Renault, Volvo and logistics provider CMA CGM, have officially launched their electric van joint venture – Flexis SAS. Renault and Volvo each hold 45% stakes and are planning to invest €300m each over the course of the next three years. CMA CGM said it will invest €120m ($130m) by 2026 and has already acquired a 10% stake in the business.

The three partners signed a non-binding agreement in October 2023, which has now met regulatory approval.

Renault Group, Volvo Group and CMA CGM Group launch Flexis SAS

Flexis SAS will make electric LCVs at Renault’s Sandouville plant in France

Flexis will be based in France and will start making electric vans on a new fully electric light commercial vehicle (LCV) skateboard platform at Renault’s Sandouville plant from 2026.  The plant has specialised in the production of LCVs since 2014 and makes Trafic vans for Renault and its partners. 

French battery maker Verkor, in which Renault has a 20% stake, will be supplying the batteries for the vans. Last year Renault signed a supply deal with Verkor for the long-term supply of batteries from 2025.

Read more about battery supply chain developments in Europe

Flexis is being led by CEO Philippe Divry who moves from his role as senior vice-president of group trucks strategy at Volvo Group. Krishnan Sundararajan, former managing director of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, has been appointed chief commercial officer (COO). The company will recruit 550 people over the next four years.

CMA CGM said the European market for electrified vans is expected to grow by 40% per year up to 2030 and Flexis had been formed to meet demand and decarbonise transport and logistics.

“This is a comprehensive and innovative partnership,” said Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO, CMA CGM Group, when the venture was first announced. “Not only are we investing in this project, but we will also bring our know-how and expertise to ensure inbound and outbound logistics, while some of these vehicles could ultimately be used to decarbonise our fleet. 

The logistics provider is funding the €120m investment in Flexis through its Pulse investment fund which is aimed at fostering the decarbonisation of the logistics supply chain.

In a separate venture with Maersk, CMA CGM is also working on decarbonising its ocean transport through the adoption of alternative fuels such as LNG and bio-methanol.