Renault Kangoo Z.E Review (2020)

13 October 2020

 

With the fast-approaching ban on all non-electric vehicles, which can happen as soon as in 2030, more drivers, including business operators, started switching to electric vehicles-  but there are still many who will be delaying this decision until closer to the date. The fact is that with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) introduced in London in April last year and other schemes set to follow, the delivery businesses and small traders are being pushed to go electric. It is no longer just a desire to be seen as the one caring for the environment but with diesels getting more expensive, the electric vehicles are becoming more financially affordable too.

The main problem with the all-electric cars and vans is the range limit and the worry that you'll run out of the battery before reaching your destination. Just as electric car ranges are improving all the time, the distance an electric van can travel on a single charge is also getting longer and the new Renault Kangoo Z.E 33 should be proof of that. But is it? Let's find out.

 

How far can you drive the Renault Kangoo Z.E 33 on a single charge?

New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) tests claim that the latest Renault Kangoo ZE can travel up to 168 miles but tested to the newer WLTP standard, the official driving range is 143 miles. Renault is more realistic about these figures though, knowing that many factors need to be considered in real life. Driving style, the type of journey, speed, load weight, and climate can all affect how far Kangoo all-electric van will take you before you have to re-charge the battery. Renault tested the vehicle in both summer and winter conditions and claims that on average the Z.E. 33 battery can take you up to 124 miles in summer and 75 miles in winter. These figures might be lower if you carry a heavy payload or drive at higher speeds. Never the less, these are still very impressive ranges.

 

Let's take a look at the battery

The latest models of the Renault Kangoo are known as the Kangoo Z.E 33, where the 33 refers to the 33kWh battery pack - 11kWh more than the previous version. The 60hp motor is based on the R90 motor used in Renault's electric passenger car - the Renault Zoe, and although is not much more powerful than the previous one, with the help of other technology updates, it is now more efficient. The technology used in the Renault Kangoo Z.E 33 offers zero noise, zero emissions, and 100% efficiency. And what's the most impressive is that you can fully charge your Kangoo ZE 33 for approximately £5.

Charging is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

You can charge your Kangoo Z.E van wherever you like: at home, at work, or at the charging point in many public places, which can be located using the on-board R-link navigation system.

Along with a bigger battery pack bringing a better driving range, the entire electrical system has been upgraded to allow fast-charging from a single-phase 7kW (32A) charger. Renault partnered with BP Chargemaster to take an advantage of a government grant of up to 75%. The home charger is installed on the wall of your house or garage allowing you to charge your Kangoo ZE while you sleep. To charge the battery in full you need 6 hours but a quick 1-hour recharge on the go is also available and will give you approximately 22 extra miles. Charging with the regular 3-pin power supply takes much longer - an estimated 18-20 hours for the flat battery to be fully charged.

  

 

Okay, but how does the Kangoo ZE drive?

The recent upgrades made the Kangoo ZE a more enjoyable van than before. The super-quiet motor means that the road and tyre noise are the only two sounds you will hear when driving the new Kangoo ZE. It might sound too quiet compared with the sound of the petrol or diesel engine you're used to so we recommend that you turn the radio on because it will feel weird in the beginning if you're new to electric vehicles!

Apart from that, driving the Kangoo ZE 33 is just like driving a diesel Kangoo model. Steering is light and responses well and although it's not the best van we have driven, it is definitely more enjoyable than a regular van. The added weight of the batteries makes you feel like the Kangoo ZE is more settled on the road which improves the ride quality and the road imperfections get banished without losing the comfort, however, we noticed more noise. Kangoo ZE 33 really does revolutionise your business travel. You can feel the torque (maximum 225Nm) being delivered instantly leading to zippy acceleration, while regenerative braking means that the van will slow itself down automatically so there is no need to use the brake as often as you would in a standard vehicle. The automatic transmission feels not only smooth but is also very quiet and gives strong and clear acceleration.

 

Does the Kangoo ZE carry less compared to the diesel van?

Since the battery is fitted below the floor, the Kangoo electric van offers the same cargo space as its diesel versions. The same as the standard Kangoo van, the ZE comes in two body lengths, shorter ML and longer LL Maxi. The Kangoo ZE is a small van so you can't expect huge load capacity anyway but the ratings are still lower than the non-electric models because the battery adds a significant amount of weight but it's the same for other electric vans.

