An inescapable issue for electric vehicles is battery cost. Not only can it have a considerable impact on the initial purchase price, but there’s also the financially unpleasant prospect of eventual replacement.
Government-backed schemes such as the UK’s Plug-in Car Grant can help with the former problem, but what if a manufacturer is trying to market an electric van, which currently isn’t eligible for such a helping hand?
Renault’s solution for its electric Kangoo Van Z.E. - as with its entire EV line-up - is that owners can buy or lease the vehicle itself, but the batteries will have to be rented.
In the UK, that means a monthly battery fee of at least £59 (plus VAT), based on 9,000 miles per annum and a 48 month commitment. Adding on maintenance plus the electricity needed to recharge the batteries, Renault reckons that overall running costs will be similar to those of a petrol or diesel equivalent if less than 9,375 miles (about 15,000 kilometres) are driven each year. Travel more than that, and it’s advantage electric.
When sales of the Kangoo Van Z.E. begin at the end of 2011, both standard and extended wheelbase Maxi versions will be available. What’s more, with an overall length of 4.60 metres, the Maxi is going to be offered in two guises.
First is a traditional two-seat van, which has 4.6 cubic metres of cargo space and a maximum load length of 2.90 metres. Alternatively, users could choose a five-seat version that comes with a 60/40 folding rear bench seat.
The Kangoo has a 59 bhp (44 kW / 60 PS) motor that’s powered by an under-floor 22 kWh battery. However, with an expected range of 105 miles (around 170 kilometres) and a recharging time of six to eight hours, operations are clearly going to be restricted to short, local journeys.
UK pricing for the Kangoo Van Maxi Z.E. has been set at £17,990 (plus VAT) for the two-seat version, or £18,690 (plus VAT) for the crew van version.
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