According to François Savoye, Vice President Electromobility Solution Offer at Renault Trucks, believing in zero-emission mobility does not only mean to build electric trucks. The capability to create and promote a whole ecosystem surrounding the vehicles is crucial to really support those customers (or potential ones) aiming to get closer to the new generation of trucks.
We made Mr Savoye a few questions about Renault Trucks’ strategy as for electric trucks, but also about future trends and innovative projects recently announced by the French manufacturer, which aims to stand at the forefront of energy transition in the truck sector.
Renault Trucks: customers are facing new challenges
Mr Savoye, not long ago we participated in the Electromobility Days, addressed also to dealers. What kind of feedback have you had from the participants of this event?
«With electric mobility, our dealers are facing new challenges, they are adopting new ways of working, of doing business. But they are committed and convinced that electric mobility is the best solution to decarbonize road transport.
The kind of feedback they gave is that Renault Trucks shared its expertise about electromobility with very detailed, relevant, and well-documented information. They appreciate the fact that at Renault Trucks, the electromobility expertise is shared and that it’s not a matter for a few people. They are excited that this expertise, this culture expertise is now deployed on their level».
The Renault Trucks E-Tech T (regional transport) and Renault Trucks E-Tech C (construction) will be available to order from the beginning of 2023. The first vehicles will be delivered during 2023François Savoye, Vice President Electromobility Solution Offer at Renault Trucks
Some might say that the efforts put on reducing emissions in the transport sector won’t have a significant impact on the health of the planet. What’s your answer to this objection?
«We believe that when climate change is at stake, every action counts. Even if road freight accounts for only 7% of total CO2 emissions in Europe, the impact is still real. We’re part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution.
In addition, Renault Trucks is committed into the Science Base Target Initiative. We are working to reduce the CO2 emissions of our trucks but not only: we are working to reduce the CO2 emission regarding our production, our infrastructure, the commuting of our employee, etc., targeting CO2 neutrality by 2050».
François Savoye (Renault Trucks): «100% fossil free by 2040»
Talking about long-term ambitions, which are the reasons behind the decision to increase the share of electric vehicle sales from 35% to 50% by 2030?
«We are now selling electric vehicles in all European countries and we really see an acceleration of this market. More and more transport operators or transport users are committed to reducing their emissions. Governments are also significantly supporting the momentum. Our aim being to be 100% fossil free in our sales in 2040, and being almost alone on this fast-developing market, we believe is therefore the right timing to accelerate and set ourselves a more ambitious target».
In Blainville-sur-Orne, we’ve been told that Renault Trucks is now able to produce 9 electric trucks per day. What’s the company’s target in the next few years? Is Renault Trucks planning to hire more employees in Blainville?
«Renault Trucks plans for 50% of its sales to be electric by 2030 and, by 2040, 100% of the vehicles sold will be carbon neutral. To support our ambitions and in response to the growing demand of electric trucks, the Blainville plant is expanding its workforce by recruiting 100 operators on permanent contracts in 2022. More generally, we also set up a roadmap and strong training actions to increase the competence of the whole company in electric mobility».
We believe that when climate change is at stake, every action counts. Even if road freight accounts for only 7% of total CO2 emissions in Europe, the impact is still real. We’re part of the problem, we want to be part of the solutionFrançois Savoye, Vice President Electromobility Solution Offer at Renault Trucks
‘Hydrogen is an interesting technology for long-haul transportation, even though it’s not ready at all, yet’. I’ve tried to resume the message you gave about hydrogen. Is Renault Trucks already testing fuel cell trucks over 26 tonnes?
«In the second half of the decade, Renault Trucks will be able to offer a range equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, mainly for long-distance use».
Charging infrastructure for long-haul trucks
How crucial is the matter of charging infrastructure in Europe? Are you worried this might affect your plans and ambitions?
«Charging brings new questions in our industry that can vary depending on the applications. Urban vehicles are mostly captive fleets vehicles, that are operated every day from the same base and that stay 12 to 16 hours per day at the depot. In this case, charging can easily be solved by dedicating one single low power charging point per vehicle for overnight charging. Challenge will be more complex for long haulage applications that require not only public network across the territories, but also high-performance charging solutions, enabling to recover 400 to 500 km range in the 45-min legal break. To overcome this challenge, we are partnering with other key industry players to deploy at least 1,700 high performance charging points across Europe by 2025».
Series T and C E-Tech trucks have been just announced. What’s the roadmap of these project in view of 2023?
«The Renault Trucks E-Tech T (regional transport) and Renault Trucks E-Tech C (construction) will be available to order from the beginning of 2023. The first vehicles will be delivered during 2023.
The trucks will be manufactured in the Renault Trucks Bourg-en-Bresse factory».
The Oxygen project
From your point of view, what is the target of the Oxygen project? Will it be an alternative option to the D E-Tech, as the two trucks are supposed to have the same GVW? Is it a different way to intend electric distribution trucks?
«The aim of the Oxygen project is to create a truck that blends into the urban landscape, that facilitates urban logistics and improves the driver’s working conditions and the safety of the vulnerable users.
This is an R&D project. Its aim is to deliver only two prototype vehicles. Depending on the feedback from these two prototypes, this type of truck for urban applications exclusively could eventually complement the existing Renault Trucks E-Tech D and D Wide ranges».