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Renault charges up for Kangoo EV trial

Making the jump: Renault Australia has taken delivery of a fleet of battery-powered Kangoo ZE delivery vans ahead of a trial to determine if they suit Australia’s business needs.

Battery-pack delivery vans to take to Australia’s streets in the name of research

Renault logo25 Mar 2014

By BARRY PARK

RENAULT Australia has imported the first batch of its Kangoo ZE battery-powered delivery vans ahead of trials with a commercial partner later this year.

The move comes after the French brand revealed mid last year that it had received interest in the plug-in Kangoo from an unnamed business interested in trialling the technology.

Renault has a number of commercial partners to which it supplies vehicles such as the Trafic and Master vans, including its largest, Australia Post.

Renault Australia corporate communications manager Emily Fadeyev told GoAuto that an undisclosed number of vehicles earmarked for the trial had arrived in Australia, with the vehicles expected to roll out on their first jobs “in the next few months”.

She said contracts were still being thrashed out with the “large fleet” partner, which could not be named until talks between it and Renault over the terms of the trial had been finalised.

“They’ll be used to test the electric vehicle viability for that business partner,” Ms Fadeyev said.

She said the battery-powered Kangoo van would be ideal for short runs where the vehicle had to return to base after every delivery.

Part of the outcome of the trial would be to determine if the Kangoo ZE could be added to Renault’s Australian showrooms for more widespread sale.

“That will be part of the trial research,” Ms Fadeyev said.

The Australian Green Vehicle Guide lists the two-seat, front-wheel-drive Kangoo ZE as having a range of about 170 kilometres under ideal conditions, although other international standards used to determine the EV capacity say that could drop as low as 150km.

Recharging time is about eight to 10 hours from a conventional household power plug.

The vehicle uses a 44kW electric motor fed by a 22kWh bank of lithium-ion batteries hidden under the load space floor.

Because the vehicles supplied for the trial are not being sold to the fleet partner, Renault Australia has not released pricing for the Kangoo EV.

However, in European markets where the vehicle is on sale alongside a diesel-engined version, the battery-powered van carries about a 20 per cent loading – which means it could carry up to a $4000 premium in Australia.

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