Renault is on course to launch three ground-breaking, all-electric, mass-production models in 2011 and a fourth in 2012, and has given Autocar unprecedented detail on what to expect from each of them.
All four cars will be powered by versions of the 60bhp, 140lb ft electric drivetrain that we’ve just tried in the Kangoo Be Bop ZE. Powered by lithium ion batteries, Renault’s EV powertrain is limited to just 62 miles of range at the moment, but is expected to be good for 100 miles by the time it’s productionised in 2011.
Kangoo Express: Renault’s zero-emissions van
It’s seems an odd decision to launch a pioneering new family of EVs with a commercial vehicle, but that’s what Renault will do in 18 months time. The Kangoo Express will be a 95 per cent match for the Be Bop ZE, which means it’ll do 62mph in 13secs, hit 81mph flat out, and will probably cost around £16,000.
If that sounds like a lot for a small commercial vehicle, it’s because Renault is planning to price its family of EVs to take advantage of the UK government’s £5000 incentive on electric cars. That should bring the price of each of Renault’s forthcoming EVs down to a level comparable with an equivalent mid-range diesel model.
There will also be the additional cost of leasing batteries for the Renault EVs to consider, as none of the cars will come with ‘batteries included’. Renault estimates that a battery pack could cost anything between £100 and £200 a month to lease, and each will have a lifecycle of six years. For motorists who do more than 10,000 miles a year, though, it maintains that running one of its EVs will still be cheaper than running a petrol- or diesel-powered car.