Since its first appearance on the road, Renault’s pure electric Kangoo Van Z.E. 33 has been winning plaudits across the board, and having spent some time behind the wheel recently, courtesy of Charles Hurst Renault, Export & Freight’s Phil Eaglestone is not at all surprised..
The fact that its range has been extended to what Renault call ‘a real-world’ distance of 125 miles on a single charge, thanks to the new Z.E. 33 battery, has made the van more attractive than ever; previously the range was around 75 miles.
Our test drive model was a two-seater Kangoo Maxi which boasted a load capacity of up to 4.6m3, with a load length of just over 2 metres – and this can be extended by a further 0.8 metres if you specify the optional folding passenger seat; payload is up to 640kgs, and a roof hatch can also be added for carrying ladders, all of which makes it a practical proposition for a wide range of tradesmen who want to boost their ‘green’ credentials without compromising their daily work schedule.
Available in a range of body styles, including Kangoo Van Z.E.33, Kangoo Maxi Z.E.33, Kangoo Maxi Crew Van Z.E.33 and Kangoo Maxi Crew Van Cab Z.E.33, it also benefits from improved charging capabilities – charging from 0 to 100 per cent in six hours, compared to eight hours with a lower range on the previous version – all thanks to a new 32 amp charger – and you have the ability to ‘top-up’ the vehicle by up to 21 miles in just one hour. With a socket located above the grill at the front of the van, recharging is a simple process.
In addition, an optional permanent ECO mode is also available, increasing the range up to 10% by modifying the throttle response and applying ECO engine maps whilst allowing you to access rapid acceleration when required. The mode can now be permanently activated to ensure you are always achieving the optimum range.
Regarded by many as being at the forefront of the electric LCV market, Renault’s Kangoo Z.E. performs every bit as well as its diesel equivalent, too. It is really easy to drive, it is responsive and comfortable – and it enjoys the same high spec which includes electrically operated door mirrors, electric front windows, dashboard with A4 storage, cloth upholstery, load area lighting, central storage tray between front seats, height adjustable steering wheel and driver’s seat, and more than adequate anchorage points in load area.
It also comes with a comprehensive safety specification including ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, driver’s airbag, Electronic Stability Control with Hill Start Assist and remote central locking.
Because of its silent running, Z.E.-specific equipment available includes Voice Alert to let pedestrians know there is an electric vehicle in the vicinity. How innovative is that? There is also a pre-heating function enabling passengers to heat the vehicle up before driving it, especially helpful on winter mornings!
Motor racing fans might also appreciate the fact that the Renault Kangoo Z.E. utilises F1 Technology; its regenerative braking system helps charge the battery when decelerating, recovering energy that would otherwise be lost.
Out on the open road, it is a dream to drive, like we have already mentioned, with near-silent running, gearshift-free, tight turning circle and, of course, zero tailpipe emissions; yes, it is a very real alternative to a diesel van, and quite clearly a deserved winner of many awards, among them ‘Best Electric Van’, ‘Best Electric/Hybrid Van’, and ‘Best Green Van,’ underlining its usability, efficiency, instant pulling power and operating range.
It also enjoys ultra low running costs. We are told it works out at less than 3p a mile; the cost per each full charge is around £3. Beat that!
So, how do I get one, you ask? There are two routes to choose from. Firstly, you have the option of leasing the battery, which not only reduces the purchase price but also gives you peace of mind. You only pay for what you need and your payments can be personalised to suit you. Alternatively, you can buy the battery outright with the vehicle.
Owning an electric vehicle, of course, means you need to have good access to charging points at home and on the road. As more and more electric vehicles appear on our roads, the charging network grows accordingly. Currently, there are almost 400 charging points across Northern Ireland alone – and at the last count, there were over 13,000 charging points spread across 4,500 locations throughout the rest of the UK, so no worries on that front!
And something else to bear in mind: from 2019, all new homes built in the UK will have to have an electric vehicle charging point installed as standard. Yes, the future is bright, the future is electric, but don’t take our word for it: discover for yourself by booking a test drive in the Renault Kangoo Z.E.