The Renault commercial vehicle range has added two new electric models in the form of the updated Renault Kangoo ZE and new Renault Master ZE.
The revamped Kangoo ZE has a new 33kWh battery and a new 45kW electric motor, as well as a new faster charging system, with its range increasing by more than 50 per cent to 270 kilometres, up from 170km in the pre-facelift model. The drivetrain is a downsized version of that fitted to the Zoe city car, which recently saw a range bump to 400km.
Renault claims that while the 270km range is higher, "in real use, on a delivery cycle, the vehicle would have a range of around 200km with a single load" - but that still means it "has a greater available range than any other electric LCV". The brand claims the 7kW AC charger should take about six hours to charge it up.
And because the Kangoo ZE is going to be used pre-eminently in Europe, where it gets properly cold in winter, the brand's new heat pump that is hooked up to the air-conditioning should help maintain decent range in colder conditions.
The much larger Master ZE model has a lower electric range of 200km, and as such Renault is claiming that it will be "aimed primarily at fleets running last-mile distribution services in the city, as well as large municipalities and local government".
The Master ZE also has a 33kWh battery pack teamed to a 57kW electric motor that is also spawned from the Zoe city car. Its charge time is claimed at six hours from a 7kW wall box.
The Kangoo ZE will go on sale in Europe mid-2017, while the Master ZE is destined to be on sale to fleets in that part of the world by the end of the year.
As part of the new model range Renault has also introduced a new connected telematics system that allows fleet managers to keep an eye on their vehicles for cost of ownership concerns, and the system can also help the manager figure out when the vehicles may need maintenance based on specific driving styles.
The new additions means Renault's electric vehicle range now consists of four models, with the two cargo carriers sold alongside the Twizy quadricycle and Zoe city car, which is available in a van-style version with a handy 400km of range.
Renault Australia has run trials with the existing Kangoo ZE van locally, but there appears to be no way forward for the brand in offering a vehicle to the public.
"Electric vehicles are a strength of the Renault-Nissan Alliance globally and as such, are something we continue to investigate locally," said Renault Australia corporate communications manager, Mel Cross.
"Unfortunately, there is very little government support for alternative fuels and EV in Australia – unlike many other countries – which prohibits us from being able to provide this technology at an affordable price."