Renault Trucks says it is ready to launch an all-electric range next year, after testing had commenced with partners over ten years. It is thus not only one truck but a whole line of utility vehicles the French are gearing up for. A dedicated production line in the Normandy will start rolling by 2019.
Renault has been making electric vehicles early on and its utility vehicle business did not stand apart. Renault Trucks has been experimenting with electric mobility since 2009 through extensive field testing with customers.
Real-world tests with various prototypes of full-electric 12-16 tonne trucks saw renown clients such as Speed Distribution for Guerlain, Stef for Carrefour, Nestlé and the Delanchy Group take part. Renault Trucks says these clients have provided “vital information on conditions of use, battery behaviour, recharging facilities and maintenance requirements for electric trucks.”
Renault also named Volvo for its “impressive R&D resources” so that the French were able to benefit from tried and tested technology and synergies from other all-electric vehicle development such as buses.
Hence, Renault Trucks is now in a position to market a cost-effective range of vehicles in 2019. The upcoming production trucks are designed for use in urban and peri-urban areas and will be produced at the Renault Trucks plant at Blainville-sur-Orne in Normandy.
2019 appears to become the year when heavy duty vehicles will move on from diesel and into electric terrain. Not only Volvo Trucks reportedly wants to launch its first battery-electric semi that year. Tesla wants to start production the same year. And so does Nikola Motors. The startup announced only today that it plans to construct a factory to build its fuel cell truck by 2019.
And then there is Daimler that has just delivered the first Fuso sCanter to clients in Europe and the States. While it is a medium duty van, the company is also looking to expand their electric endeavours, however, potentially on hydrogen too.
Ola Kaellenius, Daimler board member in charge of R&D deemed fuel cells an “interesting technology for the future,” especially for larger vehicles in an interview with Autonews today.
Daimler is not alone in considering fuel cells to power larger vehicles such as trucks and buses. Toyota is working on hydrogen applications in the medium and heavy duty sector already and is running trials (we reported).
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