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Renault's Kangoo Van Z.E. is the world's first affordable, all-electric van. It's available in two and five seat Maxi versions and features the same user-friendly functional features as its internal-combusting counterparts with nothing in the way of CO2 tailpipe emissions.

Renault cannot stress enough that the Kangoo Van Z.E. is a “true van”. It features the same dimensions and carrying capacity as the standard Kangoo – an overall length of 4.21m, the load volume ranging from 3m3 to 3.5m3, with payload at 650kg.

Besides the battery humming gently beneath your feet in place of an engine, the only major change seems to be the dashboard. It has, apparently, been “electrified” - entirely rethought to make range optimisation easy and efficient.

Either side of the speedometer are two new dials. One is a gauge which indicates the battery's level of charge, the other is an econometer, which tells you how energy is being used. Light blue indicates that the vehicle is running “normally”; dark blue is optimum whilst red indicates that energy is being used excessively in a way that will impact the range.

There's an onboard computer which indicates the remaining range in kilometres, the battery's remaining capacity in kWh and the average and instantaneous energy consumption. With a lot of people being apparently concerned that electric vehicles could leave you high and dry when the juice runs out, that there are so many indicators in the electric Kangoo suggests that it's failsafe.

The most startling change, though, is that like all electric vehicles, it runs in total silence. The 44kW electric motor runs at an equivalent to 60hp and instantly delivers a maximum torque of 226Nm. Nonetheless, the experience of driving in total silence will inevitably be a strange one for many people. But every time I've been in a van I've not been able to ignore the engine noise which is so loud that it's impossible to talk without shouting. Driving the Kangoo Van Z.E. will be such a comparatively tranquil experience that it could spell the end of the archetypal short-fused “white van man” as we know it.

The Kangoo Van Z.E. is priced from £16,990 excluding VAT. For the long wheelbase and five-seat crew van versions you can expect to pay about a grand extra.

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