Having been the custodian of an electric van for nigh on half a year it’s struck me that I’ve spent a good deal of that time preoccupied with the related issues of battery charging and how far I can get once charged.
Will the charge point be free?
Have I got the right charging card?
Will the charging network app work?
Can I make it to the destination without a recharge?
These concerns tend to overshadow the fact that an electric van is still a van: a load-carrying working tool like any other but one that can access all urban areas without increasing levels of air pollution or incurring congestion charge or low-emission-zone fees.
Okay, so there may be a slight payload penalty to consider due to the weight of the battery, but with light vans, rather than their larger stablemates, which are likely to be required to carry heavier loads, and with the technology improving apace, this should quickly become less of a headache for operators.
Our Maxi Z.E. Crew Van has a payload of 539kg, which compares to 740kg for the equivalent diesel model. For urban-based parcel delivery firms or tradespeople carrying materials and tools to job sites, the electric van’s provision is likely to be sufficient.
The load area, timber-lined on our van, is reached by means of twin, glazed, asymmetric doors with the narrower of the pair on the offside.
The doors can be swung through 180° and the door stays are easy to release. When opened to 90°, the doors are held in place by a mechanism that stops them slamming shut in gusts of wind.
Rear seat passengers get in and out via sliding doors on both sides of the van, but when the rear bench is not in use a clever feature allows you to fold it down to increase the load volume from 2.4m3 to 3.6m3 while protecting the occupants of the front two seats with a multi-positional mesh bulkhead that follows the position of the rear bench (see picture). The top half of the bulkhead folds neatly under the roof when the rear seats are in use.
Over the winter break I was able to comfortably fit two bikes in the load bay with the rear seats down, while with five people on board there was ample room for Christmas presents and luggage.
Report Card: Load bay = 3/5
The Kangoo Maxi Z.E. offers practical and versatile load-carrying solutions to urban operators.
Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E. 33 Crew Van
Official range 170 miles (NEDC)
Our average consumption 3.2mi/kWh
Price Range (ex VAT, inc. PiVG) £14,194-£16,778*
Price (ex VAT) (inc PiVG) £15,334*
Service intervals 2yrs/36,000mls
Load length 1,361mm
Load width (min/max) 1,145/1,219mm
Load bay height 1,129mm
Load volume 2.4m3
Gross payload 539kg
Engine power 60hp
Gearbox 1-spd auto
* Plus battery rent from £49 pcm
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