Urban Lab 1 is a new Renault Trucks project designed to improve goods distribution in towns. Developed with the bodybuilder Gemco E-Trucks B.V, this experimental vehicle opens up new possibilities in the field of urban distribution by bringing the loading sill down to ground level. For, on this vehicle, electrifying the transmission from the powertrain actually modifies the truck's architecture and allows greater freedom in defining the way the body is built and used. What makes the Urban Lab 1 so distinctive is that its suspension system makes it possible to lower the entire truck to ground level. This makes loading and unloading goods much easier and as much as one third quicker compared with a similar operation on a conventional vehicle. The haulier obviously benefits from this since it allows the truck's operational potential to be fully optimised. The concept will also benefit urban environments in general since, by reducing the length of time the truck is stationary, it is able to free up the delivery area more rapidly.
This vehicle has been based on a 16 tons Midlum DXi 5 and offers a payload of 8 to 9 tons according to version. It is driven by two latest generation "wheel motors" in the rear wheels which are supplied by a generator coupled to a Diesel engine. A battery pack enables the vehicle to travel in "all-electric" mode and thereby keep noise level to a minimum during final approach phases. The operation of lowering and raising of the truck is activated when the vehicle is at a standstill by means of a switch in the cab.
An experimental vehicle, the Urban Lab 1 is one of several concepts Renault Trucks has been testing to improve goods distribution in towns as part of the joint transport system projects being carried out by the LUTB (Lyon Urban Truck&Bus) competitive cluster and the CityFret programme. It is part of a research programme involving a variety of partners which seeks to find ways of satisfying the needs its customers and the general public have now or will have in the future.