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VFW Spotlight: Renault Master Z.E.

Renault is to launch a full electric version of the Master van, with UK sales in the third quarter of this year. The Master Z.E. will be available as a panel van in two wheelbases and two roof heights, offering load volumes of 8-13m3. There will also be L2 and L3 versions of the Master as a platform cab for conversions.

Renault Master Z.E.
Renault Master Z.E.

Electric drive

Master Z.E. uses the second-generation lithium-ion 33kWh battery from the latest Kangoo Z.E. 33. This drives the 57kW R75 electric motor from the firm’s Zoe electric car, giving the van a proven driveline. The top speed is 62mph and Renault claims a real-life driving range of around 74 miles (NEDC 124 miles). There is an Eco mode, that limits performance and top speed, which is said to extend the operating range further.

The van is equipped with a range of recharging options. A domestic 2.3kW plug will require up to 17-hours for a full top-up, while a 7.4kW wall box can provide a full charge in just six hours.

 

Fleet connection

Renault has also introduced Easy Connect for Fleet with Master Z.E. This is a data module that can be ordered with the van or that can be retrofit on Renault vans up to 10-years old. Initially using the on-board diagnostic port, but moving to the vehicle’s CAN system in the future, Easy Connect for Fleet provides all of the van’s operating data to a range of approved telematics suppliers, including Telogis and TomTom, making it easier for fleet managers to access real-time operating information.

 

Last-mile delivery

Unlike the competition, Renault has set the van’s gross weight at 3.1-tonnes, rather than 3.5 or the new 4.2-tonne limit for an e-LCV. The company believes that the majority of last-mile delivery companies value load volume over weight. That said, the 8m3 van offers a healthy 1,128kg payload and even the 13m3 van delivers 975kg of load-carrying ability.

The battery packs are installed below the standard load body floor, so there is no loss of load area and with front wheel drive the Master Z.E. retains a low load floor.

 

In the cab

The Master cab is unchanged, offering a comfortable working environment with plenty of options to tailor the interior to your individual needs. Master Z.E. has an automatic transmission lever to control the drive and there is a small button by the gear lever to vary the amount of regenerative braking. The dash is also changed to that of the Kangoo Z.E. with a battery level meter and an economy gauge.

For van’s equipped with Renault’s R-Link infotainment system, the My Z.E. Connect app allows the driver to view range on a smartphone or computer, while My Trip locates recharging points.

 

What we think

It is perhaps a sign of how good the van’s driveline is, that you can forget you are driving an e-LCV in an urban environment. Master Z.E. has more than enough acceleration to keep pace with city and inter-urban traffic and the van happily pulls a half load on more scenic roads. DG

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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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