Renault Kangoo Zero Emission: Europe's Most Promising Electric Vehicle?

By · February 01, 2011

Renault Kangoo

There is something that amazes Europeans when they visit the U.S. It's the sheer number of pick-up trucks everywhere.

They are rare on this side of the Atlantic. I don't see one everyday. What we have instead are compact utility wagons (CUW). To my knowledge, the only CUW available in the U.S. is the Ford Transit Connect. It has the same underpinnings as a Focus; it's just a bit wider, and a bit taller with a boxy back. Ford advertises it as a van in America, which it is not. On the contrary, it's precisely because CUWs are not vans that they are so successful in Europe. CUWs are built on a car platform, and so they have a car-like driving position, handling characteristics, and most important fuel economy.

We have many models to choose from, with the Renault Kangoo being the most successful. There are many versions available, from a well-equipped family model, to the plain vanilla paneled one, in white non-metallic paint. But what matters to us is that there will be an electric version available later this year.

Renault Kangoo Interior

We've been waiting for it for about 10 years. Really, I think I first saw an electric Kangoo in 2002! It was not in production the first time I saw it, then it was, but you couldn't buy one. A bit later, production was stopped, with no clear explanation given. That was around 2004 or 2005. Happily, things have changed, and Renault (with its partner Nissan) now wants to be the world's leader in electric cars. The Kangoo will be a major step in achieving that goal, because to the eyes of many (including mine), it's the model that has the sales potential which is the easiest to forecast.

I mean, how many individuals are willing to buy an electric car? Nobody knows for sure. I know there are thousands of people waiting for a Nissan LEAF, but there is some kind of a novelty effect. It's incredibly difficult to forecast how many electric cars will sell two years from now. Of course, I believe in electric cars. I believe they will be successful, but if you ask me the source of my beliefs, I don't have any hard data to give you.

So let's look at a different question. How many business users have commercial fleets with a fixed daily driving-distance that's less than 80-miles, fixed driving hours and where vehicles are parked always at the same place? They would be prime customers for electric vehicles. There are thousands of them in every country. I can count them, and I can prove it—as can any car manufacturer, and I guess Ford did. An electric version of the Transit Connect will be available soon.

The electric Kangoo is available to order right now in France, with deliveries expecting to start this July. The motor makes 44 kW with 167-lbs/ft of torque and the battery is a 22 kWh pack. That is the weak point in my opinion, and I talked to a Renault press officer about it. He said that they've done some marketing research and that it will be enough to fulfill customers' expectations. (They didn't ask me.)

Renault Kangoo

The official range is 160 km (100 miles). Payload is 1,430 pounds, and we shall note that the cargo area is identical to the diesel version, with all batteries under the floor. They are the same cells used by the Nissan LEAF.

You Can't Buy the Battery

The electric Kangoo starts at 22,940 euros ($31,676). A 5,000-euro French state incentive for electrics ($6,904) will make it more affordable, but this price doesn't buy you a carpet. It's a rubber mat on the floor. Pricing for the fancy family version hasn't been announced yet. There isn't a radio either so you won't waste energy listening to music.

More worrying, the price above does not include the battery. And you can't buy it; it's only available as a rent that will cost you 86.11 euros monthly ($1,427 per year). I'll say it clearly: I don't like this formula of selling incomplete cars, that you will have to pay for forever—after you've already bought them. Renault will be the only car manufacturer selling its electrics without their batteries. But I suppose it won't matter much to business owners, who lease all their vehicles, and I'm sure the electric Kangoo will be hugely popular among fleets. Maybe more popular than the LEAF among private customers.


· José Freire (not verified) · 7 years ago

Hi Laurent,

Just to make some corrections to the article.

The price isn't 23.000€ but 20.000€, the battery rent is 72€ and not 86€.

Please be aware that the 72€ for renting the battery buys you 15.000Km worth of electricity per year, so it's quite a good deal!

I live in Portugal, and I've already reserved my Renault Fluence (22.000€ + 79€ Battery Rent with 10.000Km year).



· · 7 years ago

80% of 22kWh is 17.6 Kwh. A vehicle this size cannot do better than 250Wh per mile, so that suggests 70 mile range. I think 250Wh per mile is being generous -- that's better than the LEAF does, but the Renault appears taller and boxier.

The battery rental idea is not a bad idea, because it removes some of the speculation surrounding batteries, and might permit upgrading sooner than would otherwise be the case. You would be paying for the pack over roughly 8 years, assuming $500/kWh for the pack.

But the expensive part of an EV is the battery pack. Remove the pack from a $35,000 leaf and you have a $23,000 car, not a $31,767 car (probably more like $35,000 when equipped with family amentities). This seems much too expensive.

· · 7 years ago

My french is pretty poor, but the site seems to indicate that it is only the battery that is being rented, not the electricity. Is Renault somehow paying for charging too?

· · 7 years ago

@Ken Fry "80% of 22kWh is 17.6 Kwh"

Nissan is quoting usable capacity - not the total (which is higher). I guess the same with Renault.

· José Freire (not verified) · 7 years ago

Hi Ken,

You can see an English page here for reference (, in this case you have 9000 Miles per Year (~14.500Km).

Both France and Portugal (like other European countries) are building an electric charging infrastructure, and when you charge in those electric stations, you identify yourself when you charge your car, so that you only pay the extra electricity beyond your annual limit.

You can browse our Portuguese public infrastructure company information in here (English):

The payment method description is here:

It's really cool, you can browse the location of the charging points (in english) here:



· Guillem (not verified) · 7 years ago

José, excuse my ignorance, I have a doubt, the 72Eurs per month does include the battery charging price also (cost of electricity) up to 15000km per year? then it could be a very nice deal, but then, how is it manage by Renault to control your expense in electiricty?

