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Renault Kangoo ZE: Test Drive Review

Date: 01 October 2010   |   Author:

Category: Light van
P11D price: £16,990 (excl VAT)
Key rival: Allied Electric Peug

First up among the four Renault electric vehicles coming in the next 18 months or so is the Kangoo ZE commercial vehicle application that could make the most sense for the range-limited technology.

Fitting it to a small commercial vehicle is logical, given the potential for that sort of vehicle to be making predictable urban trips of under 100 miles, and therefore able to work EVs' mileage issues around the cost benefits.

Coming next summer, the Kangoo EV will cost £16,990 excluding VAT, a figure that doesn't have the advantage of the Government's £5000 electric subsidy as commercial vehicles are excluded from the scheme.

The batteries slot below the floor, partly in the space left by the petrol tank, so there's no impact upon the 3.0cu/m load volume, although payload is cut slightly to 650kg.

Apart from the automatic gear lever, the interior is basic Kangoo, as is the exterior, which doesn't betray the electric vehicle underneath. Driving it, however, is a different story. The silent pull-away with an immediate surge of torque is a giveaway, and even more so is the energy regeneration system as soon as you lift off the accelerator. In order to help extend the vehicle's range, when the driver lifts off the accelerator, the resistance gives a little boost to the battery. However, the Kangoo's system is the most severe I've ever come across, with massive forces slowing the van as soon as the driver lifts. In fact, in the three-mile London test drive, we only needed to touch the brakes twice, and with a little forward planning, the regenerative system would be enough to almost eliminate the need to brake altogether. As a result, the van is always either accelerating or slowing sharply, which makes reducing speed to find an address, for instance, difficult as there's no easy way of gently coasting along a street at a constant rate. The Kangoo EV also felt quite sluggish, and although the top speed is in theory 81mph, it might take a while to push on. And that was unladen. Despite that, it is an interesting addition to the EV market that doesn't cost much more than a diesel.

Renault Kangoo ZE
P11D price£16,990
Fuel consumption n/a
CO2 (tax) 0g (0%)
Service intervalstbc
EV?range100 miles
Electric motor44kW
Top speed81mph
On sale Autumn 2011
VerdictPrice makes it very
attractive, in the right
business operation


Price makes it very attractive, in the right business operation