First drive: Renault Kangoo van review (gallery)

"If running electric vans stacks up for you, then it’s easy to see why the Renault has become the favourite."



The Renault Kangoo has extended its range by half as much without a drop in payload or cargo volume.

We’ve been told for many years by electric vehicle manufacturers that range isn’t a big problem for potential customers – other issues such as infrastructure were more of a deterrent.

It conveniently puts national governments and local authorities under the spotlight for doing too little to encourage the take-up of these ‘greener’ vehicles.

But it’s undeniable that EVs with a longer range on a single charge also give potential users greater confidence in the technology, and make them suitable for a wider variety of roles.

Renault is taking advantage of the improved battery chemistry introduced in the Zoe electric car earlier this year, and is upgrading the Kangoo van with a range increase of more than 50%. It means the Kangoo ZE has an official maximum range of 170 miles compared with 106 miles in the outgoing model. The gain is all in extra energy density in the battery, so the battery pack takes up the same amount of space under the floor as before, meaning payload and cargo volume are unaffected.

The new version is also available with a faster charging system, allowing a full charge from empty in around six hours using a 7.4kW wall-box, and the potential to gain a 22-mile boost when charging during an hour’s lunch break.

In real world driving, those maximum range figures are unlikely to be realised, especially if the driver is using other electrical items that will increase the drain on the battery.

But it will mean a 50% increase in range over whatever users were able to achieve with the previous version. And Renault says the new Kangoo ZE should be good for around 120 miles during the summer, with the potential for adding another 20 during a lunch-break charge session.

The Kangoo ZE also comes with a new, more energy efficient motor and improved battery management system. It now includes a heat pump within the climate control system (where specified), improving battery performance in cold conditions – said to be worth another nine miles of range.

When equipped with climate control, the Kangoo ZE can now be pre-cooled when plugged in while preserving battery range, in addition to a pre-heating feature.

Prices weren’t published when we drove the van, but they are likely to be from around £14,200 including the plug-in van grant but excluding VAT, with a £50 a month battery lease, or from around £17,800 (including the grant, but excluding VAT) in a full vehicle purchase. 

It may be feeling like it’s getting on a bit, but despite this, the Kangoo ZE is a likeable van, and a capable one, especially when choosing the Maxi version. If running electric vans stacks up for you, then it’s easy to see why the Renault has become the favourite. The updates make it even more compelling.

Stats for the Renault Kangoo ZE 33 to be released

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.