Renault is on an electric roll of late. The Kangoo Z.E., which has just arrived on Irish soil, has been voted International Van of the Year 2012 by a jury of 22 European journalists who specialise in writing about light commercial vehicles.
It is the first time an electric vehicle has won this prize, competing against other internal combustion vans.
With 104 points out of a possible 168, Kangoo Z.E. beat off stiff competition from the Iveco Daily, Fiat Ducato and VW Caddy. The award was presented to Jean-Marie Hurtiger, director of Renault’s Light Commercial Vehicle division, at the inaugural evening of the 14th International Trailer Show in Belgium.
The jury chose the Kangoo Z.E. for its zero-emission virtues, as well as for its practical and economical qualities.
The Kangoo Z.E. launched in Ireland on 11 November 2011. Since then, it has been picking up awards all over the place, including the Fleet Transport Green Commercial Vehicle 2012 at The Fleet Transport awards in Dublin in October and a further award in Denmark.
What is unique about this electric van is you rent out the battery rather than buying it when you purchase the van, so it appears to have a recession-friendly take.
The van is available in Ireland starting at €16,400, excluding VAT, and including tax (with Government incentive). The battery rental starts from €72 (excluding VAT) a month, for 36 months.
Waterford-born mentalist Keith Barry with the Renault Z.E. He is a Renault ambassador
Jury chairman Pieter Wieman explained the Kangoo is bringing electric mobility within the reach of the normal European driver.
He said it therefore delivers “a major contribution to environmental sustainability, one of the most important issues of the transport of goods by road nowadays.”
Renault was innovative with the Kangoo Z.E., fitting the battery under the floor of Kangoo Z.E.
The automaker has kept the same load capacity and dimensions as the internal-combustion version.
Kangoo Z.E. comes in two lengths and three versions, all of them produced at the MCA Maubeuge plant in France on the same line as its fuel-powered sister.
The range has load volume ranging from 3 m3 to 4.6 m3 and goods and passenger transport are both possible.
Eric Basset, managing director of Renault Ireland, said he was delighted, but not surprised by the win.
“This prize rewards the work of the people at Renault who have worked for several years on the Kangoo Z.E., one of Renault’s range of four electric vehicles. All of the company’s functions were involved in the adventure,” said Basset.
“They met the challenge in a remarkable manner, showing determination, creativity and, above all, an excellent team spirit that has now produced results. We have just launched Kangoo ZE in Ireland and already there is great interest from the commercial and service sector, and the general public are also now becoming more aware that electric is here and is available and affordable to all,” he added.