A nine-seater, wheelchair-accessible electric minibus from Renault will provide emissions-free transport for services for disabled and vulnerable people in Kent.

The Renault Trucks Master ZE will be operated by Compaid, a charity providing services to disabled people in the South East of England. It is the first pilot vehicle in Kent CC's sustainable transport approach to assessing the longer-term financial and environmental benefits of electromobility.

The has been adapted to accommodate up to two wheelchair users by approved Renault Trucks converter, Minibus Options of Whaley Bridge. It will operate on Compaid's community transport operation, taking disabled and vulnerable people from Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas to the charity's training centre in Paddock Wood to learn computer skills. It will also be used to help local people access medical appointments and shopping trips.

With a range of up to 120km, the L2H2 Renault Trucks Master is powered by a 57kW Z.E. 100% electric engine, with 33kWh Lithium-ion battery mounted under the floor. The minibus is equipped with an electro-hydraulic tail lift to the rear entrance, which is charged on a separate battery. Its flexible seating allowance is multifunctional, accommodating nine seated passengers, seven seated passengers and one wheelchair user, or three seated passengers and two wheelchair users. 

Kent CC Cabinet Member for Transport Mike Whiting said: ‘It is fantastic that we have been able to secure this partnership with Renault Trucks in trialling a fully accessible Renault Master minibus. This trial will help us prove the capability of electric vehicles not only for public transport provision but also for other commercial operations. Kent CC is committed to continuing to show its green credentials and we have been developing an electric vehicle action plan and are currently out to consultation on our Energy and Low Emissions Strategy.'

To support electromobility across the county, Kent CC is expanding its network of electric vehicle charging points, to help reduce congestion, noise, and air quality issues.