Renault Trucks is starting series production of the D Z.E. and D Wide Z.E. electric models at its Blainville-sur-Orne plant in Normandy this month. The plant has been expanded to accommodate the assembly of the electric delivery trucks.
The manufacturer, which is independent of Renault Passenger Cars, had already presented the electric trucks in June 2018. The Blainville-sur-Orne plant specialises in medium-duty distribution trucks – the 16-tonne D Z.E. and 26-tonne D Wide Z.E. models fall into precisely this category. Originally, the start of production had been announced for the second half of 2019 – Renault Trucks has not given reasons for the delay.
In essence, the two electric Renault trucks will be assembled on the same assembly line as the equivalent diesel vehicles – with two exceptions. A special “Z.E. building” was erected in the immediate vicinity of the final assembly line. In the 1,800 square metre multi-purpose building, not only will some assembly work be carried out, but also, for example, the batteries will be stored in a temperature-controlled area. The assembly of the electric trucks starts in the Z.E. building, where trained employees install the drive, motor, gearbox and electronics.
Afterwards, the two electric vehicle models undergo the same final assembly as the diesel variants – for example, the body and the cab. Then the electric trucks are returned to the Z.E. building for some electro-specific work and quality control. A total of 50 working hours are required to produce an electric truck.
Renault Trucks expects electric vehicles to account for ten per cent of its own sales volume by 2025. At Renault Trucks, the ownership structure is also partly responsible for the electrification offensive: the company belongs to the commercial vehicle manufacturer Volvo Group, which is also independent of the Volvo Car Cooperation. A common feature with Volvo Passenger Cars is that the Chinese Geely Group is also in charge of the commercial vehicle manufacturer (including trucks, buses, construction machinery and boat engines). Geely is regarded as the driver of electric mobility, and Volvo Trucks has also presented several e-models. Now the French subsidiary is also following suit.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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