Renault concept truck goes on trial next month

A concept vehicle revealed by Renault Trucks will be going on trial in France from next month.

The Renault Urban Lab 2 demonstrates the company’s vision of future technology, combining innovative aerodynamics, hybrid powertrains, eco-efficient tyres and vehicle to infrastructure communication.

Developed with six partners under the collaborative Efficient Distribution Truck (EDIT) project, Renault Trucks says the Urban Lab 2, revealed at the Pollutec environment show in Lyon, France, can achieve potential fuel savings of up to 13%.

Based on a 19-tonne Renault Trucks D WIDE Euro-6 vehicle, Urban Lab 2 targets the city and regional distribution sector.

It is the result of the EDIT project, financed by the Single Inter-Ministry Fund, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region, Métropole de Lyon and Ain Department Council. The vehicle features a range of technologies developed with six partners – Valeo, Lamberet, Michelin, BeNomad, INSA Lyon and IFSTTAR – and was originally shown as a scale model at the 2014 Hanover IAA Commercial Vehicle Show.

To reduce the aerodynamic drag of the Urban Lab 2 – and therefore its fuel consumption – engineers worked on airflow throughout the vehicle. Lamberet and Renault Trucks adapted the cab, chassis and refrigerated body to the recommendations of aerodynamic specialists, whilst meeting the regulatory and operating requirements of temperature-controlled transport.

The first step involves reducing the front surface area. “The refrigeration unit is normally located above the cab”, explained François Savoye, Energy Efficiency Strategy Manager at Renault Trucks. “On Urban Lab 2, we decided to position it in the wheelbase of the vehicle to free up space overhead and lower the body to improve airflow”

In addition, replacing wing mirrors with a system of profiled cameras and internal feedback screens also helps reduce vehicle air resistance.

To reduce fuel consumption, Urban Lab 2 features Stop&Start and micro-hybrid technology, developed in partnership with Valeo. The Stop&Start system cuts the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop while the micro-hybrid system recovers ‘free’ energy, such as energy generated during braking, via a 48-volt reversible electric motor. This energy can be used to drive electrical accessories on truck.

Urban Lab 2 is also connected to infrastructures to optimise driving through green lights. When the truck approaches traffic lights, it receives information from the lights and the system calculates if it is more efficient to brake or accelerate, when conditions and regulations allow, limiting the amount of stop-start driving, which has such a high impact on fuel consumption.

Another innovation is the Urban Lab 2’s tyres, developed by Michelin. The tyres feature self