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Renault and Volvo to create ‘revolutionary’ next-generation Flexis electric vans

The companies will work together to create a family of electric vans based on an EV-dedicated skateboard platform

Volvo and Renault Flexis van range

Renault Group and truck manufacturer Volvo Group are working together to create a new generation of fully electric vans, along with the French shipping and logistics company CMA CGM. The coalition has formed a new, independent company called Flexis, with the three companies behind it contributing expertise from their respective specialised fields. 

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Flexis will produce a family of commercial vehicles all based on a brand new EV-dedicated skateboard platform that features an 800-volt electrical architecture. The company says the platform will be highly versatile to accommodate different body styles, plus two types of batteries.

The first official image of the Flexis van line-up features a trio of models, including a traditional panel van, a Luton/box van and step-in van. The first of these will enter production in 2026, and all three will be manufactured in Renault’s Sandouville plant.

According to Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo, the Flexis panel van is more compact in terms of exterior dimensions than the existing mid-size Renault Trafic, but is more roomy inside and boasts a larger cargo capacity. Helping to achieve this is a completely flat floor made possible by the EV-native platform. A teaser image of the vehicles also shows the wheels have been pushed right to the corners maximising the wheelbase. 

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The step-in van is designed primarily for last-mile deliveries, helped by its tall shape but short dimensions. This particular model will be the same size as the small Renault Kangoo, claims de Meo, but has the cargo capacity of a medium panel van and a similar turning circle to a car.

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The Flexis vans will also use a Software Defined Vehicle (SDV) platform based on Google’s Android operating system. “This allows Google to go beyond the screen into the functions of the car,” says de Meo. This will also allow the vans to be connected to the Google Cloud and allow customers who buy large numbers to integrate their own software into the vehicles.

Another goal with the Flexis van project is to reduce the total cost of usage throughout the van’s life by 30 per cent. De Meo explained “if you imagine that in the life cycle of such a product people spend between €100,000 and €120,000 to pay for the gasoline, to pay for maintenance, to pay for insurance, etc. If you reduce that by 30 per cent it means that basically people will be able to buy the car for free.”

Flexis will hope to capitalise on growth of the European market for electrified vans, which is expected to rise by 40 per cent each year until 2030. CMA CGM will invest up to 120 million euros in Flexis by 2026, while the Renault Group and Volvo Group plan to invest 300 million euros each over the next three years.

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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