Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report - Renault Z.E. Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

Well, after a scary four months (see "A sombre Introduction" ) Florence has passed the 1000 mile mark. There's still issues to resolve, some due to lack of information, but let's concentrate on the positive. What's the car been like to drive?

To be fair, really rather nice. The car's roomy, comfortable, with a well designed interior. It's easy to place on the road and handling is pleasing. You are aware of the weight behind (battery) especially on bumpy roads but the steering, whilst typically "electric dead" is not over-light and very positive. Unlike the Leaf, moving off from rest is not dramatic unless the accelerator is floored and on the move pickup during overtaking is good. Of course there's the quiet - disturbed only by coarse road surfaces and the car does clatter firmly over the occasional (You must be joking!" pothole. Seats are fine, controls easy to hand. Being built on the saloon Megane floorpan with its longer wheelbase rear room is good and, to be honest, the boot has more room in it than expected after reading reports.

I cannot vouch for top speed but I guess it will do the 84mph to which it is limited. Not being one to annoy the boys in blue, legal apeeds are easy and undramatic. The 13.something 0-62 has not been an issue.

Everyone asks about range. Having kept a log since day one I can report that the worst fill was 65 miles, all others have been mid-seventies or more but I have not been thrashing the car. Lately, with a few warm or even hot days the mileage has risen to 90 plus with the last fill achieving a gentle driving 98 miles per fill ! Having just charged Florence overnight the android app reports 100% charge and an estimated range of 104 miles. It would be good if I can achieve that!

Talking about charge, I am annoyed that the BG wall charger has no built in timer, nor apparently does the car, so "taking advantage" of off-peak charging requires me getting out of bed at 12.30am to plug the car in. Until I get this resolved I am back to using a 10A cable (415 extra) which I plug into a digital timer. I am surprised that the last charge, from 3/4 empty to full, only took just over 6.5 hours, neatly fitting into my 7 hour offpeak allowance. I might just carry on using this cable.....

I have yet to resolve bluetooth connection; the absence of any radio user manual doesn't help and the Renault site showing compatible phones for various radio fitments has corrupted files. I have not ventured out of range yet as I have had major problems with ZE services on the satnav, which appear to be "not available in this country". I wonder if I have a corrupted memory card? whatever, I cannot see charging points on the map and programming in a route to the East Coast from Oxford showed charging points: Nil. I need to talk to someone in the know, Renault Customer Service has no answers.

I will report again at the next milestone.

Paul
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-08-2013, 04:09 AM
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RE: Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

Thanks for the update. Will keep watching. . .
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-09-2013, 06:08 PM
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RE: Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauledg
Well, after a scary four months (see "A sombre Introduction" ) Florence has passed the 1000 mile mark. There's still issues to resolve, some due to lack of information, but let's concentrate on the positive. What's the car been like to drive?

To be fair, really rather nice. The car's roomy, comfortable, with a well designed interior. It's easy to place on the road and handling is pleasing. You are aware of the weight behind (battery) especially on bumpy roads but the steering, whilst typically "electric dead" is not over-light and very positive. Unlike the Leaf, moving off from rest is not dramatic unless the accelerator is floored and on the move pickup during overtaking is good. Of course there's the quiet - disturbed only by coarse road surfaces and the car does clatter firmly over the occasional (You must be joking!" pothole. Seats are fine, controls easy to hand. Being built on the saloon Megane floorpan with its longer wheelbase rear room is good and, to be honest, the boot has more room in it than expected after reading reports.

I cannot vouch for top speed but I guess it will do the 84mph to which it is limited. Not being one to annoy the boys in blue, legal apeeds are easy and undramatic. The 13.something 0-62 has not been an issue.

Everyone asks about range. Having kept a log since day one I can report that the worst fill was 65 miles, all others have been mid-seventies or more but I have not been thrashing the car. Lately, with a few warm or even hot days the mileage has risen to 90 plus with the last fill achieving a gentle driving 98 miles per fill ! Having just charged Florence overnight the android app reports 100% charge and an estimated range of 104 miles. It would be good if I can achieve that!

Talking about charge, I am annoyed that the BG wall charger has no built in timer, nor apparently does the car, so "taking advantage" of off-peak charging requires me getting out of bed at 12.30am to plug the car in. Until I get this resolved I am back to using a 10A cable (415 extra) which I plug into a digital timer. I am surprised that the last charge, from 3/4 empty to full, only took just over 6.5 hours, neatly fitting into my 7 hour offpeak allowance. I might just carry on using this cable.....

I have yet to resolve bluetooth connection; the absence of any radio user manual doesn't help and the Renault site showing compatible phones for various radio fitments has corrupted files. I have not ventured out of range yet as I have had major problems with ZE services on the satnav, which appear to be "not available in this country". I wonder if I have a corrupted memory card? whatever, I cannot see charging points on the map and programming in a route to the East Coast from Oxford showed charging points: Nil. I need to talk to someone in the know, Renault Customer Service has no answers.

I will report again at the next milestone.

