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19 Mar 14

Uwe Hochgeschurtz, Sr VP Corporate Sales Renault: Going emission free with DHL

Renault is one of the manufacturers’ which is pioneering the introduction of electric vehicles. The company has an international ‘e-fleet’ project with Deutsche Post DHL. We asked Uwe Hochgeschurtz, Senior Vice President Corporate Sales Director of Renault to tell us more.

 "DHL is a major customer of Renault not just for electric cars but for traditionally powered vehicles (ICE) too. What we are intending to do with this agreement is to work more closely together on how electric vehicles can help a major fleet like that of DHL Deutsche Post to be more fuel-efficient and to see in what way zero emission vehcles can be suitable for international companies. We want to see how electric cars can help our clients to have a lower TCO. So this collaboration will be an exchange of experience, DHL will be able to give us an insight, into how these cars are helping them achieve their ecological objectives.”

Is this just a trial with the Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric van?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “The Kangoo is of course the major vehicle, as it is the day-to-day delivery vehicle which is really at the heart of the DHL business model. But this doesn’t mean that we won’t be able to get feedback from DHL on their experiences with other electric cars like Zoe and Twizy they already have in their current fleet.”

When will this trial move from being a letter of intent to a concrete trial?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “At the moment we are working out a detailed plan between Renault and Deutsche Post DHL on how we can exchange our experiences. So we will be clarifying in which countries we will be doing something, and within which time-frame. These discussions will be taking place over the coming weeks. At the moment what is important is that we do have this agreement in place, and that a major fleet like DHL knows that we can help them move even further forward with their fleet operations.”

Can you tell a little bit more about the geographical scope of this partnership?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “It is important to know that this is a global idea, and that we will be fixing the actual geographical parameters during our talks. The intention is to be global as CO2 is not a local problem, it is a global concern. The problem occurs in many major cities in America, in Asia and in Europe.”

Is this just a Renault trial, or could it extend to the Renault-Nissan Alliance?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “As of today it is an intention between Deutsche Post DHL and Renault, but if it turns out to be a win-win-win situation, there is no reason why it couldn’t be extended. You probably know that Renault and Nissan together are market leaders in zero emissions vehicles. So if the geographical parameters extend further, our Alliance partner could certainly be involved.”

How important is this deal for Renault and for your development?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz:  “It is very important because DHL is not just a customer, it is a leading worldwide logistics company, so they know about all the challenges coming up over the coming years in terms of logistics and CO2 objectives. And they are also very aware of the importance of the cost element. It is important that what we are doing at Renault is not just environmentally-friendly, but cost-effective too. This trial is therefore relevant for global problems and issues in more than one area. And the trial will help us to communicate better to other customers too.”

Do you have other such deals, with other companies?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “We are working with others too, sometimes focusing on a particular region or programme and sometimes sponsored by a local or regional authority. We are cooperating in many places. But the reason we are undertaking this trial with DHL is precisely because they are global and can give an overall picture. But it is not the first deal, it won’t be the last, and we expect to obtain some very interesting results.”

Within the market, are you seeing increased interest from international fleets in electric vehicles?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “Yes, it has really been accelerating over recent weeks, maybe pushed on by the pollution problems to some degree, because electric vehicles were allowed to drive anywhere and at any time, by contrast with traditionally-powered vehicles. But I think there are two phases. The first phase was all about getting experience of EV’s in real time, when being used every day in the fleet. Now we are coming to the second phase, when these customers are saying that they can envisage putting these vehicles into their fleets not just as a type of trial, but really to use them in order to reduce CO2 emissions and in order to avoid restrictions on traditionally-powered cars in some places.”

Do you have to offer extra fleet services within your package because the use of the vehicle is different from a petrol or diesel vehicle?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “I don’t think that the use of an e-car is particularly different from an ICE vehicle. But with the customers opting for EV’s we do indeed have to look at those situations where the daily mileage is lower, because of the reduced range of an EV. For customers who wish to go close to the car’s range limitations we do need to make sure there are services such as navigation systems and telematics in place. Route planning to make sure you do not exceed the realistic range. So to keep energy use down, the technology levels on EV’s tend to be higher – but I should add that if you included these technological features on conventional cars you would also make some running cost savings.”

How do you see growth in the international fleet market for EV’s this year?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “We clearly see growth, but we have always said we don’t commit to precise figures or market expectations. We just want to be very present in the markets because we expect growth over the next few years and significant growth for EV’s by 2020. People are getting more and more interested in alternatives to conventional cars.”

Does this mean the price will come down?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: For fleet customers, the actual purchase price is not of overriding importance. What is really important is the running cost, the residual value… The purchase price is just one element for fleet customers, the TCO is the most important. And in the long term the price of petrol is going to increase, we all know that. All of these factors mean that zero emissions driving will become more interesting, independent of the ticket price.”

Do you have a last point you would like to make?
Uwe Hochgeschurtz: “I would like to say that although we had a lot of discussions about electric vehicles in France and Paris over recent weeks due to the pollution peaks, it would be nice to have these discussions without the emotion caused by such events. It would be nice to talk about what is going to happen over the next few years so that we can look at zero emission transport in the right way and on the longer term.”

Read also the news 'A Kangoo Z.E. fleet at Deutsche Post DHL'

Authored by: Steven Schoefs