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Launch Report: Renault Trucks Master Z.E.

Renault Trucks joins the electric van revolution with a host of Master Z.E. conversions, says Dan Gilkes.

SECTOR Large e-LCV   Power 57kW   Gross weight 3,100kg   Max payload 1,128kg

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Renault Trucks has launched its own line of Master Z.E. electric vans and chassis. The truck business will offer six versions of the electric LCV, with three chassis lengths and two roof heights in the panel van models, including an L1H2 model. It will also provide a growing number of ready-bodied conversions, as part of the Ready for Business range.

As with the Renault car and van business, all of the Renault Trucks Master Z.E. vans will initially come with a gross weight of 3.1-tonnes. Despite being a lower overall weight than some competitive electric vans, Renault Trucks promises at least 1.0-tonne of payload for the majority of models. The company also claims that 86% of 3.5-tonne vans operating in London rarely exceed three-quarters of their maximum payload, making this an ideal weight for an electric LCV.

The vans are powered by a 76bhp electric motor, delivering 225Nm of torque. The Master’s lithium-ion battery pack has a 33kWh capacity, that should provide up to 75 miles of realistic driving range, with a full charge taking up to six hours on a 7.4kW charging point.

The Master Z.E. will be well equipped, with adaptive cruise control, a reversing camera and sensors as standard and a host of options, including on-board weighing and telematics.

Where Renault Trucks has taken the lead though, is in coming to market with a growing range of ready-bodied vehicles from day one. This includes the Master Urban Chiller, a minibus, a crew cab and a powered access platform.

The Urban Chiller, which can be ordered on a range of wheelbases and roof heights, uses Thermoking’s latest battery-powered refrigeration system, rather than calling upon the traction battery’s available power to run the fridge. This provides ambient or chilled temperatures, though cannot run to a frozen cabinet.

The fridge van conversions of panel vans are carried out by CoolKit, while chassis cab box conversions use a Solomons box body. Renault Trucks says that the electric fridge conversion takes around 180kg of payload compared to an engine-driven fridge unit.

People-carrying models from Minibus Options are available in nine and 17-seat configurations, based on the medium and long wheelbase vans. Crew cab models can also be specified on the medium wheelbase and long wheelbase vans, or on the short wheelbase model.

The Master Z.E. access platform is equipped with an electric boom from converter CPL, mounted on a cut-away panel van. The boom, which has a working height of 13.8m and an outreach of 8.2m, is designed to raise and lower up to 30 times on a single battery charge. That should be more than enough for most utility customers on a daily basis.

While all of these Ready for Business vans can be ordered as finished vans from Renault Trucks dealers, there are also fully customisable models on offer, designed to meet specific customer needs.

 

The Lowdown

Strengths Range of ready-bodied vehicles

Weaknesses Limited DRIVING range & low gross weight

 

The Verdict

Rather than launching a me-too product line, Renault Trucks has focused on its specialist customer needs.

 

Rating: ****

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Written by Dan Gilkes

Dan has been a commercial vehicle and construction equipment journalist for almost 30 years. An automotive engineer and former fleet manager, he has driven almost every van, pickup and truck that has been launched in Europe over that time. As editor of VFW, his aim is to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in the light commercial world.

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