Renault Master Z.E. electric motor, drive & performance

The Renault Master Z.E. has modest performance, but it can cope with reasonable loads

Some electric cars make a show of their searing acceleration. And while most electric vehicles are rapid off the line, the sheer size and bulk of the Renault Master Z.E. means it’s not one of them. The Master shares running gear with the Kangoo Z.E., so you get a 76bhp electric motor. But the addition of the 33kWh battery to the large Master body bumps up its kerbweight to two tonnes unladen, so performance is blunted.

Still, the Master Z.E. is fast enough to keep pace with traffic, as long as you don’t press the Eco button. This limits the Master’s top speed to 50mph, which is good for energy saving, but throttle response is also dulled, making the van seem slow off the line. You feel like you need to push the throttle harder to compensate for the poor response, thereby canceling out the positive effect the Eco button is supposed to have.

Renault Master Z.E. electric motor, 0-62mph and acceleration

The 75bhp electric motor is sourced from the Kangoo and ZOE electric models, so it’s only a modest performer – in comparison, the forthcoming VW e-Crafter has a 134bhp electric motor, so will easily be able to outsprint the Master Z.E. There’s no official 0-62mph time for the Renault, but the same electric motor in the Kangoo Z.E. gives it a 0-62mph time of 14 seconds, so the Master’s not going to be any quicker than that.

Handling

The Master Z.E. is arguably an easier van to drive than the diesel version. It’s automatic as standard, so there’s no gearbox to deal with, while the silent running of the electric motor means it's pretty quiet and refined.

The weight of the batteries makes the Master relatively stable and unruffled by bumps, while the only noise really comes from the tyres, wing mirrors and the sound of bumps shuddering through the big body. Renault fits the same noise generator in the Master Z.E. as found in the rest of the range. This emits a futuristic whirring hum at speeds up to around 20mph, so other road users know of its presence. Go faster than that, and the van’s general tyre and wind noise is louder than the sound generator.