Renault Trucks converting a 12-tonne diesel truck into a battery-powered electric truck

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Renault Trucks, a pioneer in the circular economy and electric mobility, has taken a significant step towards decarbonisation by converting a 12-tonne diesel truck into a battery-powered electric truck. This electric retrofit project was carried out in collaboration with Novumtech, with financial support from the ADEME, the French Agency for Ecological Transition. The initiative is doubly virtuous, since it aims to preserve natural resources while reducing the environmental impact of vehicles.

Renault Trucks doesn’t just use sustainable transport as a slogan! The French manufacturer is now providing further proof of this, having just completed the workshop conversion of a combustion engine truck into an electric truck. The aim of the project is to assess the environmental, technical and economic feasibility of electric retrofitting for heavy goods vehicles. The project was enabled through collaboration with Novumtech, a start-up with expertise in battery design and production, and with financial support from the ADEME, the French Agency for Ecological Transition.

Circularity is indeed one of Renault Truck’s strategic areas of focus in order to decarbonise freight transport. The industrial activities of the manufacturer, which is committed to extending the lifespan of the vehicles it produces, are part of a circular economy approach based on three pillars, namely regenerate, repurpose and reuse.

Under this approach, Renault Trucks has introduced a number of initiatives, including doubling the life of trucks for hauliers by encouraging reconditioning rather than renewal. Moreover, the manufacturer offers a second life to its used trucks through repurposing, using rigorous industrial processes. To date, more than 1,500 trucks have been repurposed at the Used Trucks Factory in Bourg-en-Bresse and 700 have been reconditioned at the Used Trucks Centre in Lyon, saving over 5,000 tonnes of CO2.

The conversion stages

The electric conversion of the 12-tonne Renault Trucks D was achieved by modifying only what was strictly necessary, namely the engine, gearbox, fuel tank and the AdBlue tank, while components associated with the combustion engine, such as the hydraulic pump for power steering, the air compressor for suspension and braking, and the air conditioning compressor, were all removed.

These components were replaced by an electric motor directly connected to the drive shaft, a 210 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack, a 22 kW on-board charger, an electric air compressor for suspension and braking, an electric hydraulic pump for power steering, an electric air conditioning compressor and an electric heating system for the cab.

The next milestone for this project is certification of the converted truck in order to validate compliance with current regulations. Once this approval has been obtained, Renault Trucks will begin a phase of tests under real operating conditions in partnership with Clovis Grand Paris in France.

This retrofit project, achieved thanks to the partnership with Novumtech, was carried out in the CampX by Volvo Group facility at Renault Trucks’ Lyon site. The purpose of CampX is to accelerate technological and commercial innovation by creating synergies between Renault Trucks employees (the Lyon engineering team) and start-ups.