Paul
Hi

What kind of phone do you have? My Iphone went connected straight away with the car. As for de ZE services it depends on the country, and I suppose that with the new zoe they will be more available. I get charging points (although not all of them), weather forecasts, live traffic, et.
As for charging, yes it is annoying not having a timer to start charging at off-peak... I have the same problem.And the 10amp cable just take forever...
As for range I get always between 85 and 95 miles, but I must say that with rainy weather it goes a beet lower: sometimes as low as 70!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

1300 mile report

Yes, the next milestone has already arrived which is more than can be said about the car. After the disastrous brake broblems including the car going faulty again within hours of being collected after the first repair I now have another worrying incident to report.

Driving along a busy street in Brill I was suddenly aware of a large red STOP sign in front of me with an equally large red message reporting electrical motor failure. At the time the motor was working and the car was progressing straight towards a dustcart blocking the road ahead. I took my foot off the accelerator ready to brake and - surprise surprise, the car speeded up! I had to brake against the motor to come to a standstill. Once the way ahead was clear I lifted my foot off the brake and the car rushed off, resulting in me having to slam the brake pedal down again. This was definitely not the built-in creep. I did manage to carefully ease my way out of the traffic and park up to await the breakdown truck. Incidentally, the truck was happy to take the car to Milton Keynes where they know the car well by now - but I was to be left at the roadside to find my own way the 6 miles home - unless I wanted dumping in MK, 25 miles from home. Marvellous!

Back home, having argued my case successfully after nearly an hour, I checked the user manual where it states that the "Electrical Motor Fault" message means that the vehicle is losing power. Strange, I could have sworn the opposite!

I think it's time I was relieved of this car, I am no longer prepared to risk further critical issues with a car that has such low mileage and has been inoperable for nearly half its time with me.



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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 06:41 AM
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RE: Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

Yikes.



You might be able to reject the car under Statutory Rights?

Trading standards?

Let us know how Renault treats you.


We haven't committed to buying a Zoe yet.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

PROGRESS REPORT

No progress.
Two weeks without my car and no news whatsoever about it. The repairing Renault dealer has not communicated and all I have heard from Renault Customer Services is that "they've started...". And my contact there is now on holiday. Today, for the second time in 2 weeks the hire car has to be returned as Renault have failed to renew the hire!
I am aware that the car has been used as my smartphone app has reported three battery charges. The "estimated mileage" shown suggests the car's being hammered around too, even used at night. Curious, maybe they're trying to make it break again?
I wrote an email to the supplying dealer sales manager explaining how this situation regarding my car cannot continue - I may post the email here if nothing is resolved over the weekend - and have not had the decency of a reply or even acknowledgement. Maybe he's on holiday too.

Just to cheer you up, I understand that Better Places in Israel (who were marketing the Fluence and setting up battery swop stations at enormous cost throughout the country) has filed for bankruptcy after losing the best part of a BILLION and making just 750-ish Fluence sales since launch. I wonder how Denmark is getting on? Australia has already cancelled plans for the introduction of the model. That leaves no sizeable marketplace for the model, which must surely be doomed???

Please, someone, cheer me up.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 09:56 AM
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RE: Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

Sounds like solicitor time. You need to get out of the contract.

I more or less know what to do in the US, but UK laws are entirely different. Emails are meaningless in the US.


Cheer UP.
There are still a handful of new 2012 Nissan Leafs for 17,000 or so. Trick is finding one.

There are also some very clean demonstrators listed for 15-16k.

The 2013 Leaf is starting to show up a dealers. We sat in a 2013 Leaf Tekna last week. Nice. Many small improvements over the 2012.


The car had just come in and wasn't ready for test drives. But the 2013 won't have the huge discounts available on the leftover 2012s.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

To answer my own question, Better Places Denmark has gone belly-up after major backers withdrew from the project. So one wonders what will happen to all those (few) who bought their Fluence specifically because of the battery swop facility? And, unless allowed to wither and die, the charge stations will need a sizxeable input of someone's money long-term to ensure their future. I didn't realise but apparently 40 such stations were built in Australia in readiness for the Fluence's launch - which never took place. What a fiasco, what a shambles. I, for one, cannot see how the project was ever viable with the figures quoted - and only one model of car to use the facilities. Was it the modern Delorean scam???
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2013, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE: 1000 Mile Report

Good news, I am now in negotiation for a replacement car! The supplying dealer says I have been particularly unlucky, general reliability of the Fluence has, in their experience, been excellent. So it looks like I will try another before giving up. My previous experience of hybrids has been good so this did seem the logical progression. I've got the weekend to ponder before committing myself.........

CORRECTION. I have just heard from marshalls of Milton Keynes that my Fluence is "ready to collect". Good news, you would think. But I then discover that no fault has been found so it's being returned unrepaired. I'm not sure I want to get behind the wheel of it again. However I decide to collect it, recover it back home and then consider a replacement. That's before I arrive in Milton Keynes to find a dirty car, screwed up seat and carpet protectors on the floor, stuff strewn about the boot instead of neatly tidied away - and very noticeable damage to the material of a front seat, to add to the scratch they put on it last time they had it in! What a shambles, what a fiasco, what an advert for Renault. Can anyone be trusted to treat my car with respect? I'm so stressed by all of this, I could blow a fuse.
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