Earlier in the year, Renault issued one of the boldest statements delivered to the commercial vehicle industry in some time. The French firm laid down the gauntlet not only to its competitors but also the doubters of zero-emission efficiency in the market place by predicting that 10% of all vehicles on UK roads will be electric powered within five years.
This would be brilliant news for van drivers, in light of the LEZ going live as of the third of January. For drivers conscious of finding cheap van insurance, low initial cost and long-term running costs, this change can only be looked upon as a positive. If the dream is realised.
Well, as their Kangoo ZE has just been awarded the ‘Van of the Year 2012’ award, that theology is looking more like becoming a reality than perhaps even Renault hoped. For the doubters who may see this coveted prize being awarded down to novelty value as a one-off or just a shot across the bows of the petroleum industry, think again. The winning van is just one of four that will be rolled out by Renault before Hallowe’en 2012 and the award is no less reward than the entire production team deserve as several years of development, testing and production come to fruition.
What could be another bonus is the way this van is being marketed in the UK and may guarantee to keep cheap van insurance premiums at least where they are, if not drive the renewal cost down even further.
The base cost of the van, which comes in two overall lengths but retains the same load capacity over both sets of dimensions, is cost effective in itself, being less than £17k, brand new. That cost, however, does not incorporate the battery – that has to be leased from an appointed source, once you have purchased the van. At this point, it is unclear whether you have to incorporate the battery as an ancillary product in your van insurance policy or whether the cost of hire includes insurance for the individual component; we hope to clarify that point at a later date, when the information avails itself.
In addition to other costs, of course, this van ticks all of the boxes in the cost to the environment. It is a zero-emission van, so no pollution to add to the greenhouse effect nor the risk of £100/day charge if you are servicing the LEZ. This latter point in itself will pay for the cost of the battery-hire or any subsequent ancillary van insurance costs. And, as it is almost silent in transmission, it does not even add to noise pollution.
It is no wonder, then, that this van has been so well received; we can only await the next three models to roll out of Maubeuge; this may be a fleeting moment in history, but its significance will be recognised in generations to come.