Called the Urban Lab 2, the vehicle made its debut at the Pollutec exhibition, in Lyon. Developed with six partners as part of the Efficient Distribution Truck (EDIT) project, the vehicle combines innovative technology in aerodynamics, hybridisation of the engine, tyres and vehicle-infrastructure communication.
Urban Lab 2 is based on a 19-tonne Euro 6 Renault Trucks D Wide and, says the manufacturer, will be targeted at both the urban and regional distribution sectors.
The EDIT project focuses on the four key areas of aerodynamics, driveline, connectivity and tyres.
Aerodynamic features on the new vehicle, for example, include a repositioned refrigeration unit in the wheelbase to free up overhead space and improve airflow. It also has a roof deflector that provides continuity with the body, as well as textile side deflectors.
Wing mirrors are replaced by a system of profiled cameras and internal feedback screens, which also helps to reduce vehicle air resistance.
The vehicle has a Stop&Start system and micro-hybrid technology. The engine cuts when the vehicle is stationary – for example, at a red light – and the micro-hybrid system recovers ‘free’ energy.
The Urban Lab 2 has navigation software, which suggests the most efficient and fuel-efficient route. The technology is also linked to infrastructure, such as traffic lights, so the vehicle can calculate whether it is more efficient to brake or accelerate.
Michelin was a partner on Renault’s Optfuel Lab 1 and 2 projects, and is again working with the vehicle manufacturer to develop energy-saving tyres specifically for distribution operations.
Urban Lab 2 was tested for the first time on a closed circuit in November 2016 and will be road tested in Bordeaux from February 2017 onwards.
The results will be presented at the end of the project, which is scheduled for 2018.