Solar-charged electric van


Bristol-based renewable energy company Sunlight Future has gone the extra mile for green energy. The company is running the first medium-range electric van in Bristol – and it’s charged by solar energy.

The Kangoo Van Z.E. was recently purchased from Bristol Renault dealer City Motors, and when charged from traditional energy it produces less than a third of carbon emissions of a diesel equivalent. The Sunlight Future van is charged with renewable energy generated by the solar array on the roof of the Create Centre’s eco-home, where the company is based. Charging the zero-emissions van with renewable energy means that it is effectively carbon-neutral for Sunlight Future to run.

With the transport sector responsible for 27% of all emissions, decarbonised transport will have a massive impact on reducing the UK’s total carbon emissions. Ofgem reports show that the South West has the highest installed capacity of renewable energy generation, the greatest of which comes from domestic solar installations, followed by the commercial sector. As a region, therefore, the South West is well prepared to lead the way in cutting carbon emissions and improving air quality by making the change to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy.The Sunlight Future electric van, which will be on show at the Renault Electric Vehicle roadshow in Bristol 19-21 October, now serves as a working model for other companies.  It shows how linking renewable energy with electric vehicle infrastructure, even at a grassroots level, can significantly reduce carbon emissions and running costs.Electric vehicles are exempt from road tax and require little servicing or maintenance. The two main costs are price of the vehicle and battery hire. Powered by renewably sourced electricity, the Sunlight Future electric van is also instantly protected from fuel price rises. Based on current prices, using solar energy for homes, businesses and electric vehicles over the next ten years will be considerably cheaper than relying on traditional energy options.

Director of Sunlight Future Ben Greenland comments:
‘We’re so excited to be able to show people that the technology to combine solar power and electric vehicles is here and it works. Nowadays electric vehicles can deliver on range, performance and efficiency, and ultimately they’ll save you money. We’re delighted to be driving a van that is exempt from tax, great fun to drive and goes at a fraction of the cost of a diesel equivalent because it’s powered by free, clean energy that we’ve generated ourselves.’

Nick Rixton from City Motors Renault says: 
‘We’ve had a lot of interest in the Kangoo Van Z.E. since it went on sale at the end of 2011. It’s just wonderful to see the passion that users have for the Kangoo Van Z.E. but Sunlight Future has really taken this to the next level. By charging it from a renewable source, they’ve shown that it is possible to be green while taking to the road and have recruited many new fans through their enthusiasm.’
People can visit the van at the Renault ZE roadshow, @Bristol, 19-21 October or visit to see a video of it in action.

For more information contact Katy at Sunlight Future on 07813 949754 or email

Notes to Editors

1. About Sunlight Future
Sunlight Future is a Bristol-based renewable energy company. We are dedicated to helping you generate clean, sustainable energy. We specialise in solar PV system design and installation. We also design and install energy efficient lighting systems and electric vehicle chargepoints. Our enthusiastic and experienced team will go the extra mile to help you find the right energy solutions for your home or business, using cutting edge design and the latest technologies, at the best possible price.

2. About Renault Kangoo ZE van:
Battery: 22kWh Li-ion (recyclable)
Top speed: 81mph
Range 106 miles
Full Charge time (from flat): 6 hours
Zero emissions

3. About Solar PV
Solar photovoltaic panels generate clean renewable energy by harnessing the power of the sun. The UK is well placed to generate good amounts of Solar Electricity due to long daylight hours and cool temperatures (Solar PV works best when the solar panels are cool and the electrical circuits work most efficiently). As the sun’s rays hit the silicon crystals of the solar panels it causes electrons to flow, by arranging many crystal cells in series we can create usable amounts of energy that flow in Direct Current (DC) this is then put through an Inverter which changes the electricity to the Alternating Current (AC) that we use in our homes and can export back into the National Grid.

With the Feed in Tariff paying customers per kW hour produced, the benefits of free electricity, the solar export tariff, rising fuel bills and the recent fall in cost for Solar PV installation there has never been a better time to take advantage of this exciting green technology. Sunlight Future supply and fit either bolt on Solar PV systems that are mounted on top of your roof tiles or integrated panels that are part of the roof structure.

4. About Renault ZE Test Drive Tour

5. About the Create Centre
Create Centre website for info on the home of Sunlight Future’s project, renewables and green initiatives: