Renault will begin selling electric trucks in 2019 – it is going to be an exciting year!

Renault will begin selling electric trucks in 2019 – it is going to be an exciting year!

Truck electrification is beginning to reach its stride. Companies are in some sort of a race, which will result in a lot of new electric trucks being introduced next year. You‘ve heard of Tesla Semi, Cummins Aeos, Daimler and maybe even Volvo‘s plans to introduce new electric trucks in 2019. And now Renault is joining the crowd.

It would be easy to think that Tesla started this trend with its Semi – a super fast and efficient semi-truck, which can reach 97 km/h in just 20 seconds while pulling a heavy load. However, this impressive machine was not the first electric truck to be announced. For example, Daimler has been experimenting with electric technology in its trucks for quite some time already. The main focus of Daimler is different than the one Tesla. Daimler is looking forward to introduce electric urban delivery trucks, which are smaller and typically travel smaller distances every day. Cummins had a similar idea when it introduced its Aeos – a day cab semi-truck with a range of around 160 km.

It seems that this trend is here to stay. Numerous manufacturers proved that electric heavy duty trucks are actually possible. Furthermore, they can be relatively affordable and easy to live with. If everything works as expected, Tesla Semi might actually be one of the most reliable semi-trucks in the market. Meanwhile big current manufacturers were not so vocal about their plans to start production of electric trucks.

Tesla Semi is probably the single favourite electric truck in general population. (Tesla’s picture)

Have you heard about electric trucks from Scania, MAN, Peterbilt and other giants of the truck industry? No. While there are certainly some plans, they are not developed to the stage of Tesla Semi or Cummins Aeos or even Nikola One. This new segment is up for grabs for the new players. However, some interesting projects are already coming from the well-known truck manufacturers.

Volvo Trucks has announced that it will introduce an electric urban distribution truck in 2019. While long haul machines are certainly in the plans, Volvo believes that city operations is where the electric trucks could thrive. In fact, Volvo said that electric urban distribution trucks could even work at night, helping to reduce city noise and congestion. And now finally we heard from Renault.

Cummins is a famous manufacturer of heavy-duty engines, but its Cummins Aeos truck is going to be one of the first urban delivery semi-trucks on the market (Cummins’ picture)

Renault Trucks has just announced that it will launch a new electric truck range in 2019. Pretty much at the same time when many other companies are going to introduce their first electric trucks – it is going to be an interesting year. However, Renault is not just following current trends. This company has been experimenting with electric technology since 2009, so it is about time to introduce some products into the market. For now the range will consist of urban and peri-urban delivery trucks. They are unlikely to feature such an extreme design like Tesla Semi or Nikola One. The reason is that smaller trucks do not have such big cabins, so there is not much room for extravagant design opportunities. However, we do expect some rounded corners, lack of big grill and some interesting paint schemes.

Renault has been experimenting with electric trucks since 2009 (picture of Renault Trucks)

So let’s see what we have. Daimler is preparing electric urban delivery trucks for intercity operations, Volvo is focusing on urban delivery and Renault is going to do a little bit of both. None of the major truck manufacturers in this article are preparing big semi-trucks, not even with day cabs. What does that mean?

It simply means that the old, trusted brands are letting new players to take on this market segment. They can jump on-board at any point they want, but for now they will just sit back and look how new manufacturers are going to do. Who knows, maybe smaller urban delivery trucks is actually a smarter step to this new age of electric trucking.

Tesla vs. TopGear: the beginning of now famous company was hindered by dishonest review (Video)

Tesla vs. TopGear: the beginning of now famous company was hindered by dishonest review (Video)

We don‘t have to tell you what TopGear is – everyone knows this extremely popular TV show. However, did you know that it actually did some damage to Tesla at the beginning of its history? And it wasn‘t done unintentionally with some bad joke – Tesla is still not happy about one potentially dishonest review.

Tesla Roadster, which entered production in 2008, was a very interesting car. Electric sports cars were not that famous back in a day and people were still cautious about range anxiety and charging times. However, Tesla Roadster was exciting and had pretty serious people behind it. Notably, Elon Musk, who was already a famous business man at that time. Naturally, media was writing about Tesla Roadster and it found its way to TopGear.

The review in question appeared in 2008. Jeremy Clarkson started by highlighting good points, such as acceleration and modern electric drive. He said that the car does feel like it’s the future, comparing it to broadband, as opposed to dial-up. However, later he started criticising the car. At first he said it doesn’t feel as good through the corners, which is legit criticism as the car was much heavier than Lotus Elise on which is it was heavily based.

Tesla Roadster was the brand’s first automobile, created using Lotus Elise as a base. (Thomas doerfer, Wikimedia(CC BY 3.0)

Then it was said that the car ran out of battery in just 55 miles (89 kilometres), even though Tesla promised a 200 mile (322 km) range. Tesla Roadster was pushed off the track into the shed. Top Gear had two cars to test and eventually both of them were down with empty batteries and brake problems. The test was concluded by saying that Tesla Roadster may still not be ready for the road. Clarkson even pointed at a stationary wind turbine implying that the car takes time to charge, but Tesla roadster could be charged at home in just 3.5 hours.

Not only that. Tesla data logged both vehicles from the test and said that neither of them went below 20 % of energy left in the batteries. Therefore, none of Tesla’s cars had to be pushed off the track into the shed. BBC later admitted that it was just to show what would happen if the car ran out of energy. Brakes were not broken down either – we cannot know what was TopGear about.

What Musk thinks about Jeremy Clarkson?

You may think that this is basically irrelevant. TopGear is just an entertaining show with a little bit of automotive journalism. You can see that its clips have been scripted and reviews are subjective. That partially is what makes them so fun to watch. In fact, Elon Musk said that Tesla employee, who delivered cars for testing saw the script, which said that the car is going to break down – he was that even before tests started.

However, it is very much relevant when you are a small company trying to enter the market. Elon Musk said that many potential investors later asked why cars were breaking down on TopGear track. It actually could have caused significant damage to the company. In 2011 Tesla sued BBC, but the court figured out BBC is not guilty in this case. Tesla even had to cover BBC’s legal costs.

So what can we learn from this story? Well, a lot if you’re a new company in the automotive market. Also, don’t believe everything on car reviews – some things are subjective and some shows are mean for entertainment purposes only.

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