Renault has long been an electric vehicle pioneer with the Zoe supermini and Twizy, err, thing. Now the French marque is thinking about vans and has come up with this – the Renault EZ-FLEX.
It may look like Postman Pat’s new van, but it’s actually a live experiment. 12 of them will be tested by “professionals” over the next two years to find exactly what the electric van that Renault eventually puts into production should be like.
By “professionals” we’re assuming Renault means delivery drivers, tradesmen and, yes, probably postal services. In others words, supply chain drivers who do the so-called “last mile” journeys that account for a massive amount of urban pollution at the moment. Just think of the Co2 savings if DPD alone switched its fleet to electric power.
Renault hasn’t given any details of the powertrain in the EZ-FLEX, not that it matters anyway. What really matters is that it can go about 100km between charges “adapted to the needs of urban delivery,” whatever that means. Apparently, a typical urban delivery vehicle travels about 50km per day.
Even more important is how much stuff can be crammed into the back of the EZ-FLEX. At 3.86 metres long, 1.65 metres wide it is considerably smaller than a Clio and yet there’s three square metres of space in the back. The load bay can be configured to suit a variety of needs, as well.
Up front, the cabin has big, wide-opening doors, the front passenger seat tips up for extra space and there’s loads of places to stash the odds-and-sods that a van driver needs. There’s a huge screen on top of the dashboard displaying many bits of important information, as well.
Weirdly, though, the most impressive thing about the EZ-FLEX is its turning circle. It’ll turn round in a gap just 4.5 metres wide, little more than the length of a Megane.
By Graham King