DHL to handle battery transportation for Renault’s new electric cars

DHL has signed an agreement with Renault to provide a car battery transportation service, to coincide with the car manufacturer’s launch of its first electric vehicles. The three-year deal will see the operator provide a “comprehensive international solution for the distribution of replacement lithium ion batteries to the dealer’s network that has been designed to cope with mass market needs”, the company said.

When a Renault customer requires a replacement battery, DHL will handle all deliveries to Expert Z.E dealers. 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 autumn 2011 and mid 2012.

Jacques Daniel, after-sales director, Renault, said: “Renault is the first car manufacturer 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 elements to ensure that replacement batteries are available for customers – a key quality point that Renault commits to offer to all electric vehicle buyers.”

DHL will store the batteries at its facility in Bonneuil near Paris. The company will transport stock to any Expert Z.E dealer or importer across Europe and Asia, and will return old batteries to Renault’s repair centre. A spokesperson said: “DHL will control the whole logistics process including order, exception and data management via its specialised 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.” DHL confirmed that it had also trained its staff on battery handling.

Dan Ellerton, CEO of DHL Supply Chain, Mainland Europe, said: “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 organise aftermarket logistics for batteries, thus setting a new industry standard.”

As a part of the partnership, DHL has been road testing eight Renault Kangoo Z.E’s – trialing the operational suitability of the electric vehicles for commercial fleet operations.

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