The Magazine for LCV Fleet Operators
Dan Gilkes , reports from this year’s show ITT Hub focuses on sustainability and decarbonisation

The second Innovation and Technology in Transport (ITT) Hub exhibition took place in May, at the Farnborough International conference centre.

More than 3,800 exhibitors and visitors attended the two-day event, which focused on innovation, sustainability and decarbonisation. Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport chose the event to announce £200m in government funding for zero-emission HGV trials. The sum aims to help the logistics industry on its journey of decarbonisation. There was also plenty for visitors to see and discuss, with a strong mix of exhibitors keen to discuss the future of logistics and distribution.

Renault Trucks 

Renault Trucks took the wraps off a last-mile delivery solution, that it claims offers three different types of transportation in one, all of which can be zero-carbon emitting. Based around a 3.5-tonne, long wheelbase Master E-Tech electric chassis, the OptiModale features a Low Loader Luton body from converter Horton Commercials.

With a range of racking options inside the van body, the OptiModale has a shutter door on the left-hand side that when opened, reveals an eBullitt electric Cargo bike. The vehicle is equipped with an electric hoist that allows drivers of any size to lift the cargo bike safely in and out of this storage area. A second sliding door above the e-cargo bike hold, reveals a pull-out landing pad for a UVATEK parcel-carrying drone.

“The E-Tech Master OptiModale is a two-person operation, offering the flexibility of delivering larger parcels by van, while the second team member takes the eBullitt cargo bike for last-mile deliveries, where congestion is at its worst. Additionally, the drone provides rapid deployment for urgent situations, such as delivering vital drugs or supplies to challenging locations,” said Grahame Neagus, head of LCV at Renault Trucks.

The Master E-Tech platform cab chassis is powered by a 33kWh battery pack, delivering a range of up to 80 miles and an 800kg payload capacity. A larger 52kWh battery is also offered, for those looking to travel further, but with a reduced load. The eBullitt cargo bike can carry up to 100kg of parcels, while the drone is capable of hauling high value loads of up to 2kg. 

When packed away inside the van body, both the e-bike and the drone can be plugged in and recharged from the van’s battery. The van also carries a second battery for the e-bike, so that one can be charged while the other is being used. Each e-bike battery offers up to 30 miles of assisted range.

While a cargo drone might sound like something from a distant future, there are currently moves across the country to develop dedicated drone flying routes. Coventry, close to Renault Trucks’ Warwick base, is among the first local authorities to be building a specific cargo drone port. Air-One, in the heart of the city, is the world’s first fully-operational hub for electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, such as air taxis and cargo drones.

The OptiModale may also sound like a concept for the far-off future. However, the vehicle is available for sale today and it can be tailored to the specific requirements of the customer in terms of internal storage and racking.

“By harnessing multiple modes of electric transport, this is an all-in-one sustainable solution, that is set to transform the rapidly growing parcel market and can be replicated anywhere in the world,” said Neagus.

Michelin aims for fleet management sector

Michelin Connected Fleet is a new umbrella brand for all of the Michelin Group’s fleet management services and solutions. The business already processes data from around 300 million commercial vehicle journeys, by more than 600,000 vehicles each year, through the Masternaut brand in Europe, NexTraq in North America and Sascar in South America.

“Customer support is what differentiates us from the market,” said Matt Childs, operational marketing manager for the UK and France.

“We are focused on helping fleet managers to accelerate their business with performance analysis services, based on smart data and tools, which lead to better insights and better visibility.”

The company collects vehicle data through a range of on-board telematic systems, to give fleet managers a real-time view of their vehicles and the goods being carried. This helps to maximise vehicle utilisation, reduce operating costs and improve road safety through feedback on driver behaviour.

Data can be used to anticipate maintenance requirements, helping to reduce downtime, while the system can also monitor heavy goods vehicle tyre pressures and temperatures, to reduce the likelihood of roadside breakdowns. The company has a team of Michelin Connected Fleet experts helping to deliver performance analysis to customers.

“This means that we are perfectly placed to help customers master the management of their fleets and improve their operations,” said Childs.

The company is also developing analysis that will help fleets in the transition to electric vehicle use, as customers work towards more sustainable mobility. This also includes helping customers to determine which vehicles in their fleets might be viably moved to electric power, within existing operating conditions or with minimal change to working routine.

Michelin Connected Fleet is offering potential customers the opportunity to pilot the telematic system for up to 40 days, across five vehicles, for free.

“Data management is vital when it comes to running a fleet,” said Gilson Santiago, Michelin Connected Fleet CEO.

“As technology develops, our expertise in data analysis allows us to meet our customers’ requirements as precisely as possible, to assist them in their activities.”

Innovation Automotive adds chassis cab to EV line-up

Hot on the heels of the launch of the DFSK EC35 electric van, by new business Innovation Automotive (IA), the company has shown the EC31 chassis cab. The Chinese built chassis was equipped with a dropside body, but could be fitted with a wide range of conversions to suit individual customer needs. The truck is powered by the same 39kWh battery as the EC35 panel van, offering up to 160 miles when fitted with a 50mph speed limiter. 

IA is offering customers a low-cost entry into the e-LCV market, with the possibility of leasing and financing partners to help get customers started on the transition to an electric future.

Geotab assesses EV suitability for fleets

Fleet management specialist Geotab has added an Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment (EVSA) add-on to its monthly subscription model. Designed to help fleet managers that are considering moving part or all of their fleet to battery electric power, the EVSA matches a fleet’s existing telematic user data, to real-world EV performance data.

The EVSA analyses a fleet’s use over 6-12 months, creating an electrification recommendation based on each vehicle’s individual driving characteristics. The recommendation uses all available EV data, to decide whether a specific e-LCV would be a suitable replacement for an existing vehicle. The analysis looks at vehicle type, range capability and projected savings in operation, allowing managers to see if it is possible to change a particular van to electric and what the cost, or cost savings, might be.