Kangoo electric is able to carry loads of 3m3 and 4.6m3 with the maximum load weight of 625kg and 605kg in the ML and LL Maxi models respectively. Just to compare, the standard Kangoo van can transport loads of up to 671kg in the medium-wheelbase model and up to 782kg in the long-wheelbase van so we wouldn't say that the differences are massive. The load height is 1,129cm for all Kangoo ZE models, while the usable load length is between 1,476mm and 1,862mm.

 

A deep peek at the cabin of the Kangoo electric van

We expected the interior of the ZE to be no different than the regular Kangoo so there were no surprises for us there. Hard plastics feel a bit rougher than in the other vans but nothing too unpleasant to touch. There is a  storage compartment between the seats and storage space in the dashboard to fit A4 size documents or items. Overall, it's a good cabin, a bit basic we would say but it's user friendly.

The important matter is the new heat pump installed in the Kangoo ZE, which has considerably improved the latest generation of the electric Kangoo vans as it stops the air conditioning from draining the battery and also allows you to heat or cool your van while it's charging and without losing range. It is great news especially in the winter when you can remotely set the comfortable temperature before you set off.

 

What is the difference between Business and Business+ models?

Renault Kangoo ZE comes in two trim levels, the entry-level Business, and the upgraded Business+. Both come with DAB radio with AUX input CD, Bluetooth, and USB, electric mirrors, left side loading door, remote central locking, height-adjustable driver seat and steering wheel, adjustable passenger seat, bulkhead - tubular, ESC and hill start assist, full steel bulkhead, electric power-assisted steering, driver and passenger airbags, ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), electronic immobiliser and Renault anti-intruder device (RAID). On top of that, the Kangoo ZE Business+ features rear parking sensors, a standard bumper, one-touch driver electric front window, central storage console & armrest between seats, and also the metallic paint as standard.

R-Link Evolution Navigation System is a paid option on both Business and Business+ models, which is a bit disappointing.

Manual air conditioning is also optional in both versions.  The heat pump we mentioned earlier must be ordered with a pollen filter no-cost option.

 

So what do we think of the Kangoo electric van?

The price of the latest Renault Kangoo ZE has gone up over the previous model but this has been compensated with an increased battery range and productivity, making the ZE a very tempting option for those looking for an electric van. It is worth mentioning that the Renault Kangoo ZE was the first electric van in full production when it went on sale in 2011 and it remains the best selling and most popular fully electric van leasing deal. It could be because there is not too much competition just yet, or maybe because the Kangoo ZE is really that good?

Pros                                                                                                                                                            
  • the best version of the Kangoo van so far                                                                     
  • easy to maneuver for urban operators
  • offers decent load-carrying capacity
  • the realistic driving range of over 100 miles keeps range anxiety at bay
  • quiet to drive
  • same load volume as the standard model
  • incredibly cheap to run
  • smooth transmission
  • quick recharge option
  • user-friendly cabin
  • offers practical and versatile load-carrying solutions
  • competent and practical urban van
  • heat pump stops from draining the battery
Cons
  • takes at least 6 hours to charge
  • occasionally harsh ride
  • limited payload
  • a bit basic cabin
  • navigation and air-conditioning both a paid option
  • the switchgear is a bit dated
  • cold temperatures can expose the driving range limitations

We struggled to find the negative features of the Renault Kangoo ZE 33 a bit more than the positive ones. This only proves that the Kangoo electric van is actually a really good vehicle with only a few imperfections. Considering all that CVC gives the Renault Kangoo all-electric van 4 stars, leaving some room for improvement.

 

Why lease the Renault Kangoo ZE?

Leasing the Renault Kangoo electric van is very simple. You pay some money upfront (3, 6, 9 or 12 monthly rentals), tell us how long you'd like to lease it for (minimum 2 years) and how many miles you expect to cover in a year. It's really straightforward and does negate the anxiety kicking question about what happens if or when the battery degenerate beyond its useful life - it won't be your problem because you will simply give the van back at the end of the contract. When compared with a diesel or petrol van deals, the Kangoo ZE leasing cost might be similar, but the ZE's running costs will be considerably lower. Doesn't it sound just great?

Check our Renault Kangoo Z.E. 33 Deals

 

 

 



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