Renault wanted to do something to differentiate their vans from others on the market. What they needed was a concept so radical that it'd generate consumer interest whilst also bordering on the insane.
Renault's answer was to release the first ever production electric van.
The Renault Kangoo Z.E. has been around since 2011 and has been available with the government's plug-in van grant for close to a year.
That makes it one of the most affordable vans on the market for businesses to consider, especially when considering the tax breaks available for such an economical vehicle.
If you wish to buy a Renault Kangoo van, it is also possible to get cheaper van insurance with some insurers offering five per cent discount because of its electric credentials.
There are three different versions of the Kangoo Z.E. available: The electric two-seat van, two-seat long-wheelbase Maxi and the Maxi five-seat crew-cab.
However, all of them have one thing in common; they all run on purely electric power and never need to be filled up with increasingly expensive petrol or, as is more common in vans, diesel.
The benefits are obvious; the Renault Kangoo ZE will be cheaper to run than any diesel van on the market today. It costs a couple of pounds to charge the van (this will take six-eight hours) and it will avoid extra charges such as the £100-per-day London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) as well as increasingly strict European emissions criteria.
Good news for the eco-conscious business, then. The Renault Kangoo ZE is the perfect van for shorter journeys and those who want to use it as a city delivery vehicle.
The electric powertrain is more than capable even with a full van. The electric motors provide 85hp and the payload capacity is 650kg (down by 90kg over diesel options).
The spacious load space associated with the Renault Kangoo van remains with 4.6 cubic metres of space for packages from floor to roof.
Simple back doors help loading and they swing out to 180 degrees to ensure easier entry and exit - this is a van in every sense.
However, the electric motors do have a couple of advantages over a standard van. The van accelerates constantly and instantly, giving the van plenty of speed around the city when moving away from lights.
Capable enough of powering the van for up to 100 miles, the Renault Kangoo ZE is the first electric vehicle that makes sense for businesses in the city.
And inside the interior is almost car-like with soft-touch materials, comfortable seats and a simple, uncluttered dashboard and instrument panel.
All versions come with the ability to pre-heat the cabin via a mobile app, central locking, electric windows, air conditioning and a basic stereo system.
Ford has already dabbled with an electric Transit Custom but Renault's superb electric car strategy, which includes the new Zoe, Fluence and Twizy models, has placed it perfectly to take advantage of the burgeoning electric van market.
If you're after a frugal, eco-friendly van that does not require too much sacrifice, the Renault Kangoo is the van for you. Prices start from around £15,000 plus battery leasing costs.