Best van of 2012 revealed

The prestigious award, which is decided by a panel of journalists specialising in vans, has been given to an all-electric van for the first time in its history.

This should come as no surprise because the new Renault Kangoo Z.E. is the first mainstream electric van to go on sale in the UK when it arrives on 1 December.

Priced from £16,995 before VAT, the van also comes with a monthly rental fee for the electric battery and motor which it uses to drive the wheels.

As a result of the electric powertrain, the van is expected to be cheaper to run than diesel and petrol versions and delivers zero tailpipe emissions.

However, it will be capable of carrying 650kg and boasts a range of up to 125 miles. It can be charged via a home socket or through a recharging station and takes between 6-8 hours to charge fully.

The van is available in standard Renault Kangoo panel van body style, but a larger, Renault Kangoo Z.E. Maxi is also available in two- and five-seat variations.

On presenting the award, which is the biggest prize of the year for van makers, jury chairman Pieter Wieman said: “With the Kangoo Van Z.E. Renault brings the electric van within the reach of the normal European van user,” he said, “thereby delivering a major contribution to environmental sustainability, one of the most important issues of the transport of goods by road nowadays.”

The Renault Kangoo van Z.E. beat the Fiat Ducato to the top title at the awards, becoming the first electric vehicle to take the title in the process.

You can read a Renault Kangoo Z.E. van review here