Techies 2011 - Best Green Development - Manufacturer: Renault Business Electric Vehicles
23 August 2011
In the words of one judge, this award goes to a company "putting its money where its mouth is". The debate surrounding electric vehicles is still gathering pace, with large question marks placed over issues such as range, cost and cleanliness when power generation is factored in.
Renault's first electric vehicle, the Kangoo Van ZE, will soon launch, and will be followed by three more models, including the lower-medium sized Fluence ZE, within 18 months.
Already the winner of the Technology Award in BusinessCar sister title What Van?, the electric Kangoo is priced from £16,990 plus the £59 per month battery lease, making it affordable for most businesses. Obviously, EVs won't be suitable for all, but for the ones that use predictable urban routes back to a base, the cost savings are there to be had. Particularly in London where Congestion Charge exemption is an added bonus. A 100-mile range won't prove inhibitive for a large range of potential users, and the battery lease is less than the monthly fuel bill.
Also confirmed for production are the compact two-Seat Twizy, the Zoe supermini and the Fluence.
Last year's winner Fiat earns a Highly Commended in this category for its TwinAir engine technology. Launched in the 500 city car, the 875cc two-cylinder is the world's cleanest petrol engine, boasting official figures of 95g/km and 68.9mpg. The 85hp unit offers good levels of performance and fleets can look forward to the technology being applied across the Fiat Group.