise to companies and homes, maintaining our roads or collecting household waste: towns could not survive without trucks. But with increasingly limited – and therefore costly – space, heavier traffic and citizens’ ever-more stringent environmental requirements, road merchandise transport has to find solutions to reduce pollution, noise and congestion, and increase safety.
The right truck with the right energy in the right place …
Given these challenges as a manufacturer, Renault Trucks believes first of all that it is crucial to have a truck which is perfectly suited to the mission for which it is intended. In order to do this, the manufacturer has developed a comprehensive, varied range of urban vehicles which meet all transporters’ needs, but also those of professionals using trucks in towns (local authorities for road maintenance and collecting household waste, and the self-employed).
With Master (traction and propulsion), Maxity, Midlum, Premium Distribution and Access, Renault Trucks covers all the needs of its customers, from 2.8 to 26 tons. All these vehicles are equipped with optimised powertrains to reduce consumption, and some with robotised gearboxes. And, with its network of over 1,500 sales and service outlets throughout the world, almost 100 Fast&Pro workshops, entirely dedicated to sale and maintenance of like commercial vehicles and a highly skilled workforce, Renault Trucks is helping customers to optimise the maintenance of their vehicles at the best possible price. A well-maintained truck also means lower costs and less pollution.
Furthermore, for several years now, in order to meet the particular demands of urban driving, Renault Trucks has been developing alternative solutions to diesel. These are sold under the Clean Tech label, showcasing vehicles using electricity with the Maxity Electric, hybrid vehicles with the Premium Distribution Hybrys Tech, and finally vehicles using natural gas with Premium Distribution GNV. The latter has been on the market for over 10 years. For electric and hybrid vehicles, after different experimental phases and successful tests with customers between 2008 and 2011 under real-life operating conditions, Renault Trucks has just officially launched. At the same time, the manufacturer has adopted a Clean Tech label approach for its network. Such vehicles require specific tools and skills that Renault Trucks delivers to its teams so as to ensure faultless after-sales service to Clean Tech customers. The benefits of this type of energy are increasing by the day, and early customer feedback is extremely positive. Renault Trucks’ customers’ customers are happy too, encouraging the manufacturer to continue down this road.
…and at the right time
When stuck in a traffic jam, even the best truck in the world cannot fulfil its mission. And this is why Renault Trucks intends to go further in its role as a responsible manufacturer. Since the beginning of 2011, the firm has developed different smartphone applications to make truck drivers’ work easier and help them in their day to day missions.
The first was NavTruck. This is a special satnav for trucks available on iPhone which calculates the route requested according to truck characteristics and local regulations. Using this application, trucks no longer get stuck and no longer cause jams for other users in case of errors or poor signposting. Other applications such as Deliver Eye and Selected For You have been developed, and more are in the pipe...
Renault Trucks’ experience in this field has encouraged the manufacturer to commit to the implementation of innovative solutions to optimise urban transport of merchandise. Renault Trucks is partner of the Optimod’Lyon project, whose purpose is to study how a city can collect, process, and send out transport flow data to road users’ mobile phones. This means, for example, giving very short term real-time information and traffic forecasts for better traffic fluidity.
Renault Trucks is also a partner of the European Freilot project, and has been since its launch in March 2011. The project will be experimenting through to March 2012 in four European towns (Bilbao, Helmond, Cracow and Lyon) for the practical implementation of different solutions to improve delivery of merchandise in towns. One of them involves spotting the truck as it arrives at a red light and giving it priority by automatically switching the light to green. Thus, the truck no longer has to stop and restart. Benefits in terms of reduced consumption and traffic fluidity are substantial.
Finally, for urban logistics, it is also possible to find the “right time”, thanks to night deliveries. Night delivery offers the big advantage of practically no traffic, thereby limiting consumption, driver stress, and time wastage. But it means trucks need to be as quiet as possible. Here again, Renault Trucks is involved in a project to replace conventional refrigeration units with new cryogenics technolohttp://corporate.renault-trucks.com/cafecentral/node.php?pagetype=form&pageobjet=article&articleid=977gy. Using liquid nitrogen has resulted in the development of a totally silent refrigeration system. Combined with hybrid vehicles, this new technology is particularly attractive. The first vehicle equipped is Premium Distribution Hybrys Tech, which will be on the roads as of October 6 in Lille with Geodis BM Group for deliveries to Carrefour stores.
Faced with the challenges of urban merchandise transport, Renault Trucks is seeking global solutions. First of all by offering its customers an urban range based on optimised thermal vehicles which perform to the highest specification and consume the least possible fuel, and also with its Clean Tech range with its alternative energy solutions meeting the environmental challenges of today.
Renault Trucks also intends to go further than required by its role as manufacturer by supplying smartphone tools to drivers and, alongside other road transport stakeholders, contributing to experimental projects to enhance urban transport of merchandise.
In short, Renault Trucks is looking to get the right truck with the right energy in the right place at the right time.
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