Renault Master Z.E. practicality and load space
There’s no question that the Renault Master Z.E. is the most spacious electric vehicle currently on sale in the UK. Of course, it’s also one of the most utilitarian, and there are no passenger or minibus versions on offer just yet, so it only really has seats for three.
Most of the space is behind the bulkhead, and there are four different panel vans on offer, called SL31, SM31, MM31 and LM31. The 31 refers to the Master Z.E.’s gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 3.1 tonnes, while the SL is a short-wheelbase low-roof van, SM is short wheelbase with a medium roof, MM medium wheelbase and roof and LM long-wheelbase and a medium roof.
As standard, the Master Z.E. has a single sliding door and twin 'barn doors' at the back. These doors open through 180 degrees, while 270-degree opening is available as an option. A second side door is available, as is glazing for all doors.
Two platform cabs are also offered, named ML31 and LL31, which again have a 3.1-tonne GVW and come in medium and long-wheelbase variants. These two models have a lower height than traditional chassis cabs and are designed to have custom bodywork added. A payload up to 1,740kg allows for conversions, including the possibility of a Luton low-loader of up to 20 cubic metres, with the advantage of a low loading sill.
A chassis-cab version was added to the range in July 2020, with a maximum payload of 1,620kg before conversion. This allows for a whole host of conversions including tipper, dropside and Luton box van.
Renault Master Z.E. interior space, storage & comfort
There’s a 1+2 seat layout in the Master Z.E., with the driver’s seat getting height adjustment and an armrest. The other two seats are fixed in place, but the cab is vast, so there should be no arguments about elbow room. The seats are comfortable, while the view out is good, with double wide-angle mirrors and an extra wide-angle mirror mounted on the passenger sun visor that gives the driver a better view of their blind spot on the nearside of the van.
The passenger seats have flip-up bases that reveal a large hidden storage area underneath, while there’s a big glovebox, deep door bins and storage trays on top of the dashboard. There’s a pull-out clipboard mounted in the top centre of the dash, while the roof is high enough to make room for overhead parcel shelves. You can add a suspended driver’s seat for added comfort, while height-adjustable passenger seats with armrests are available.
Cargo volume is the reason why the Master Z.E. exists, as it’s designed for businesses that need maximum load volume from an electric van. The four panel vans (SL31, SM31, MM31 and LM31) have load volumes of eight, nine, 10.8 and 13 cubic metres respectively. If cargo volume is what you need, then no other electric vehicle will come close until the VW e-Crafter and Mercedes e-Sprinter arrive next year.
If payload is what you need, then pay attention to the figures, because the amount of weight each van can carry decreases as you move up the range. The SL31 can carry 1.128 tonnes, while the SM31 carries 1.1 tonnes, the MM31 can take 1.056 tonnes and the long-wheelbase LM31 carries only 975kg. These are among the lowest payload weights of the Master range as a whole, further emphasising the Z.E.’s intended role as an urban multi-drop vehicle.
Access to the load area is simplicity itself. The side doors are 1.5-1.7 metres high, and the height of the load area inside is 1.7 metres high in the low roof van, and 1.894 metres in the medium-roof.