Renault adds new models to Master ZE electric van range, increases payload

  • Master ZE Chassis Cab joins range alongside Panel Van and Platform Cab
  • Improved payload ratings of up to 1,740kg (1,490kg for Panel Van)
  • Available to order in October 2020, priced from £52,000 including PIVG

Renault has given its Master ZE large electric van an update for 2020, adding 3.5-tonne versions to increase the payload ratings and extending the range of available models – there’s now a chassis cab in addition to the previous panel van and platform cab variants. As a result, Renault claims the Master ZE ‘offers the widest variety’ of any large electric van.

Presumably it’s speaking here of the electric versions of the Volkswagen Crafter, MAN TGE and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter which are available in Europe (in very limited specification), as well as the Maxus LDV EV80 – which is the only other large electric van you can currently buy in the UK.

Though Renault may also be thinking ahead to the electric Fiat Ducato, which is also set to come in a wide range of versions.

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What different types of Master ZE are available now?

The Master ZE does now certainly gives you plenty of options. There are three lengths (L1, L2 and L3), three height options (H1 and H2), plus a choice of two gross vehicle weight (GVW) ratings of 3.1 and 3.5 tonnes (3,100kg and 3,500kg).

Renault Master ZE 2020 - Luton Box, side view, white

The newest member of the family is the Master ZE Chassis Cab, which is suitable for a variety of conversions, including Tipper, Dropside and Luton Box Van. With a payload rating before conversion of up to 1,620kg, this means Renault feels it can now guarantee a 1,000kg (1.0-tonne) payload in a 20 cubic metre box van, even with a tail lift fitted.

The Master ZE Platform Cab comes in two versions, and due to its even more skeletal nature a payload of up to 1,740kg before conversion. This is even available for conversion into a Luton Low-Loader with up 20 cubic metres of cargo volume and a super-low sill loading height – a notable stable of the standard Master’s conversion portfolio.

Renault Master ZE 2020 - Luton Low Loader, side view, white

The Master ZE panel van, meanwhile, comes in four versions with 9-13 cubic metres of load space and now up to as much as 1,490kg of payload. That’s a remarkable achievement when you consider the inevitable payload penalty of the batteries that power the electric drive system. Renault says this now makes a minibus conversion more viable.

How has Renault increased the Master ZE’s payload rating?

We were expecting to learn that some changes had been made to make the van lighter, but it turns out Renault’s changed something in the motor drive system instead. A new motor reducer – the part that takes the motor output and translates it into drive torque – allows it to carry more weight while travelling at the same speeds, apparently.

This has allowed Renault to add the new 3.5-tonne GVW option, increasing the payload rating while remaining satisfied with the vehicle’s performance.

Renault Master ZE 2020 - double-cab tipper, front view, white

In all panel van versions, the Master ZE continues to promise the same 75-mile driving range as before, and can be fully charged in six hours using a 7kW wallbox charging point (there is no option for quicker charging on this model, unfortunately).

What’s the price of the 2020 Master ZE electric van?

With the discount from the UK government Plug-in Van Grant (PIVG), Master ZE panel van prices start at £52,000 basic (excluding VAT) / £64,691 retail (including VAT).

Platform cabs cost from £51,500 / £64,091 and chassis cabs £50,400 / £62,771; a Luton Low Loader will set you back £58,950 / £73,031.

Order books open in August 2020, with first deliveries expected in November 2020.

Also read:

>> Our Renault Master ZE review

>> New Renault Zoe electric van – full details

>> The Parkers guide to electric vans

>> The best electric vans you can buy now

>> Electric vans coming soon