Features & Interviews

Five minutes with… Carlos Rodrigues, Managing Director of Renault Trucks UK and Ireland

05 October 2023 #Features & Interviews

What’s the range of electric commercial vehicles that Renault Trucks provides?

The switch to low-carbon transport solutions is a priority for Renault Trucks, which has just completed the electrification of all its vehicle models designed to operate in urban and regional environments. Whether for delivery, distribution, waste collection or construction, all urban and regional uses are covered by the Renault Trucks E-Tech T and C, Renault Trucks E-Tech D, D Wide and D Wide LEC (16, 18 and 26t), Renault Trucks E-Tech Master (3.1 and 3.5 t), Renault Trucks E-Tech Trafic (3.07 t) and cargo bikes (650 kg).

How is the Renault Trucks dealer network preparing for the growth in electric vehicle sales, for example with regards to technician training?

The preparations started in 2018 with the launch of the first electric van by Renault Trucks. Since then, our network of technicians has been trained to reflect the growth of our portfolio of products and we will be close to 50% of the network fully qualified on all products by the end of 2023 and covers all the main conurbations and main roads. This is in line with our range of electric products which operate essentially in an urban and regional environment, and with the lack of public charging for commercial vehicles.

From 2024 and with our extension of the range with articulated EV units we will continue to grow the number of fully qualified sites to support our customers across the whole country.  We are working closely with our dealers to ensure that we can support our customers through their transition to a decarbonised fleet.

At every Renault Trucks dealer across the UK, customers are supported throughout their entire journey to switch to electric by our fully trained Energy Transition Specialists (ETS).

What about the new Vertellus programme involving Renault Trucks?

Vertellus is an innovative commercial vehicle contract hire company with a range of EV solutions. The Vertellus’s EV Discovery Programme provides a turnkey solution for operators to hire a fully-bodied, ready-to-work electric vehicle on a three month term, delivered with a DC charger, which can be installed on site at the vehicle base. Its fleet of 30 Renault Trucks E-Tech electric vehicles, from 16 to 18 tonnes has been specified to meet the requirements of the applications and sectors where electric technology can work today, and includes box, curtainsider and fridge bodies.

This is the UK’s first real BEV Equipment as a Service (EaaS) offer, a significant enabler to accelerate take up of BEV trials for businesses of all sizes across the UK by de-risking and improving accessibility and affordability.

The EV Discovery Programme is backed by the Renault Trucks dealer network, which provides an unrivalled level of EV service support and a nationwide reach with more than 60 approved partner locations.

How can EV charging infrastructure for van and truck drivers grow in the UK?

Renault Trucks has sold vehicles into a very wide range of customers and applications, including retail distribution, waste, recycling, construction and general/pallet distribution. The vehicles supplied so far all rely on a return to base business model and all the companies have invested in dedicated charging resources at their depots. However, as the first Renault Trucks T E-Tech range of electric tractor units start to go on the road, the need for a reliable public charging infrastructure provision becomes increasingly important.

The Government’s ZERFD initiative will stimulate some investment in this area, but a more strategic approach would help accelerate the transition. Renault Trucks is working with key stakeholders including the UK and Scottish governments, National Grid, Volvo Group’s infrastructure joint venture Milence and others to help map paths to a viable public charging network, but ultimately Government must set a clear direction to ensure that the path followed benefits the most users.

How important is SMMT membership to Renault Trucks?

We value our membership of SMMT for a myriad of reasons. As the voice of the automotive industry SMMT is a powerful advocate, supporting and promoting the industry, and championing our collective concerns and interests with government policymakers and other stakeholders.  We make good use of its industry intelligence, insights and data, as well as its numerous networking opportunities and flagship events such as SMMT’s Electrified.

Carlos Rodrigues, Managing Director of Renault Trucks UK and Ireland

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