Renault all business with electric Kangoo

Renault all business with electric Kangoo

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way straight away. Why are we talking about an electric vehicle in DieselTalk?

The government is now pushing the idea of electric vehicles on commercial fleets, going as far as continuing the exemption on RUC.

Increasingly for business, going green is making more sense from both pure cost savings, and for the image it presents to green-conscious customers.

DSC04674So what are the current options for the commercial fleet looking to go electric? Not a lot. Options for larger vehicles, so far, have been bespoke, and while retrofit options are coming – take NZ Bus’ deal with Wrightspeed – they are not on the open market yet.

At the light commercial end of the scale, the only option to date has been the Nissan E-NV200 from the used import trade.

Now there is a new option, with Renault launching its Kangoo ZE light van into the market – and it is already off with a prominent buyer.

DSC04676The Kangoo ZE is one of the vehicles underpinning Air New Zealand’s new, increasingly electric, vehicle fleet.
Small European vans have not exactly been big sellers in New Zealand, and Renault New Zealand has optioned to take the biggest of the Kangoo range, the Maxi.

It is a surprisingly large van. The load area totals 4.6 cubic metres, has a 1.86 metre long cargo bay, with 1.218 metres between the wheel arches. Payload is a healthy 650kg.

One of the Kangoo’s tricks that we particularly like was its system for lengthy cargo. The passenger seat folds flat into the floor, and a barrier swings around the driver, allowing lengths of up to 2.7 metres to be carried.

DSC04677The niceties are there for the driver – manual air conditioning, a surprisingly good stereo with MP3 and Bluetooth, and remote central locking.

But it is electric 

The only real difference between this Kangoo and others is of course the electric drivetrain, so comparatively cheap running costs.

The Kangoo has a 44kW engine, which sounds tiny, but produces 226Nm of torque, which is more than sufficient – so much so that we found ourselves running in the down-powered range-extending Eco mode.

DSC04678But that comes with the balance of limited range. Renault New Zealand told Auto Media Group that the realistic range for an operator is around 100km per charge, depending on load.

That checked out in our 24-hour test, although like most users, we never used the full range of the vehicle, instead topping up between runs with the New Zealand-supplied 8-amp charger.

Higher charging options are available if you are willing to install a higher amperage plug. A full charge will take up to 12 hours, but more powerful chargers bring that down – and you rarely charge from empty.

Renault told us those trialing the van have found the range more than sufficient. Over 24 hours we ran from Mt Wellington to the Auckland CBD, from the city to Albany, Albany to Mt Wellington, Mt Wellington to the city, city to Albany, and Albany to Mt Wellington.

We topped up twice, simply as the Kangoo was doing nothing, and never had an issue with range.
Who will use it?

Other than corporates looking for some good EV-based public relations, who will buy the Kangoo ZE?
It makes a lot of sense for small businesses which can stretch out the vehicle cost over a long time, or larger fleets doing last mile deliveries.

I also think tradies could be a potential market. We spoke to a carpet layer who says he barely does 150km a week to jobs, and most large items are delivered to site.

Those tradies are also the ones willing to pay this much for a vehicle – there are plenty currently paying $60k plus for a ute, not too far from the ZE’s $74,990 price tag – or $77,990 for the five-seat crew van option.

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