What is it?
Commercial vans might not seem that dynamic, but they’re increasingly at the vanguard of the electric vehicle movement. It’s simple business, given the lower running costs of EV fleets and the increasing number of clean air zones in the urban areas in which many ply their trade.
The trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by Renault and is the reason it’s turned the popular Zoe supermini into an electric load-hauling van that sits at the bottom of its growing range of battery-powered commercial vehicles.
That instantly makes the Zoe Van stand out: it’s one of a mere handful of supermini-based vans on the market, and the only pure-electric version among them. But while it retains a welcome dose of the hatch’s French charm, will that be enough in a market where load capacity is more important than style?
What’s it like?
Predictably, the commercial version of the Zoe draws heavily on the passenger car: it retains the same dimensions, 52kWh battery and 107bhp motor. The Zoe Van features a 22kW charger as standard, allowing for a full charge in 3 hours. Using an 8kW home charge will take 9hr 25min.
The front of the cabin is virtually identical to the hatch. That’s a good thing, with the same comfortable, decent seating position as the regular Zoe, and a decent level of kit on both trim levels (Business and Business+, which roughly match the Play and Iconic trims of the hatch).
The difference is behind the front seats, where the hatch’s rear seats have been ripped out and replaced with a load area that features a flat floor and a new part-mesh bulkhead to split it from the front cabin. Predictably, given the Zoe’s compact dimensions, it’s not a large storage area, with just 0.51 cubic metres and a maximum payload of 387kg.