Warehouse & Logistics News, last spoke to Carlos Rodrigues, Managing Director of Renault Trucks UK & Ireland, in July last year. We recently caught up with Carlos, to find out what’s been happening at Renault Trucks in the last 12 months.
Bring us up to date with the latest developments at Renault Trucks?
We’re on a strategic journey with our dealer network, we’re currently in the second year of a four year plan and we’re making good progress, but understandably this year has posed the most unpredictable of challenges. We are focused on delivery consistency of customer experience throughout our dealer network, and thanks to our Driving Quality Performance programme we have made significant improvements over the past two years. Customers consistently rate us at the top for quality and for service levels. And through our ambitious demonstrator and Ready for Business programmes, we are ensuring that more operators become familiar with our brand, our product range and our commitment to excellence.
COVID-19 has brought additional challenges, and we are working to a ‘new normal’ to deliver the best levels of service whilst ensuring the health and safety of our people, our colleagues and our customers is the priority. We are committed to helping our customers through these challenging times by providing much needed flexibility for ongoing business continuity. We’ve also been working closely with Renault Trucks Financial Services to bring a range of innovative offers to support the industry including ‘Drive now, pay later’, a Used Truck payment holiday and an innovative ‘Pay Per Use’ scheme.
Electromobiltiy is a growing priority on the customer’s agenda and Renault Trucks is uniquely positioned in the market with a fully electric offer from 3.1t to 26t, real production models available today that meet the needs of tomorrow.
What new trucks are you offering for 2020?
Our 2020 Model Year Trucks are fitted with Euro 6 Step D engines, which are both fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, delivering a 3% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared with the previous generation in our long haul range. For maximum productivity, we also offer our Fuel Eco Packs which include a range of technical improvements for fuel efficiency. All our Step D engines are compatible with XTL synthetic fuel and biodiesel, and of course the 2020 Range D distribution line-up also includes the 100% electric D and D Wide Z.E. models. The exclusive Renault Trucks Master Red EDITION is available across our diesel and electric range from 3.1 to 6 t, and of course is supported by our commercial vehicle dealer network with out of hours servicing.
What are the biggest challenges facing Renault Trucks and your industry?
COVID-19 took the world by complete surprise, we are now facing the long term effects of the lockdown and how working in the new normal will impact how we do business, as well as the yet unknown consequences of Brexit. The COVID effect on customer cashflow cannot be underestimated. However, throughout this difficult time, our industry has done itself proud, keyworkers – or as we say #ProudProfessionals – safely delivering the essential food, products and medicines we need, helping to keep the nation running.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities in the coming year for Renault Trucks?
Renault Trucks #ProudProfessionals campaign was launched in 2017 to shine a light on our industry’s dedicated, highly-trained people, encouraging them to take more pride in their roles and in the value of their work. Our hashtag is already well known, and while #ProudProfessionals has never been more relevant, we’ve always been in this for the long term. In April we reinvigorated the #ProudProfessionals campaign and it will continue to play a key role in our activities.
As we emerge from this extraordinary period, I do believe that non Renault customers will have to rethink what their priorities are and if they want a competitive, efficient, reliable and fit for purpose transport solution then Renault Trucks is the best offer in the market, backed by our flexible, tailored solutions and our extensive experience.
Our determination to be a driving force in the transition to a low carbon economy is a real differentiator for Renault Trucks. We have been pioneering electromobility for ten years, today it is a reality for our customers and is a cornerstone of our strategy for sustainable urban transport.
Is the all-electric Renault Trucks Z.E. range available now? How much interest has there been in the range?
Yes, the full Renault Trucks 100% electric Z.E. line-up, from 3.1 -26 tonnes is now in serial production. We have been selling Master Z.E. for over a year and interest has never been so high. Feedback from customers is excellent, they are very pleased with its performance across a range of applications, including electric minibuses and last mile deliveries. We commenced serial production of our D Z.E. and D Wide Z.E. medium heavy duty vehicles in March, and we are in discussions with UK operators, particularly those working in urban areas on multi-drop operations. We notice that more operators are understanding the electric offer and how it is suitable for their own operations, as well as for its environmental credentials. They are asking many questions about the product and infrastructure as they begin to understand how they will integrate electric vehicles in to their daily operations. And of course, because at Renault Trucks we have been doing this for over ten years, we have the expertise and experience to help them transition to electromobility.
What different versions are there? What top speeds do they have? What real life range do they have?
Renault Trucks works collaboratively with each customer to understand the requirements of the operation and specify the right vehicle for the job. The 26 tonne D Wide Z.E. is designed primarily for urban refuse operations, while the 16 tonne D Z.E. is a quiet truck for urban deliveries and the Master Red EDITION is a versatile LCV available in eight versions ideal for low emissions zones. You ask about real life range and just as with diesel vehicles where the range will fluctuate depending on the size of the tank, operation, weight, body specification and driving style, so the real life range of an electric vehicle is also a complex issue. Depending on the battery size, type of operation and required power, the range can go up to 300km for the D Z.E., backed by Renault Trucks Battery Performance Promise, which can give up to ten years of battery life and is a real differentiator in this market.
Have there been any reports of the electric vehicles being too quiet for pedestrians to hear?
What we have heard is actually neighbourhoods very pleased for not being woken up by the bin lorries early in the morning! In the Red Edition Master, the Z.E. ‘Voice’ alerts pedestrians to the presence of the vehicle, since the vehicle itself does not make any noise at low speed. It works at between 1 and 30 km/h via a sound generator mounted in the front of the vehicle.
Will the company continue making Renault vehicles with IC engines?
Diesel is still around for years to come in the long haul segment, and HVO is an opportunity for customers on all our products. The partnership between the Volvo Group (to which Renault Trucks belongs), with DAIMLER is setting the direction and for long haul hydrogen will be the solution. Hydrogen is the next step in the electromobility journey and as Renault Trucks is leading the charge on electromobility, we will be best placed to support this.
In urban and last mile delivery, the switch to electric will come faster as products and battery technology develop at a rapid rate, and the combination of range and weight favours the battery EV. Electric trucks are no longer just a project number or a fantasy, they are here, they are available for customers to buy now and they are Renault Trucks.
What’s the best way for interested readers to find out more about Renault Trucks?
Visit the Renault Trucks website: www.renault-trucks.co.uk or contact us direct at email@example.com and on our social channels.
What do you think will be the future of Renault Trucks’ logistics sector offering?
In the coming years, connectivity will further embed Renault Trucks with its customers. Our Predict offer, which comes to the UK later this year, marks a first step in this direction and uses vehicle data to improve performance and customer service with proactive maintenance and wear management. This is only a first step and there is more to come.
On another front, sustainability will become ever more important to decision makers in the logistics industry: for tomorrow’s logistic decision makers, you won’t be on their shopping list unless you provide sustainable transport solutions. With our current electric offer and our IC engines capable of running on various renewable fuels i.e. HVO and biofuels, for Renault Trucks sustainability isn’t the future – it’s already here.
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