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Geneva show: Renault expands Kangoo EV range

Charging ahead: Like the regular Kangoo ZE, the long-wheelbase Maxi takes between six and eight hours for a full recharge of its lithium-ion batteries via a 220-volt outlet.

Long-wheelbase ‘Maxi’ version of Renault’s electric Kangoo set for Geneva debut

Renault logo24 Feb 2011

By TERRY MARTIN

RENAULT has broadened its all-electric light commercial vehicle range, announcing a long-wheelbase ‘Maxi’ version of its Kangoo ZE (zero emissions) compact van ahead of its unveiling at the Geneva motor show next week.

To reach European and British showrooms by the end of this year, but not due in Australia before 2012, the two-seater Kangoo Van Maxi ZE will be available as a two-seater with a load capacity of up to 4.6 cubic metres, or in a crew van configuration with seating for up to five people and a maximum cargo volume of 3.4 cubic metres.

The long-wheelbase (4600mm, up 400mm) version will join the regular Kangoo Van ZE, which hits the road in Europe in the first half of this year.

The Maxi version uses the same electric powertrain as the Kangoo ZE, which includes a synchronous electric motor developing 44kW of power and 226Nm of torque, and a 22kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

35 center imageTop: Renault Fluence ZE electric. Bottom: Renault Kangoo EV.

All models have a range of 170km based on the NEDC cycle – a distance that will vary according to factors such as road conditions, temperature, terrain and driving style – and a top speed of 130km/h. Battery recharging takes between six and eight hours.

Standard equipment includes ABS brakes, a driver’s airbag, all-wheel disc brakes, 15-inch wheels and electronic variable-rate powering steering.

ZE-specific features include a unique dashboard and trip computer (showing EV-related information), the ability to pre-heat the cabin while the battery is charging, and electric door mirrors incorporating a temperature sensor.

The so-called MMI (Man Machine Interface) system incorporated into the dashboard shows the battery’s level of charge and the vehicle’s remaining range. An Eco-driving mode has also been developed, while Renault will offer a number of “connected services” for customers to minimise the chances of running out of battery power.

Visual cues to its electric status include ZE badging, the absence of an exhaust pipe and a flap covering the recharging socket at the front end of the vehicle.

Pricing for the Maxi ZE in the UK has been set at £17,990 ($A29,000) excluding VAT for two-seat and £18,690 ($A30,130) for five-seat crew Maxi ZE van, with a battery lease cost of £59 per month (based on 9000 miles a year over four years).

Renault claims running costs – including battery lease, electricity costs and maintenance – will be similar to those of an equivalent internal combustion-engined vehicle when the annual distance travelled is less than 9375 miles (15,087km), and “competitive” when the annual distance travelled exceeds this figure.

The van is built at Renault’s MCA (Maubeuge Carrosserie Automobile) plant in France, on the same production lines as those which manufacture the regular Kangoo range.

Nissan is also expected to launch a compact van using the same all-electric powertrain as the Kangoo ZE inside 12 months, with a possible 2012 Australian introduction.

Renault is also preparing to launch a ZE version of its Fluence sedan in the coming months, which will be built in Bursa, Turkey, on the same production line as conventional models.

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