CMA CGM builds e-vans with Renault and Volvo

French shipping company CMA CGM has founded a joint venture for electric delivery vans together with car manufacturers Renault and Volvo. The aim is to revolutionise the transport of goods over the last mile.

With increasing pressure from climate change and CO2 regulations on commercial customers and the boom in e-commerce and logistics, new expectations are being placed on electrified vans. The European market for electrified vans is expected to grow by 40% per year until 2030. [ds_preview]

To address this market, CMA CGM has joined the founding circle around Flexis SAS, created on 22 March 2024 by the Renault Group and the Volvo Group to develop and build the “next generation” of electric vans. The three global players in their respective industries say they want to master the challenges of the energy transition in LCV and last-mile logistics.

The Renault Group and the Volvo Group will each hold 45% of the shares and plan to invest €300 million each over the next three years. CMA CGM has acquired a 10% stake in Flexis SAS through its energy fund PULSE and confirmed its interest in a strategic investment of up to €120 million by 2026.

Philippe Divry will be appointed CEO of the new company and Krishnan Sundararajan COO. Flexis will be based in France, according to Renault. The all-electric vans, based on a connected-electronics platform, will be manufactured at the Renault Group’s Sandouville plant in France, which specialises in the production of light commercial vehicles and will hire 550 new employees over the next four years.

“The vehicles will be built on a new all-electric LCV skateboard platform that offers high modularity for different body types at a competitive cost and a breakthrough in safety requirements,” Renault said. With the new connected electronic platform, the vehicle has unprecedented capabilities to monitor users’ delivery activities and business performance, which could reduce global utilisation costs for logistics companies by up to 30%.

The connected services will enable customers to benefit from modern vehicles throughout their lifecycle. The van itself will offer outstanding capacity for urban mobility and high polyvalence for customised solutions with different battery capacities. It will also have the first 800-volt electric system on the market for vehicles in this category.

The French shipping and logistics group CMA CGM is also expanding its portfolio in the media sector with the acquisition of Altice Media, “the leading provider of live news in France”.

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