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Renault Master E-Tech review 2024

Overall Rating: /10

Renault cut its teeth in electrification with compact vans, pioneering the market with the critically acclaimed Kangoo Z.E, followed by the equally well- received Kangoo E-Tech.
The brand's progress in the large electric van sector has proven trickier: it launched the Master Z.E in 2018 with power coming from a 33kWh battery, giving it a range of just 74 miles. Although Renault introduced a 52kWh battery four years later with the first Master E-Tech, range only increased to a fairly modest 125 miles, and power remained at a paltry 76hp.
Renault is hoping to make a bigger impression with the 2024 Master E-Tech, and with its aggressive new front grille it's not likely to go under the radar.
"We want it to be recognisable on the road," says Renault Master programme leader Helene Carvalho.
Renault offers the Master E-Tech with 143hp (105kW) or 129hp (96kW) electric motors, both with up to 300Nm of torque and two batteries, at 40kWh and 87kWh. The larger battery gives the E-Tech a

claimed range of more than 285 miles, which is significantly higher than the maximum 197 miles quoted for the Ford E-Transit and a slight increase compared to the 261 miles Stellantis claims for its stable of large electric vans from Citroen, Fiat Professional, Peugeot and Vauxhall. The power on tap may still not look spectacular, but Renault claims the main innovation is a 20% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency compared to the previous Master, plus better battery regeneration, which has allowed it to extend the van's range and set a maximum payload of 1,625kg.
"We need less battery capacity than our competitors, the cost of usage will be lower and we have also preserved the payload," explains Zakaria Zeghari, Renault's vice president of global sales and marketing for light commercial vehicles.
To make the aerodynamic improvement, Carvalho says Renault redesigned the van's exterior from the ground up. Changes include shortening the bonnet, tilting
the windscreen and moving it further

forward, streamlining the wing mirrors, air intake ducts in the bumper and roofline slope and making the rear of the vehicle narrower. Renault claims the new Master E-Tech is 27% more power-efficient than its predecessor.
The new Master is built on a multi- energy platform that accommodates the E-Tech as well as a 2.0-litre diesel Blue DCi version with three power outputs of 130hp, 150hp and 170hp, which can be wedded to six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmissions. Renault promises a hydrogen version of the Master will join the platform in 2025.
The approach leads to economies of scale and means all derivatives of the Master share the same architecture, which, Renault points out, should ease the way for businesses transitioning from ICE- powered vans to BEVS.
In a possible case of wanting to have it both ways, Renault says the S-shaped dashboard in the cabin is inspired by the

driver-focused interiors of trucks to create a 'car like' environment.
Carvalho describes the space as being "like a cockpit" with improved ergonomics compared to the previous Master. A 10in touchscreen is standard across the Master line-up, as part of the OpenR Link multimedia system that enables Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, replicating a smartphone screen on the display. OpenR Link with Google built in is available as an option on Advance trim and comes as standard with Extra. It includes Google Maps, the Google Play app catalogue and the voice-controlled Google Assistant. For the E-Tech, an Electric Route Planner can identify charging stations, set charging times and optimise battery costs, according to Renaut.
The manufacturer says a useful function of OpenR Link is its ability to integrate controls for conversion equipment into the multimedia system, allowing the driver to control, for example, a refrigerated unit from the touchscreen.

Our van was equipped with an excellent camera above the windscreen that fulfilled the function of a rearview mirror.
The cabin offers 135 litres of storage space, which is a 25% increase on the outgoing Master, according to Renault. Some provisions are more useful than others: the bins in the doors, for example, are positioned low down and difficult to reach from the front seats. The shelves on top of the dashboard, glovebox drawers and ceiling- mounted storage slot are more practical.
As is customary in contemporary van cabins, the middle seat folds down into a desk, the base of which houses a slot designed to store a laptop. There are a couple of USB ports too.
A pair of ingenious and initially confusing additions to the interior are the chunky cupholders positioned at either end of the dashboard that double up as grab handles to help driver and passengers get into the cab. Renault says the Master is endowed
with 20 driver assistance systems to protect occupants, pedestrians and other

road users. These include lateral stability control, automatic emergency braking and trailer stability assist systems. It also comes with intelligent speed assist to help the driver stay within the speed limit.
Renault offers the Master range in two lengths and two roof heights. Tested here is the L2H2 (medium length low roof) E-Tech Extra with the 87kWh battery and 105kW (143hp) electric motor. This model has a load area of 10.8m3 and a payload of 1,625kg. It can also carry 200kg on the roof and has a towing limit of 1.5-tonnes.
The load bed is accessed via twin rear doors and a nearside sliding door, which Renault says is 40mm wider than on the old model. In addition, the load length has been stretched by 100mm. An adapter in the load bed allows the battery to power tools on work sites.
With a 500kg weight in the back, the van delivered impressive performance on open roads, and a turning circle that Renault says has been reduced by 1.5m to 12.8m helps manoeuvrability in urban settings, as does the new electrically-assisted steering that is much lighter and faster than the old mechanical system, which contributes to sharp handling and a more relaxing drive. More compliant suspension also means you arrive at your destination after a long drive feeling reasonably fit for purpose.

Well suppressed wind and road surface noise also helps in this respect.
The sporty-styled steering wheel is pleasant to hold, is adjustable for rake and

reach and features steering wheel-mounted controls, including a stalk to switch between the two available regenerative braking modes -D and B. B mode is not overly harsh and Renault says its dynamic braking system provides a braking boost and responds faster to boost active safety, as well as turning the kinetic energy from deceleration into electric power to charge the battery and extend its range. The system can harvest up to 95kW of energy this way, according to the manufacturer. Safety is further boosted by all-round sensors and a rear reversing camera.
The front seats are heated and the driver's perch gets lumbar support and an arm rest. There are just two driving modes to choose between, Normal and Eco. The latter takes away 30% of the available power but does not affect climate control. It's quite a surprise to find an electric van with an ignition key and an old-school handbrake, but Renault says an automatic brake will come on board next year, as will adaptive cruise control. Renault states a 130 kW DC fast charge adds 157 miles of range in 30 minutes while a 22 kW AC home wallbox tops up the battery from 10% to 100% in under 4 hours.
A price tag from £37,500, excluding VAT and including the £5,000 Plug-in Van Grant, should make the Master E-Tech extremely competitive, putting the van in the same ball park as the Ford E-Transit and offering savings compared to the Iveco eDaily and Mercedes-Benz eSprinter.

There's no doubt it is a big improvement over its predecessor.

Renault Master E-Tech

Price: £- £

Power: 76 - 76
Torque: 259 - 259Nm
Payload: 800 - 1250kg
Volume/Area: 8 - 15
Loadspace Length Max: - mm
Things We Like:
New bigger battery
Things We Like Less:
Overall: /10

Driving: /10
Interior: /10
Practicality: /10
Value: /10
First Published: May 18, 2024
Last Modified: July 16, 2024  
Written by: thevanreviewer

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