Is This the Way? Renault Converts a Diesel Truck into an Electric One

In a world where electric vehicles are gaining momentum, the push for cleaner transportation has reached a new milestone. Renault Trucks, a well-known player in the commercial vehicle industry, has successfully transformed an aging 12-ton diesel truck into a cutting-edge battery-electric commercial vehicle. This innovative endeavor raises important questions about the feasibility of repurposing older, polluting vehicles for a more sustainable future.

Renault’s Commitment to Sustainability

Renault Trucks’ decision to convert a 12-ton diesel truck into an electric vehicle serves as a testament to their commitment to sustainable mobility. The primary aim of this ambitious project is to evaluate the ecological, technical, and economic feasibility of transitioning commercial vehicles from conventional fossil fuels to cleaner electric power.

This groundbreaking project was a collaborative effort between Renault Trucks and Novumtech, a forward-thinking startup with a focus on battery development. Financial support for this initiative was generously provided by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).

The Nuts and Bolts of Transformation

During the transformation process of the Renault Truck D, only “absolutely necessary components” were modified to accommodate the electric powertrain. This includes the replacement of the traditional diesel engine with an electric motor directly connected to the drive shaft. The old gearbox made way for a more efficient and eco-friendly alternative.

The changes didn’t stop there. The fuel tank, a symbol of the internal combustion engine’s thirst for petroleum, was removed and replaced by a massive 210 kWh lithium-ion battery, providing ample energy to power the converted commercial vehicle. To keep the battery charged and ready for action, a 22 kW onboard charger was installed, ensuring that the vehicle could be efficiently charged when needed.

Moreover, the transformation eliminated components tied to the combustion engine, such as the hydraulic power steering pump, suspension and brake air compressor, and air conditioning compressor. In their place, electric alternatives were introduced, including an electric suspension and brake air compressor, an electric hydraulic power steering pump, an electric air conditioning compressor, and electric heating.

Renault D series truck | photo: Renault Trucks

Renault D series truck | photo: Renault Trucks

The Road to Real-World Testing

With the successful completion of the transformation process, the converted electric commercial vehicle is now ready for its next phase of development. Renault Trucks’ goal is to register the modified vehicle to ensure it complies with current operational and safety regulations. Once the necessary approvals are secured, the electric truck will enter a rigorous real-world testing phase, where it will be subjected to a variety of operational conditions.

This testing phase is crucial for evaluating the performance and reliability of the converted vehicle. It will provide valuable insights into its potential as a sustainable and efficient commercial transport solution. Renault Trucks aims to gather data on its electric truck’s real-world capabilities, from range and charging infrastructure requirements to operational efficiency and environmental impact.

As the global shift toward electric mobility continues, initiatives like Renault Trucks’ conversion project highlight the innovative approaches that can help bridge the gap between conventional, polluting vehicles and a more sustainable future. By repurposing older diesel trucks into clean electric vehicles, we not only reduce emissions and combat climate change but also demonstrate the practicality and feasibility of such conversions.

A Synergistic Approach to Sustainability

This project is not just about repurposing vehicles but also about fostering collaboration and innovation. The transformation of the Renault Truck D took place at the CampX facility of the Volvo Group in Lyon. Renault Trucks sees this as an opportunity to strengthen collaborations between its own employees, particularly the technical team in Lyon, and forward-thinking startups like Novumtech.

The goal is clear: to accelerate technological and commercial innovations in the commercial vehicle sector. By working together, traditional manufacturers and innovative startups can create a synergy that drives progress and innovation in sustainable transportation.

As we move forward, projects like this one will play a significant role in shaping the future of commercial transportation. Renault Trucks’ conversion project serves as a reminder that, with determination, collaboration, and a commitment to sustainability, we can find new solutions to address the challenges of a changing world.

The Road Ahead

The successful transformation of a 12-ton diesel truck into an electric commercial vehicle opens up exciting possibilities for the industry. It challenges us to rethink the potential of older, polluting vehicles and demonstrates the adaptability of electric powertrains. With further testing and development, these converted electric trucks could become an integral part of the sustainable transportation landscape.

Renault Trucks’ initiative is a beacon of hope in the journey toward cleaner and more eco-friendly commercial transportation. It reminds us that the road to sustainability is paved with innovative ideas, collaboration, and a steadfast commitment to a greener future. As we eagerly await the results of the real-world testing phase, one thing is clear: the future of commercial transportation is looking brighter and more sustainable than ever before.

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