First Drive Renault Kangoo Z E Car Reviews by Car Enthusiast

29 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи First Drive Renault Kangoo Z E Car Reviews by Car Enthusiast отключены
RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E

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First Drive | London, England | Renault Kangoo Z.E. |

Renault has made no secret of its keenness to lead the way with electric vehicles (EVs), and in conjunction with its partner, Nissan, the French firm intends to be the biggest supplier of EVs by 2020. The Kangoo van is Renault’s light commercial offering and, along with the forthcoming electric Fluence. the Twizy and the Zoe, is set to take eco- and cost-conscious buyers by the scruff of the neck when they hit the market in 2011 and 2012.

In the Metal

Aside from the obvious powertrain changes, Renault has kept the differences to a minimum in an effort to ease drivers in to electric vehicle ownership. Save for the eco-advertising on the bodywork and the electric charging cap on the bonnet there’s nothing to mark the Kangoo Z.E. out as unusual.

It’s the same deal inside. The battery is mounted beneath the van, so loading space remains unchanged. The only difference as far as the driver is concerned is with the dials, which include an ‘econo’-meter that indicates how much work the battery is having to do and a large ‘fuel’ gauge on the left, which displays how much charge the battery has left.

The trip computer also displays battery life and average consumption.

What you get for your Money

Renault knows that the only way to flog such vehicles is to price them competitively with conventional rivals — and it’s confident that it will do so for the most part. The downside to the Kangoo Z.E. is that the Government isn’t dishing out Ј5,000 grants to commercial vehicles, so, unlike the Fluence and others, it will be pricier than a petrol or diesel version.

Batteries will be covered by a lease scheme, which is expected to cost the buyer around Ј70-80 per month. This also covers maintenance and replacement in the event of a failure.

Driving it

There’s no change at all for the Kangoo in terms of ride and handling, but silent electric power takes a little getting used to. It’s started with a conventional ignition key set-up and a run-of-the-mill automatic shifter engages forward or reverse. Don’t expect any noise at idle though, and there’s nothing more than a muted, high-pitched whine under acceleration.

As is always the case with an electric motor, peak torque (167lb.ft in this case) is available instantly, so the Kangoo Z.E. is actually quite a bit quicker off the mark than its internal combustion equivalents. The motor revs to 10,500rpm and packs 44kW — about 60bhp — and it’s actually quite keen at low speeds. Our brief London-based test wasn’t long or fast enough to see how the van fared on a mixed route, though.

The most striking thing about the driving experience is the massive amount of engine — or motor — braking. Lift off the accelerator pedal at town speeds and the Kangoo comes to an almost instant halt. Again, we’re not sure what it’s like on the motorway, but in urban areas, the need for braking is almost redundant.

RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E

Worth Noting

A quick-drop battery change scheme is under development, so it will be possible to swap one battery for another at designated service stations in around three minutes. Unfortunately, that infrastructure has proved too expensive for most European countries — including the UK — to integrate. However, there’s nothing to stop owners from using this service if they happen to be driving in those select few countries, as unlikely as that may be.

Renault is also keen to stress that the batteries should be relatively worry-free things, as there’s little or no need for replacement moving parts such as belts, spark plugs and the like. It also promises not to forget about internal combustion engines and assures us that there’s plenty of development going on in that area, too.

Summary

With a range of 100 miles, the technology isn’t the answer to our fuel worries in its current state, but it’s a good start. Renault’s efforts to shelter the consumer from too much change and keep prices as low as possible are to be commended. The fact that the Kangoo Z.E. is quicker than a conventional model and has just the same amount of space inside makes for an impressive all-round package.


We’re not quite there yet, but if the technology is honed for greater range and other manufacturers follow suit then electric cars will prove ever more attractive a purchase.

Jack Carfrae — 17 Sep 2010

RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E
RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E
RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E
RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E
RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E
RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E
RENAULT Kangoo Maxi Z.E

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