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World-first hydrogen LCVs from Renault

Renault Kangoo ZE and Master ZE to get hydrogen fuel-cell range-extender

23 Oct 2019

RENAULT has added hydrogen power to its range of environmentally friendly vehicles, committing to range-extender fuel-cell versions of its electric Kangoo ZE and Master ZE light-commercial vehicles.


Although a lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure will likely skittle any plans to introduce the technology to Australia any time soon, the French company is planning to introduce a left-hand-drive version of the Kangoo ZE Hydrogen in Europe before the end of the year, followed up by a similar Master ZE Hydrogen van and cab-chassis utility in the first quarter of next year.


The move makes Renault the first company to put hydrogen light-commercial vehicles into mass production.


Rivals Hyundai, Toyota and Honda all have passenger cars in production, albeit in small numbers and limited markets. Hyundai has also developed hydrogen fuel-cell buses and appears to be forging ahead with hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, including the HDC-6 Neptune that is about to be shown in concept form at a commercial vehicle show in the United States.


Unlike the full fuel-cell technology pursued by the Asian manufacturers, the French company is treating its version as a range-extender for its existing all-electric vehicles.


Renault says electricity generated by the fuel cell will triple the driving range of the Master ZE, from 120km to 350km, while the Kangoo ZE’s range goes from 230km to 370km.


The hydrogen tank and 10kW fuel-cell pack – developed in partnership with Michelin subsidiary Symbio – add 110kg to the Kangoo ZE’s kerb weight, taking it up to about 1520kg.


The load capacity comes down from about 4.6 square metres to 3.9sq m.


Refuelling takes between five and 10 minutes, compared with up to six hours for the battery ZE on a 7kW wallbox.


The Master ZE Hydrogen gets two hydrogen fuel tanks which, along with the fuel cell, add 200kg to the bulk without impinging on load space that, depending on variant, can be up to 20 sq m.


Renault Nissan Alliance senior vice-president for LCV Denis Le Vot said the hydrogen range-extender versions of the Kangoo ZE and Master ZE completed the electrified ranges for these models.


“These vehicles provide professionals with all the range they require for their long-distance journeys as well as record charging times,” he said. “And the advantages do not stop there, as Renault Master ZE Hydrogen and Renault Kangoo ZE Hydrogen can run on decarbonised energy that respects the environment while offering all the comfort of electric driving.”


Renault Australia sells the Kangoo ZE in this market but not the electric versions of the Master that comes in van, minibus and cab-chassis forms.


In France, hydrogen refuelling stations already exist in some locations, including Paris where a fleet of hydrogen fuel-cell taxis provided by Hyundai pioneered the technology in real-world driving conditions.

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