Renault to offer hydrogen-powered Master van

Hydrogen-powered Renault Master ZE van to be offered for long-distance drivers.

Renault will reveal a new Master ZE Hydrogen van later in 2021 as an alternative to its diesel Master. It will be sold alongside the electric Master ZE and is being developed in conjunction with Renault’s hydrogen partner, Plug Power.

While the Master ZE is ideal for urban use, a range of under 160km means it’s not really suited to longer journeys, especially ones on higher-speed routes. This is where the Master ZE Hydrogen is intended to come in. The hydrogen-powered van will use the same electric drive system as the standard ZE, but the addition of hydrogen tanks means a far longer range is achievable.

Mark Sutcliffe, senior vice president of the Renault LCV Business Unit, confirmed that the hydrogen van is currently in development, and will be initially unveiled “later in 2021” before going on sale in Europe in 2022. He hinted that Renault is aiming for a range of “somewhere between 500km and 600km” for the new model. That means the Master Hydrogen should be able to cover around 500km before it needs refuelling, more than trebling the distance the Master ZE is capable of travelling before its batteries need recharging.

No further information has been revealed, aside from the fact that the model we’ll see later this year won’t be the final production version. Renault has been trialling hydrogen vans in France since 2019, with converted Master ZE and Kangoo ZE small vans racking up the miles. As well as a longer range, these vans are able to be refuelled faster than batteries can be charged, with a typical hydrogen top-up taking between 5-10 minutes.

Dean Gibson

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