With the medium-sized Trafic E-Tech complementing the compact Kangoo E-Tech and large Master E-Tech, Renault says it will have a full line-up of electric vans.
Order books are now open for the Trafic E-Tech, which is expected to arrive in UK showrooms from May next year.
It features a 52kWh battery that delivers a range of up to 186 miles on the WLTP cycle – although Renault claims this can get close to 230 miles if the van is confined to purely urban routes. A 90kW (122hp) motor delivers 245Nm of torque. An Eco mode optimises range and, in addition, a ‘Long Range’ mode limits speed to 56mph but stretches WLTP range to a claimed 200 miles.
The Trafic E-Tech line-up is available in two lengths; 5,080mm or 5,480mm, and two heights; 1,967mm or 2,498mm. Load volumes span from 5.8m3 to 8.9m3 and, courtesy of a ‘trap door’ in the bulkhead, the maximum load length is 4,150mm while top payload across the Trafic E-Tech range is 1,100kg.
The MyRenault App promises to allow customers to schedule battery charging, monitor battery state of charge remotely, pre-heat the cab and identify charging points on route.
Charging options from 15% to 80% capacity range from 12 hours with a 3.7kW domestic socket down to one hour via a 50kW DC charger. In between, Renault says a 22kW AC charger will deliver an 80% charge in one hour 25 minutes and a 50km (32 mile) boost in 25 minutes.
Tested here is the L2H1 Trafic E-Tech in left-hand drive. It comes with a 950kg payload and a useful towing capacity of 920kg as well as a load space of 7.8m3. The load bay can be accessed by twin rear doors and side doors on both flanks of the van.
As you would expect with an electric van, the Trafic E-Tech pulls away smartly from a standstill and is smooth, quiet and civilised on the road, whether negotiating city streets or tackling extra-urban routes. Ride quality was generally good, progress no doubt being calmed by a 300kg weight in the load bed – although the ride was a little unforgiving when passing over speed humps at anything faster than a crawl.
Renault claims its intention with the electric version of the Trafic is to present operators with a familiar driving experience and in-cabin environment.
In so far as the E-Tech comes with an old-school style handbrake and gear lever that looks like the one in the diesel van, it has succeeded. The similarity extends to the gear lever casement intruding so far into the cab as to steal any legroom afforded to the middle-seat passenger.
In terms of cutting-edge electric van design, the Trafic E-Tech is not in the same league as the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo. It is in fact more like the German brand’s ABT eTransporter, which retained most of the characteristics of the ICE model it was based upon. It should be pointed out, though, that the Renault has a far better battery range than the VW’s 82 miles.
Surprisingly, the Trafic E-Tech has just one level of regenerative braking in contrast to its little brother, the Kangoo E-Tech, which offers three levels of retardation. Renault justified this to What Van? by claiming that the Kangoo is more likely to be driven by small businesses and owner-drivers while the Trafic would often be shared between more drivers interchanging on larger fleets, where keeping it simple is an advantage. The car maker also said the Kangoo E-Tech was more likely to operate in urban environments where regenerative braking, that enables one-pedal driving, is more advantageous.
The cabin offers decent storage provision, including a non-lockable glove box, a shelf on the dashboard with a pair of USB plugs and biggish door bins. A generous and discreet stowage space can also be found underneath the middle seat. The seats are comfortable, but we could have done with grab handles to help us clamber into the cab.
Front and rear parking sensors plus a good rear-view camera help take the stress out of tricky manoeuvres in tight spaces. The van also comes with Renault’s now tried and trusted blind spot mirror in the passenger sun visor.
In terms of the Trafic E-Tech’s comparatively conservative styling or an electric van, Renault will be hoping familiarity breeds content with customers.
Renault Trafic Van E-Tech L2 H1
Price (ex VAT) tbc
Price range (ex VAT, inc. PIVG) tbc
Insurance group tbc
Warranty 3yrs/100,000mls (battery 8yrs/100,000mls)
Service intervals (est) 24,000mls
Load length (with trap door) 4,150mm
Load width (min/max) 1,268mm/1,662mm
Load bay height 1,387mm
Gross payload 950kg
Load volume 7.8m3
Engine size/power 122hp electric motor with 52kWh battery
It may not boast ground breaking design but the Trafic E-Tech is a practical electric van.