Overview of the Renault Kangoo Z.E
If you’re choosing an electric van for the first time ever, what better place to start looking than the bestselling small electric van in Europe, the Renault Kangoo?
The new Renault Kangoo electric van’s range has been given a massive boost, and it can now keep going on a single charge for an outstanding 170 miles. No other small electric van comes close to that. If range anxiety is one of your biggest concerns when weighing up the pros and cons of an EV van, Renault have gone a long way to easing it this time around with a brand new battery package and electric motor.
However, range is just one of the many pieces that needs to add up if buyers are to be tempted to make their first move in the electric van market. Here is what the Renault Kangoo electric van is all about:
On The Road
The Renault Kangoo EV might be the biggest selling electric van in Europe, but it’s taken Brits a bit longer than most to warm to this sector. The biggest concern is always range. As mentioned, Renault have addressed this issue with a revised version of their Kangoo, which can now go for 170 miles until it needs charging afresh. That’s class-leading.
On the road, this front-wheel-drive van’s natural habitat is the city. Turn the key, “fire” the Kangoo up, and you’ll barely notice the electric motor has even started. It’s such a simple, smooth and quiet process. All you need to do next is slide the auto transmission into drive, release the handbrake – and go!
For an EV, there isn’t much in the way of a burst of acceleration. It definitely feels slower out of the traps than rivals, and it struggles with inclines. True, our test drive was almost fully loaded – but we expect most buyers to be carrying a fair amount of weight on a day to day basis.
0-62 is dispensed within a mighty sluggish 22.6 seconds, while top speed is 81mph. That might not sound like much from a 44kW electric motor that develops 60bhp, but that said, performance needn’t be a deal breaker.
Moreover, the way the new Renault Kangoo handles is actually quite pleasant. It’s easy to drive in the town, the steering is nicely engaged at all times, and the cushioned suspension does a good job of absorbing nasty lumps and bumps.
The electric motor barely makes a peep. While this has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. For example, a lack of engine noise means you get to hear any creaks and groans that the car otherwise makes.
Still, that doesn’t take anything away from the driving experience, which is on the whole relaxing and pleasant.
Renault Kangoo Electric Van Interior, Design & Build
The new Renault Kangoo EV caters to most delivery drivers, offering as it does two load lengths to choose from, as well as the option of five seats. However, its 640kg payload isn’t as much as you get in the conventional diesel version (which can carry more than 800kg).
Load volumes are the same, with Renault neatly tucking the battery pack beneath the boot floor so that you don’t lose any cargo capacity. This means you get 3.0 – 4.6 cubic metres of load space. Opt for the Maxi version, and you benefit from a super long 2.1m floor, too. If you add the optional load hatch and folding passenger seat, you can even extend this to 2.8 metres.
All models come with the same roof height, as well as the same side-hinged rear doors. These open as much as 180 degrees, which makes access easy. Access is also enhanced by a sliding left-hand side door, while the Maxi models come with right and left-hand side doors.
The cabin itself is comfortable and roomy, but it doesn’t look or feel as modern as some rivals. You will notice a lot of cheap, hard plastics here and there, while touchscreen navigation isn’t standard.
The layout is basic but functional, and the Kangoo van has a certain charm to it. The instrument binnacle handily displays the battery charge indicator, while a digital display lets you know how many miles you’ve already gobbled up of range.
Head and legroom are both excellent if you stick to the two-seater panel van variant, and visibility is good. The door mirrors are nice and wide, and these will help to reduce blind spots.
Equipment & Safety Of The Renault Kangoo Electric Van
Standard is okay, but it will frustrate some buyers that air conditioning is standard in the rest of Europe, but not here in Britain. You’ll need to pay up to £965 to install it. Why so expensive? Because it’s the first ever EV fan to come with heat pump technology that lets it perform better in low temperatures.
There are four different variants to choose from, with the ZE 33 and Maxi ZE 33 models coming with two seats and varying cubic metre load areas. Both the Maxi Crew ZE 33 and the Maxi Crew Cab ZE 33 get five seats.
The higher spec vans get more useful features, including rubber load floor coverings and parking sensors. Touchscreen navigation is standard, but while it helps to modernise the cabin a little, the fact that it’s so awkwardly placed inside the dash makes it hard to use.
Costs Of The Renault Kangoo Electric Van
Prices for the new car start out from £17,800 if you want to buy the van outright with the batteries. That’s a tad more expensive than last time, but it’s offset by the massive extension in the range.
If you prefer to lease, you can make a fixed payment for the van of £14,200, before leasing the batteries from just £50 a month. The exact amount you’ll pay depends on your expected mileage.
Renault say that 90% of buyers prefer this ownership method, and it certainly means you don’t need to worry about the life expectancy of your batteries. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its other costs, the range is the eye-catching USP. Renault say that the Kangoo electric van can keep trucking for 170 miles on a single charge, which is some 50% more than a number of rivals, the Nissan e-NV200 included.
However, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve such numbers in real world driving conditions. Instead, you’ll be looking at 124 miles on the NEDC cycle – which is still impressive.
Renault have introduced a new charger this time around, which they claim is two-times as powerful as the old one. You can now get a full charge in around six hours if you plug the lead into a 32A socket. That’s an improved charging time of one hour. If you need just 22 miles of range or less, you can top your battery up in just under 60 minutes.
Pros And Cons Of The Renault Kangoo Electric Van
No model in the small EV van sector even comes close to the official 170 mile range.
The seats are supportive and comfortable, which contributes to a relaxed driving experience.
Advantageous Battery Leasing Model
You can buy the van and lease the battery, which means you don’t have to worry about the battery failing.
Even relatively small ascends are hard for the Renault Kangoo electric van to cope with, especially on a full load.
Poor Quality Materials Inside The Cabin
It’s a well-built cabin, but scratchy plastics let it down somewhat. There is also a TomTom, which looks old compared to rivals.
Should I Buy One?
Electric vans are the future for most of us. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge sooner rather than later, this one is not only the equal of its EV rivals – it also outcompetes conventional, diesel-powered vans.
Its new battery package and electric motor have changed the range game entirely, with the new Kangoo able to keep going for 50% longer on a single charge than last time. This is also the first EV van to come with heat pump action for the air con, and it performs well in the city.
A perfect all-rounder for the modern, environmentally conscious driver? The new Renault Kangoo electric van might just be that.