French automaker unveils electric van

Renault has confirmed that its first electric vehicle will hit the roads in 2011, and it's not going to be a sedan or a city car - but a van.

The French group confirmed at the Hanover Motor Show September 22 that the Renault Kangoo Express Z.E. would be available in mid-2011, saying that its first electric vehicle would be priced between €15,000 - €20,000.

The LCV (Light Commercial Vehicle) is the first all-electric van developed and built by a vehicle manufacturer and is set to cost the same as a diesel Kangoo Express with incentives - which could make it very popular.

Other electric vehicles set to hit the market over the coming months such as the Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Chevrolet Volt are all priced at a premium to their gas counterparts.

Renault says that "filling up" the Kangoo Express Z.E. will cost between €1 and €2, giving a range of 160 km and an electronically limited top speed of 130 km/h.

However, in a slight twist on the usual EV sales model, ownership of the van is separate to that of the battery - customers must take out a subscription for the battery costing from €72 per month.

It is powered by a 44 kW motor and has a maximum payload of 650 kg, with a load space of between 3 and 3.5 meters cubed - exactly the same as on its gas-powered equivalent.

Renault is also working on an electric version of its Fluence sedan, which it expects to go on sale in 2011.

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