Two years have passed since the Renault Group will present the EZ-FLEX prototype, a compact-size electric commercial vehicle dedicated to the delivery of goods in urban environments. With a month to go until the first testing phase is finished, Mobilize values the learning from this sustainable mobility project.
The distribution of goods in the urban environment represents the last link in the logistics chain. Taking into account the needs of professionals dedicated to last mile transport that have emerged in recent years as a result of the new emissions regulations established by the administration, The Renault Group, through its sustainable mobility brand Mobilize, is working on a program to develop future service offerings for delivery in the city.
In this sense, the French conglomerate launched in 2019 an experiment with several partners such as La Poste, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, the city of Montpellier and the company Services Ecusson Vert in order to collect the impressions directly on the spot. This project is based on the Renault EZ-FLEX, a 100% electric, compact and agile vehicle, designed to facilitate the access of the delivery person to the city center. It offers a turning radius of 4.5 m that provides excellent maneuverability on the streets of any urban center.
During these two years, a fleet of vehicles, equipped with sensors to collect data on geolocation, mileage, autonomy, opening of the openings, speed and stops, have been made available to professionals to carry out their daily delivery tasks.
This little electric commercial, which measures 3.86 m long, 1.65 m wide and 1.88 m high, offers wide access to the driving position to facilitate entry and exit. Ergonomics is one of the main attributes of the EZ-FLEX which also features a optimized loading area to make things easier for the driver. In addition, the cargo box has several modules to adapt to the different needs of the professionals who have worked with this model.
The first phase of tests, which will conclude at the end of the year, will allow the Renault Group to obtain valuable lessons for the development of future vehicles for urban delivery. Two of the main details preferred by professionals who have used this model to carry out their distribution tasks during these years are their 100% electric motorization, which allows a more sedate and serene driving, and the compactness and manageability of the vehicle thanks to its ultra short turning radius.
The big ones openings without hinges and without central pillar along the loading area allow to facilitate loading and unloading processes. These operations are also reinforced by the small diameter wheels that offer a transport floor 0.7 m from the ground. On the other hand, different rear floor heights have been tested to facilitate the work of the delivery men and offer better ergonomics in the rear area.
Likewise, they have been tested new fittings of the cabin area. The driver’s seat settings have been modified to facilitate entry and exit regardless of the size of the driver. The opening the doors with hands-free card, which was introduced during the testing phase, prevents delivery people from having to leave packages on the ground. Finally, depending on the state of traffic, delivery drivers use the passenger-side cabin exit in 15% of cases, thanks to the flat floor and the folding passenger seat. These tests will help Mobilize to define the new Mobilize Hippo, the vehicle that the brand will propose for the last kilometer distribution.