NEWS ANALYSIS: Renault Trucks weighs into the electric market

Date: Friday, February 7, 2020   |   Author: Steve Banner

The HGV manufacturer is targeting the panel van and conversion sectors with its 3.5t plug-in vehicles, Steve Banner reports.

The brand believes it should sell 100-plus Master Z.E. models during 2020

Renault Trucks is to launch an electric 3.5t Master Z.E. in both van and chassis cab guise.

Due in May, the newcomer will offer roughly 350kg more payload than the existing 3.1t Master Z.E. and will be fitted with a more powerful electric motor.

“We’re keeping the 3.1-tonner in the range though because at 1,100kg its payload capacity is more than enough for the parcels delivery companies,” says Grahame Neagus, UK head of light commercial vehicles.

Having a 3.5-tonner with its extra payload capability will make it easier for Renault Trucks to market electric tippers and also refrigerated vans under its Ready for Business conversions programme.

Power for the tipping gear and fridge units will be provided by separate lithium-ion battery packs so that the traction batteries will not be depleted, and the refrigerated Master Z.E. models will be chilled only. A fully frozen conversion would draw too much energy.

“We’re looking at offering cherry-pickers for the maintenance of street lighting among other tasks on the 3.5-tonner too,” says Neagus.

Zero-emission electric cage tippers and cherry-pickers are likely to be especially popular among local authorities as well as their subcontractors. Neagus is now also in charge of a major push by Renault Trucks to achieve more municipal sales across its entire range. He is targeting all 410 of the UK’s key local councils.

“Something else the availability of a 3.5t Z.E. will enable us to do is offer a zero-emission 12-seater minibus conversion,” says Neagus. It could prove popular with local authority social services departments.


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