And the advancements that we hear most about are in electric power.
Renault has firmly grasped the electric nettle and has pumped millions of pounds into developing electric vans – the result of which is the stylish and very capable Kangoo ZE.
One of the worries about buying electric vans is that the batteries may lose their ability to recharge, thus costing the owner around £8000 for new ones.
Renault Kangoo ZE
- Gross vehicle weight: 1950kg
- Payload: 650kg
- Load volume: 3.0 cu m
- Fuel economy (combined): n/a
- CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
- Price (ex-VAT): £17,593 (plus battery lease)
- Contract hire rate (per month): £378 (batteries c. £85)
Renault has solved this problem by selling the van but offering the batteries on lease for around £85 per month.
In addition to zero tailpipe emissions, the Kangoo ZE will be particularly interesting to business users inside the London Congestion Charge zone as at present electric vehicles do not pay the daily fee.
There is no VED to pay either and businesses can claim the total cost of the vehicle back against tax in the first year.
For owner drivers, the Kangoo ZE is a thrilling drive too – totally silent (although you do have to watch out for kamikaze pedestrians who don’t hear you coming!) and max torque from the second you put your foot on the loud pedal. You don’t have to wear yourself out changing gear either.
In addition to this van’s environmental credentials, business users will find that fuel costs are slashed.
Vans can be charged overnight from a 240V household source and there are an increasing number of charging points appearing in British cities and service stations.
Renault’s clever design also means that payload and load volume are not affected as the batteries are housed under the floor, so those who need to lug a fair bit of cargo around can still consider buying the ZE.
Also if you do business with local councils, some are now demanding that you prove your green credentials before they’ll let you work for them.