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The electric van - Renault Kangoo ZE

Renault Kangoo ZE as a 2 seater with special equipment.

Renault Kangoo ZE as a 2 seater with special equipment.

With the Kangoo ZE, Renault is targeting a new target group for electric cars. It is a simply constructed 2-seater; Can be used as a small transporter for tradespeople in local transport. What seems good from the idea reveals some surprises in everyday life.


The outer shape of the kangoo is simple and functional. Form follows function.
The first appearance reveals the real application possibilities of the Kangoo ZE: a car that simply has to transport loads over short distances. Behind the two front seats, a large-volume loading area with a smooth floor is separated from the driving area by a grid. This area can be used as required, for example for transporting various professional groups from A for pharmacy service to Z for dental prosthesis laboratory.
The electric Kangoo is currently available in three different versions. We use the short version of the two-seater in test operation. There is also the two-seat and five-seat longer maxi version. All versions can be filled with variable loading areas of up to 4,6 cubic meters. The maximum payload is 632 kilograms. This means that the car is set up for everyday work in almost all commercial fields of use. After entering, the eye falls on a tidy dashboard with clearly arranged analog displays. Battery charge status, speedometer and temperature display: all essential information is summarized without frills. On the other hand, to the right of this, the multimedia display is installed so deep and so far away from the driver that it cannot be reached while driving. So, below the heating controls in the middle, all control elements have been combined in the form of a central rotary control and surrounding touch fields, easily accessible. The spatial separation between the display and operating elements leads to a very cumbersome handling. The automatic selector lever located centrally below the heating controls and the ergonomic handbrake lever are very easy to reach.
We test in the temperature range between 3 to 8 degrees Celsius outside temperature - so normal winter conditions. After the start, the heating and ventilation must ensure a clear view and then you can watch the battery charge indicator while driving, as it moves steadily downwards. The car accelerates well and quickly from the standstill. However, the driving dynamics decrease with higher speeds.
The car is primarily to be used in city traffic and on short journeys, where the car swims quickly with the flow of traffic. We have to say goodbye to the range in the European driving cycle, which according to the brochure should be 170 kilometers under the external conditions. The batteries have to be recharged after 80 kilometers. After the first charge, we test again with the Eco mode switched on, but here, too, only a marginal difference can be seen when the electrical consumers are switched on. Under these conditions, consumption per 100 kilometers of range can easily exceed 20 kilowatts per hour.
The multimedia system including radio, hands-free kit and TomTom navigation device is - as described above - somewhat cumbersome to use and unfortunately too far away from the driver. All functions in the test were fully developed and lead you safely to your destination or to the next registered charging station. All controls on the steering wheel and the steering wheel column are easy to reach. The automatic is easy to operate. Some driving assistants are included in the test version. In addition to the usual electronic stability and braking assistants, a parking aid is integrated as a radar warning: a useful accessory due to the limited view due to the lack of rear side windows.

At the end...

The small van has its advantages in the easily accessible and sufficient loading volume. The interior, equipment and controls are kept simple. For short trips under load, the short range due to the low battery capacity is currently only of interest for close range.


N. Hawthorn
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