RENAULT KANGOO ZE
Renault has electrified its existing supply deal with Australia Post by adding two Kangoo Z.E. (‘Zero Emission’) vans to the service’s Melbourne fleet.
Arriving as part of a new 12-month feasibility study, the Melbourne vans will be joined by two more electric Kangoos bound for Sydney later this year.
Although not yet available to private or fleet buyers here, the electric Kangoo Z.E. has been on sale in Europe since 2011 and some 14,000 have been sold so far.
“Renault is a global leader in electric vehicle technology with four models currently on the market worldwide and Kangoo Z.E. has already been a strong sales success globally,” Renault Australia boss Justin Hocevar said.
“Through our partnership with Australia Post we are able to comprehensively investigate the business case for introducing the fully electric, Kangoo Z.E. van in Australia in the future,” said Hocevar.
The four electric vans will be powered by renewable energy only, using companies that comply with the government’s ‘GreenPower’ accreditation program.
In Melbourne, that will include a charging station at Australia Post’s Port Melbourne Business Hub, funded by the Victorian Government Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure.
Australia Post’s Head of Environmental Sustainability, Andrew Sellick, said that the Kangoo Z.E. trial could be the first step in a bigger program.
“While at this stage we are working with Renault to prove this concept, if the vans perform well across the range of metrics we’ll be measuring them on, the future potential is very exciting," Sellick said.
"We hope this initiative will ultimately help drive the commercialisation and acceptance of electric vehicles in this country."
Around 4000 Kangoo Z.E. vans already do service with the French postal service in Renault’s homeland, averaging around 70km of travel each day.
Renault says the Kangoo Z.E. is capable of 80 to 125 kilometres of ‘real world’ driving between charges, although this can vary depending on the cargo load.
Power in the Kangoo Z.E. is provided by a 44kW/226Nm electric motor, drawing energy from a 22kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
This new trial marks the first appearance of the Kangoo Z.E in Australia, and if successful, the program could boost the potential for a local launch of the Fluence Z.E. sedan and light Zoe electric hatch.
The Fluence Z.E. was expected to hit Australia in 2012, however a restrictive charging infrastructure and a lack of government incentives for carmakers and buyers - along with the collapse of battery partner Better Place - eventually saw the project shelved.
Renault boss Carlos Ghosn has spoken in the past of concerns over a lack of government support for the hugely expensive electric vehicle technology, declaring that markets without federal and state incentives are unlikely to make any real strides towards affordable electric motoring.
"We think unless governments put incentives for consumers on the electric car it's going to be very difficult to make the electric car a factor," Mr Ghosn told Fairfax at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010.
Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne made similar comments this week when, speaking at an event, he asked that American motorists not buy his company’s electric Fiat 500e.
"I hope you don't buy it because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000," he said to the audience at the Brookings Institution about the 500e. "I'm honest enough to tell you that."
Marchionne said that he will sell the minimum number required to meet tough US mandates that push carmakers to offer electric vehicles, “and not one more”.