Renault boosts electric van performance, with the launch of new Master Z.E and improved Kangoo Z.E, says Dan Gilkes.
Renault is launching an electric version of its Master van, while extending the available range of the successful Kango Z.E. electric van line-up. With steadily growing sales of EVs, Renault sold more than 4,000 Kangoo Z.E. vans last year and has found homes for more than 25,000 of the LCVs since it was launched, the company is keen to build upon its electric expertise. This is thought to be particularly important as a growing number of cities state their desire to replace diesel-powered delivery vehicles in the coming years.
Master Z.E. will be available as a panel van in three body lengths and with two roof heights, covering the most popular models in the regular line-up with load volumes of 8m3 to 13m3. The electric Master will also be offered as an L3 chassis cab for a wide range of possible conversions, with bodies capable of handling up to 22m3.
Renault claims that the Master Z.E. vans will have payloads of 1,000-1,100kg, while the chassis cab will be able to offer a body and load capacity of up to 1,400kg. The vans are equipped with a 33kWh battery that has been designed to fit beneath the standard cab floor, so there is no loss of load volume in the rear of the van.
Motive force is provided by Renault’s R75 motor, already used in the firm’s ZOE electric car, with an output of 57kW (76hp) 225Nm of torque. This drives the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. The van will offer a top speed of 71mph, but is very much intended for lower speed urban last mile delivery use. With that in mind it boasts an NEDC range of 124 miles, or a realistic range of around 70 miles, with a six-hour charge time using a 7kW wall box.
Renault will offer a range of connectivity services specific to Master Z.E. through its R-Link system. This will include pre-conditioning of the vehicle prior to use, including setting heating and cooling functions while connected to a mains power supply. Fleets will also be able to set a speed limiter function and the van can be equipped with Renault’s Z.E. Voice system, that creates an audible warning for pedestrians at speeds of up to 18mph.
Master Z.E. will initially be offered in major European countries like the UK, France and Germany and should be on sale by the end of this year.
As mentioned, Kangoo Z.E. has been available for some years and has achieved many sales across Europe. The vans are being updated with the adoption of the same 33kWh battery and the R60 electric motor. This provides 44kW (60hp) and the same 225Nm of torque. More importantly the combination of battery and motor deliver a 50% boost in available range for Kangoo, taking the NEDC cycle up to a claimed 168 miles, from 106 miles previously. In real-life driving that should mean that operators will be able to go as far as 124 miles on a single charge.
This is partly due to a new battery, jointly developed by Renault and LG Chem, that offers increased energy density. Kangoo Z.E. also gets the new 7kW charger, providing a six-hour charge time from a 7kW wall box. It can also take on 22 miles of charge in one hour, for instance during a lunch break, making it possible for a delivery company to make two runs in a single day.
Both the revised Kangoo Z.E. and the new Master Z.E. also benefit from a new heat pump, that is linked to the air conditioning system, that maintains its autonomy even in colder temperatures. This limits the amount of power taken from the battery to run the heater/air conditioning, contributing to the extended range.
There are no prices available yet for Master Z.E. however Renault’s electric vehicle programme director Eric Feunteun said: “As you know from Kangoo Z.E. Renault’s strategy is always to have an affordable vehicle.”
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