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A Renault Trucks serial hybrid truck under testing with Norbert Dentressangle


Renault Trucks is experimenting with Norbert Dentressangle an electric truck with range extender. This 16-tons vehicle, developed on a Midlum chassis ensures 60-kilometer missions in 100% electric mode while having a total range of more than 400 kilometers. The vehicle will be tested from June 2013 to January 2014 in the Paris region on behalf of ThyssenKrupp Materials France.

MelodysII truck

This project is part of the continued technological partnership between Renault Trucks, PVI and IFP Energies nouvelles.

Transport is an essential part of the ThyssenKrupp Materials France activity, with 500 deliveries per day, a cost item under pressure from oil prices, the European social regulations and various taxes. Today’s energy or cost economy is the key word in the everyday life of ThyssenKrupp Materials France.

“This project has appeared to us as an opportunity to prepare for the future, moreover having our headquarters based in the Paris region where the constraints of traffic, pollution … are more important,” said Jean-Michel Auriac, Senior Vice-President. Through this project, Norbert Dentressangle proves once again its commitment to be at the forefront of the fight against greenhouse gas or any other type of pollution. Strongly committed to reducing the environmental impact of its activities, it puts the truck at the heart of its concerns.

“The testing of this new hybrid is part of our continued partnership started in 2005 with the ADEME. Because road transport is and will be for a long time the most efficient mode of freight transportation, we strive to search all effective means to reduce the environmental impact of the truck. with Renault Trucks we provide innovative solutions that take advantage of a modern, efficient, safe and environmentally friendly transport, “says Martial Valente, Purchasing Director Transportation division.

Serial Hybrid technology, equipping this vehicle, combines a high degree of autonomy in all-electric mode, while providing, in hybrid mode, a comprehensive range of several hundred kilometers. The vehicle can achieve in a single tour, the missions in both areas “zero emission”, usually located in the city center, and industrial areas on the periphery.

Specifically, the experimental vehicle has a range of 400 kilometers, of which 60 in all-electric mode. It is equipped with a PVI electric traction made of an asynchronous electric motor with 103 kW / 400 V, Li-Ion batteries that contain a total energy of 85 kWh and a diesel engine DXi 5 associated with a 70kW generator. This generator can produce electricity to recharge the batteries while the vehicle is moving, and thus guarantees its autonomy during his tour. In addition, during each braking or deceleration, kinetic energy is recovered by the electric motor to be stored in batteries. The batteries are rechargeable in about four hours on the electrical network via a three-phase supply 380 V and 64 A.

This electric with range extender Midlum will be operated by Norbert Dentressangle on behalf of ThyssenKrupp Materials France in Paris. With a payload of 6 tons, it will be dedicated to the transport of steel bars from 3 to 7 meters, steel pallets for small size, and steel plates from 1 to 3 meters long. Its mission will be carried out between 5 and 14h on a daily 170 to 220 km course in the northwest of the Ile-de-France with twenty customers of ThyssenKrupp Materials France.

IFP Energies Nouvelles has used its expertise in the areas of control and hybrid powertrains to deliver an energy management control unit and all its embedded functions. These optimize power flow around the battery, decide whether it is appropriate to turn on or turn off the engine depending on the situation, especially in urban areas, and place it on an optimum operating point. The main objective is to allow the vehicle to have reduced consumption all along the route and a limited level of noise in urban areas.

Several modes of energy management are available and the driver can choose in real time between two modes:

  • Automatic:
    This is the default mode of operation. The hybrid computer automatically manages the battery by starting and stopping the range extender. It continuously optimizes the management of electrical and thermal energy to minimize the overall power consumption. For obtaining the best combination of the two energies, the hybrid control unit bases its calculations on data from the delivery circuit and from “zero emission” areas which have been previously indicated in the hybrid control unit.
  • Manual: 
    The driver can activate at any time 100% electric mode, for example when delivering in restricted urban areas or “zero emission” areas. In this case, the range extender does not work until a minimum of energy in batteries is reached.
    A specific display screen and an additional user interface for the driver are used to monitor and visualize the energy flow.
  • The expected results of those tests are: 
    – A reduction of CO2 emissions by approximately 30% compared to an equivalent diesel vehicle, taking into account the complete truck circuit
    – An equivalent mobility to that of a diesel vehicle while ensuring availability of energy when the vehicle is stopped
    – A significant improvement in noise levels in accordance to the expectations of residents, which should enable client users to extend their operation to staggered hours or night.

This vehicle is the second experimental vehicle from a close collaboration between Renault Trucks, PVI and IFP Energies Nouvelles. It was developed as part of the Melodys project, supported by the ADEME demonstrators’ research fund. It is realized within the context of an experiment whose purpose is to test, in real conditions, technologies that could be integrated into series production in the future.

Technical data
16t range extender electric Renault Midlum
  • Range in full electric: around 60 km
  • Total range: around 400 km
  • Charge time: 4 h
  • Electric motor power: 103 kW
  • Lithium-ion (iron-phosphate) battery pack
    – energy: 85 kWh
    – capacity: 138 Ah / 615 V
  • Fuel tank capacity: 130 l
  • Payload: 6.5 t
  • Body-builder: Tautliner
Source: IFPEN
Romain’s opinion:

Serial hybrid might be an interesting solution for a delivery truck as driving cycle looks like approximately 60 km in suburban conditions followed by around 50 km in city conditions. Thus using an electric vehicle with a range extender for the suburban parts is matching well this driving cycle. The packaging and the payload might be an issue as it includes two electric machines and a big battery pack. Do you think customers are ready to decrease their payload and buy a more expensive truck for having a lower fuel consumption and then a lower cost of ownership? How this gain is balanced with the payload decrease?


  1. Robert Foraker06-08-2013

    Serial technology is right but used as part of system can be a great solution. Perhaps a collaboration is in store with XGEM?

    • Romain Nicolas06-13-2013


      I don’t think it is forecasted by Renault Trucks according to my sources. I checked your website and the concept seems interesting. You could even add some pictures of this concept.

      Best regards

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