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by Tim Beissmann

Australia Post will conduct a 12-month trial with the Renault Kangoo Z.E., marking the introduction of the zero-emission electric van to Australia.

The trial, first reported by CarAdvice in July 2013, will commence in Melbourne next month with two Kangoo Z.E. Maxi vans and will be bolstered by the addition of another two in Sydney towards the end of the year.

Renault describes the Australia Post trial as an “important step along the path to the possible local introduction of the Kangoo Z.E. and Renault’s wider electric vehicle range” on a larger scale.

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The Renault Kangoo Z.E. teams a 44kW/226Nm electric motor with a 22kWh lithium-ion battery. Renault claims a somewhat tardy 22.4-second 0-100km/h for the Kangoo Z.E. but a brisker 5.5sec 0-50km/h that will likely be more relevant to its urban round.

The Kangoo Z.E. has an official European cycle driving range of 170km, though Renault quotes more realistic real-world figures of between 80km and 125km.

A full recharge from a standard power source takes between six and nine hours. The Kangoo Z.E. does not currently offer a fast-charge option. Renault plans to introduce a version that can be recharged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes in the future.

Based at Australia Post’s Port Melbourne Business Hub, the Melbourne vans will be recharged using accredited renewable energy at a charging station funded by the Victorian Government’s Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure.

The Kangoo Z.E. vans join the existing range of Renault commercial vehicles on Australia Post’s mail delivery van fleet.

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Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said it was exciting to broaden the company’s partnership with Australia Post with its pure-electric Kangoo Z.E. van.

“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,” Hocevar said. “Renault is currently the number one seller in Europe for both fully electric vehicles and light commercial vehicles.

“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.”

Australia Post head of environmental sustainability Andrew Sellick said the four vehicles would be put through their paces as with any other vans on the fleet to test their suitability to the task and the local conditions.

“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.”




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