LOAD STAR: NEW 100% ELEC­TRIC KANGOO VAN DOES THE BUSI­NESS

Re­nault’s Kangoo Z.E. 33 elec­tric van is a green, cost-sav­ing al­ter­na­tive for any­one who needs a mid-sized busi­ness ve­hi­cle, says Paul Con­nolly

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - FIRST DRIVE BY PAUL CON­NOLLY

RE­NAULT KANGOO Z. E.

WHAT’S NEW? Re­nault un­veiled a boost last year for its Kangoo Z.E. elec­tric van – a new mo­tor and bat­tery pack­age that in­creased the model’s driv­ing range by more than 50 per cent.

This gave the Kangoo an ideal-condi- tions range of 168 miles, and an of­fi­cial real-world range of 124 miles, which gave it with a sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage over ri­vals.

Th­ese are the sort of range fig­ures that man­u­fac­tur­ers could only dream of a few years ago.

And with bat­tery tech­nol­ogy gal­lop­ing ahead at a quick­en­ing pace, range anx­i­ety – the syn­drome where elec­tric ve­hi­cle driv­ers worry about run­ning out of power – will start to be­come a thing of the past.

Un­til then, vans like the Kangoo Z.E. will be for busi­nesses that don’t do big miles daily – or who do more miles but have ready ac­cess to com­mer­cial-grade rapid charg­ers. WHAT’S IT LIKE? Un­less you look closely, the Kango Z.E. 33 closely re­sem­bles a ‘nor­mal’ Kangoo van but one with an elec­tric mo­tor and bat­ter­ies un­der the bon­net in­stead of an in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine.

My re­view model, cour­tesy of Charles Hurst Re­nault, was a longer wheel­base model with lots of load space in the rear.

Elec­tric ve­hi­cles have sev­eral ad­van­tages over reg­u­lar mod­els, chiefly, very low fuel costs, low ve­hi­cle main­te­nance costs, zero emis­sions, and a lovely driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

After last year’s up­grade, the Z.E.33 boasts a new, Con­tin­ued on Page 2 >>

higher den­sity 33kwh bat­tery (hence the name ‘Z.E. 33’).

This means the new van can travel a longer dis­tance be­tween charges. The avail­able pay­load of up to 640kg (100.7-stone) re­mains un­changed.

The new Z.E.33 also ben­e­fits from a new, more ef­fi­cient, R60, 44Kw (60hp) elec­tric mo­tor.

As well as im­proved range, it boasts im­proved charg­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties – charg­ing from 0 to 100% in six hours, com­pared to eight hours (for a lower range) on the pre­vi­ous ver­sion – thanks to a new 32 amp charger.

Crew vari­ants al­low you to travel in a crew of five, whilst re­tain­ing a load vol­ume of 2.4m be­hind the rear bench.

The re­view van came pro­fes­sion­ally pan­elled in hard-wear­ing ply­wood, and ac­cess to tools and other equip­ment is easy due to slid­ing doors on ei­ther side as well as full-open­ing doors at the rear.

There are a wide range of par­ti­tions of­fered: tubu­lar, full steel bulk­head, glazed steel bulk­head, swing­ing mesh par­ti­tion or a multi-po­si­tional mesh al­low­ing a sec­ond row of seats or ad­di­tional load space on the Maxi 5-seater.

It’s a van, so no-one ex­pects car-level lux­ury. The cabin is hard-wear­ing, func­tional and eas­ily cleaned. But you can spec a range of Re­nault ex­tras like R-link mul­ti­me­dia, cruise control and metal­lic paint.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE? This is not just a van for eco-war­riors or or­gan­i­sa­tions seek­ing to min­imise their car­bon foot­print.

A sig­nif­i­cant value propo­si­tion lies in a use-case sce­nario in­volv­ing daily ur­ban us­age pat­terns that don’t in­volve long jour­neys.

Or po­ten­tially a com­pany or or­gan­i­sa­tion us­ing longer jour­neys which has ac­cess to com­mer­cial rapid charg­ers (th­ese can now charge ve­hi­cles to 80 per­cent within 30 min­utes).

The range starts from £14,799 on the road in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment EV grant and ex­clud­ing VAT.

My longer wheel­base re­view model costs £15,939 on the road also in­clud­ing the grant and mi­nus the VAT.

As bat­tery tech­nol­ogy im­proves, and de­mand for elec­tric ve­hi­cles grows, man­u­fac­tur­ers will en­ter a vir­tu­ous cir­cle, prices will come down and you will see more elec­tric ve­hi­cles on our roads. Watch this space.

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