In order to facilitate the market launch of Renault’s new line of electric vehicles, DHL will be the first logistics provider to implement a comprehensive international solution for the distribution of replacement lithium ion batteries to the dealers network that has been designed to cope with mass market needs.
Bringing customers top-quality service
The electric engines bring up a new issue: how to replace used batteries? The Renault contract – taken out when purchasing the vehicle – is an all-in-one offer including battery replacement after several years of use or in the event of dysfunction. At which point customers visit their dealership to swap the battery. Renault has chosen DHL to handle the logistics behind battery deliveries to “Expert Z.E.” dealers (equipped and trained for electric vehicle maintenance and customer assistance).
“Renault is the first car manufacture to mass market electric vehicles. In this particular business model, the client will rent the battery reparable in Renault dealerships. Our contract with DHL is one of the key element to ensure that replacement batteries are available for customers – a key quality point that Renault commits to offer to all electric vehicle buyers,” says Jacques Daniel, after-sales director, Renault.The Renault Z.E. series, which stands for “Zero Emissions”, is the first line of fully electric passenger cars and small commercial vehicles to be introduced to the consumer market by a major car manufacturer. It will include the Kangoo Z.E., Fluence Z.E., Twizy and Zoe models, which will be launched successively between fall 2011 and mid 2012.
Dan Ellerton, CEO DHL Supply Chain Mainland Europe, comments: “The establishment of emission-free mobility is one of the most important challenges of the 21st century. Now we have moved this transition an important step further down the road. Logistics are essential for the successful launch of electric vehicles to the mass market, and the solution we have developed for Renault will provide a reliable and efficient way to organize aftermarket logistics for batteries, thus setting a new industry standard.”
The logistics solution will include the storage of batteries in DHL’s facility in Bonneuil near Paris, the transport of batteries to “Expert Z.E” dealers and importers to countries in Europe and Asia including all major Automotive markets such as Germany, France, Spain and the UK, and the return of used batteries to Renault’s Flins repair center. DHL will control the whole logistics process including order, exception and data management via its specialized Automotive Control Tower in Veghel, Netherlands. Thanks to a specific Renault IT solution, DHL will ensure that each individual battery can be tracked throughout the supply chain.
To manage this sensitive and particular kind of logistics – these batteries weigh between 112 kg and 335 kg and have non-standard dimensions – DHL staff including drivers has been specially trained on battery handling and trucks are adapted to the load (specific rails and equipment).
As another element of the cooperation, DHL will add eight more vehicles of the type Renault Kangoo Z.E. to its road test in the Rhine-Ruhr area (Germany), trialing the operational suitability of electric vehicles for commercial fleet operations. The road test has started in April 2011.