· José Freire (not verified) · 7 years ago

Hi Guillem,

In the Portuguese case, the renting of the battery is done with partnership with a company ( that controls the charging infrastructure.

My guess is that each country will have it's partnership with it's local charging infrastructure company.

In Israel and in Denmark the charging company will be BetterPlace.

· · 7 years ago

>> José:

My prices are correct. The electric Kangoo is €23.000€ and the monthly rent for the battery is €86. The prices on Renault's website are "HT" which means "Hors Taxes" or without the 19.6% value-added tax which everyone has to pay but business users (the expected customers) can regain it, so Renault advertises the HT prices.

The $1,427 per year rent for the battery doesn't include electricity, and, at least in France, there won't be any partnership between Renault and an electricity company. Actually, I don't think one is needed. The car recharges on a 230V 16A plug, that is the standard in most of Europe.

· · 7 years ago

Hi Laurant,

Sorry for the price confusion, in the Portuguese site the price is with VAT included.

The french site, below the price has "(48 mois, 15 000 km /an)", that I assumed was the included in the rent price.

I may be been misinformed, since there is a lot of speculation and confusion about what is going to happen.

Does it make sense to give a limit on the number of kilometers a battery can make in a year?

Maybe we have to wait a couple of months, and let the dust settle so we can know for sure what are the renting conditions.

· Fernando (not verified) · 7 years ago

I have read in some webs that 22 kwh are NET. Total is 25 kwh.

The price is 20.000 € in all Europe + 72 € / month, without VAT and subsidy.
In Spain we have a VAT of 18% and a subsidy of 20%, but Kangoo is for bussiness, so final price in Spain will be 16.000 €, like a diesel Kangoo.

Fluence cost 22.000 € + 67 €/month. Final price for normal user 20.768 € (-20%, +18%). Fluence Diesel cost 20.000 - 21.000 € in Spain.

Renault Zoe will cost 13.000 - 15.000 € (-20%, +18%). Renault Clio Dci cost 13.000 - 15.000 €.

The price of cars in Europe are much higher than in US

This form of sale is good from 15,000 km a year. Check this two graphics:

I do 27.500 km per year (conmute work 50 km, 100 km per day) so with:

Renautl Zoe ZE (100 € / month, nigth energy 1 €/100 km) 1475 €
Renaul Clio Dci (5,5 liter / 100 km, 1,35 €/liter in 2012) 2041,83 €

Kangoo and Fluence are about 5,5 - 6,5 liter/100 km.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 7 years ago

I really don't like that thing that looks like made in India. Why is it that they always come with that same Kangoo every decade and never proposed a decent electric car like a sedan in the same time. Renault has been a really deceiving company and it is only now with the Nissan contact that there start to be a real car like the Renault Fluence. Although that is also limited to 160 km and not range extender on board even if you badly scream for one at the representative.? I just can't understand those guys notion of customer service. If you have a fluence a customer willing to pay, do you say no when he ask a small range extender in the car? That's anti marketing and total loss of pragmatic thinking in my view.

· · 7 years ago

Renault hasn't released all details, they should do so very soon, but I'm not surprised by the mileage limit. It's the same thing when you lease a car.

The 4-year 15,000-km a year maximum is the only offer announced, but I'm expecting more, with a lower rent if you drive less, or a higher one for those driving a lot.

· Tim Meyer (not verified) · 7 years ago

I am curious what the charging coupler will be as to my knowledge there is no standard in Europe unlike the US with SAE J1772. IEC 62196 seems to be an umbrella under which a variety of implementations can fall, including J1776.

Can the European market grow without a European coupler standard?

· Fernando (not verified) · 7 years ago


Fluence has the same battery (22 kwh), and the cost is
67 € / month without tax (reference rent for 10,000 km / year, 36 months renewable). I think 10.000 km is the minimun and I deduce that for every 5000 km over a year, rent increases by 5 € per month. So:

10.000 km 67 € + VAT /month
15.000 km 72 € + VAT /month
20.000 km 77 € + VAT /month
25.000 km 82 € + VAT /month
30.000 km 87 € + VAT /month
35.000 km 92 € + VAT /month

and this is confirmed if we analyze these two graphs Renault (included vat and energy):

· Fernando (not verified) · 7 years ago


We know that in March, but i prefer Mennekes standard. It has in the same conector slow (220v) and fast charging (500v).

· · 7 years ago

There should be a much bigger price difference between 10,000 and 30,000 km per month. The battery will not last a single year if you drive that much!

Just got today the news that the Kangoo is delayed in France. Deliveries won't start before September...

· Fernando (not verified) · 7 years ago

I think the good thing about batteries of Renault-Nissan is that deteriorate much less than the others. I think the Nissan Leaf begins to lose performance at the 160,000 km (100,000 miles), staying at 80% for another 5 years.
So an increase in annual mileage is not a big handicap.
If the lease are 4 years, to 30,000 km per year would be 120,000 km. Would still be at 90-100% and Renault could resell for a good price to the energy industry.

If you look at the second graph of Renault, for 30,000 km the cost of the battery plus the electricity is € 0.057 / km.

This means you spend 30,000 x 0.057 = € 1,710

1 kwh = 0.1 €

100 km = 15 kwh

30,000 km = 450 €

€ 1710 - € 450 = 1260 €

€ 1260 / 12 months = 105 €

105 € - VAT 20% = *** 87,5 € ***

Maybe in Geneva, Renault further data.

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