2017 Renault Kangoo ZE
French automaker Renault has given its small light commercial electric vehicle a handful of upgrades, including a significantly longer battery range.
The Renault Kangoo ZE is now officially on sale with a longer rated range, a more powerful charging system, and a heat pump to keep the little van efficient in the coldest temperatures.
Renault revealed the Kangoo ZE back in 2010 as an electrified option for light commercial vehicle buyers, even before its 2012 Renault Zoe subcompact electric hatchback.
An electrified Master ZE joined the smaller van earlier this year. Just shy of six months later, the Kangoo ZE updates should receive a warm welcome from commercial-vehicle buyers with an eye for efficiency.
Rated range for the updated electric van jumps from 170 kilometers (105 miles) to 270 kilometers (167 miles) on the New European Driving Cycle.
However, Renault acknowledges the NEDC's shortcomings, noting that a real-world range of 120 km (74 miles) to 200 km (124 miles) may be more likely.
That's still a jump from its previous non-NEDC estimates of 80 to 125 km (50 to 77 miles).
The longer range is due to a new 33-kilowatt-hour battery, which was developed between Renault and LG Chem.
It also uses a Renault-specific motor and nothing is shared between its alliance partner, Nissan.
The new battery cells are denser but do not add additional weight to the Kangoo ZE, which means safety and payload are unchanged.
Total power output from the electric battery and motor—shared with the Renault Zoe—is 45 kilowatts (60 horsepower).
Additionally, Renault has added a dedicated heat pump to use less battery energy on climate control, which the brand says is a first for the light commercial vehicle segment.
The heat pump improves and bolsters range in cold weather by reducing the use of electrical resistance heating that quickly drains power from the battery.
In the coldest climates, the Kangoo ZE also benefits from an optional mini-heater for even more warmth.
Last, but not least, the Kangoo ZE's onboard charging system has been slightly upgraded.
The electric van can now reach a full charge in 6 hours compared to 7 hours previously.
The new 7-kilowatt charger can also provide 35 km (22 miles) of range in 60 minutes, Renault says.
With order books now open for the new Kangoo ZE, the electric van should soon be available across Europe—by the middle of this year, Renault says.