Across Europe, post offices are going electric
The EZ-PRO concept embodies Renault’s vision for the future of urban delivery services. Simultaneously electric, autonomous and modular, it was designed to fit all the needs associated with the “last kilometre” issue.
Tomorrow, will we all be city-dwellers? The increasing pace of urbanisation and the explosion of e-commerce call for a consideration of new delivery methods, designed to get goods to their recipients in a clean and efficient manner. Renault’s response was to develop a concept as unprecedented as it is innovative: EZ-PRO, unveiled in the middle of September at the Hannover commercial vehicles exhibition (in Germany).
EZ-PRO is not a single vehicle, but a platform composed of several autonomous modules. Initially, these pods travel as a convoy, but once arrived at their destination, they are able to separate so as to cover more ground and complete the deliveries themselves.
Each of these pods offers a large volume of usable space that can be configured in different ways to meet specific needs: the cargo space dedicated to bulky goods, for example, can also create lockers designed for small packages or a refrigerated container for perishable products. If necessary, it can be changed into a commercial space to accommodate use as a food truck, a pop-up store or any other kind of service.
At the head of the procession, a leader pod houses the pilot in charge of supervising the operations. This delivery man of the future is not a driver, since the different elements of EZ-PRO know how to move in a completely autonomous way. His or her role is closer to that of a concierge, responsible in particular for ensuring customer satisfaction and optimising delivery routes.
Powered by an electric motor, the modules are equipped with an induction charging system and four-wheel drive to help them weave through the city.
Born from the experience Renault has acquired in the utility vehicle market, EZ-PRO has been designed to respond to a wide variety of scenarios. With its “pods” capable of ensuring deliveries on their own, it will be an ally to logistics specialists seeking to optimise last kilometre deliveries. Its modular and composite structure is also intended for use by skilled workers or retailers that provide local services: it is possible to imagine each individual pod functioning as a point of sale regularly supplied by the “leader” pod. Permanent connectivity facilitates these uses and allows EZ-PRO to optimise its movements by integrating into the ecosystem of the smart city.
Finally, Renault expects that EZ-PRO will function as a natively-shared solution. The fleet management solutions already proposed by Groupe Renault make it possible to envisage the pods being put at the service of different partners so as to maximise efficiency.
Unveiled in September 2018, at the Hannover commercial vehicle exhibition a few months after the shared taxi EZ-GO, EZ-PRO is the second entry into Renault’s series of robot concept vehicles, paving the way to the future of urban mobility by 2030.
Cover photo : Ashwani Gupta, Global Head, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi LCV Business and Laurens Van Den Acker, Corporate Design Director, Groupe Renault pose next to an EZ-PRO, on September 19, 2018, at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover.
Copyrights: David & Douglas, Julien OPPENHEIM, Olivier MARTIN-GAMBIER