- City-friendly electric small van concept from Renault
- Designed to provide lots of load area in a compact shape
- Real-world trial planned in effort to improve future production vans
The Renault EZ-Flex is yet another futuristic electric van concept – the difference here is that the French manufacturer is actually planning to put this funky-looking small van to work, rather than leave it sitting pretty on a motor show stand.
What is the point of the Renault EZ-Flex concept?
The idea is that by letting a select number of van users loose in the EZ-Flex, Renault will be able to gather data from the trial that will help inform how it builds future vans.
What is the Renault EZ-Flex electric van designed to be used for?
With a maximum driving range of just 100km (62 miles) per charge, the EZ-Flex is understandably designed to be used in cities – which are in turn likely to be the focus of population growth and an associated increase in delivery services in the coming years.
While 62 miles doesn’t sound like very much (it’s considerably less than the best small electric vans already on sale can manage, including Renault’s own Kangoo ZE), Renault says it’s twice what’s presently necessary for the average urban delivery service in Europe.
What’s innovative about the Renault EZ-Flex?
There’s nothing particularly special about it being an electric van – at this point we’re all pretty used to that idea. What’s really neat about the EZ-Flex is the packaging. For its size, it can carry an impressive amount of stuff.
At 3.86m long, 1.65m wide and 1.88m high, this is a very compact van – yet it still has 3.0 cubic metres of storage space in a load area that’s designed to be configurable to different uses and has an opening system that gives easy access to its entire contents.
We’ll have to take Renault’s word for this at the moment, as there are so far no pictures to support this claim.
Up front, the cab is compact to make room for this comparatively generous load area. But it’s also said to be spacious enough for a delivery driver’s needs.
The door openings are described as ‘wide’, there’s a central dashboard for space efficiency, and the EZ-Flex is highly connected – meaning its infotainment works like a smart phone and it has an extensive data-gathering telematics system.
It’s hoped this connectivity will help with the increasing demand from consumers for ever-more accurate delivery times and the tracking of online shopping orders.
How will the Renault EZ-Flex real-world trial work?
Renault’s plan is to lend the EZ-Flex to a number of businesses and municipalities in Europe over a two-year period.
The on-board sensors will gather data on location, speed, driving range, number of stops and access to the cargo area (among other items), and the ‘experiment’ will then combine this info with direct feedback from the people using it.
Renault hopes this will help it build better production vans in the future.