I took one off these away from Leicester last week.
Just noticed that they are all HN or HV. That's Portsmouth DVLA. Hmmm. Could they all be from the same fleet operator?
They are Renault's own demonstrator/press vehicles, afaik
. If you go looking for UK press reports on the Fluence you'll see the HN61*** reg's throughout.
Mine was registered January 2012. Again 'AFAIK
', the official launch of the Fluence in the UK was 1st March, so you can see that these [61 reg] are 'early' cars.
I suspect they had been in a compound somewhere and were just clearing them out. We had a bit of fuss getting tax on the thing for me to take it away (the dealer said I could apply to Swinton who offer a 7 day temporary insurance so as to get a cover note, but Swinton refused to insure the car!!). The lack of a £0 rated tax disc makes me thing that maybe no-one bothered to apply for a new one in Jan 2013. I can't see why anyone would bother to 'cash in' a £0 tax disc, so makes me think they have been sitting in a compound for 6 months while Renault decided what to do with them.
I did notice the cars available had well-spun front tyres - by that I mean you can see an excess of playful wheel spinning has been going on. Why they give you an option to turn the anti-skid control off I don't really understand, but you can imagine these press hacks giving it the full welly. Don't they have anything better to do when testing cars!?!? Anyhow, I did stop to wonder about whether this might've damaged the car/batteries, but at the end of the day one might equally consider this to be 'stress-screening', and as mine clearly continues to work very well and will not experience such abuse again, I think I can rest easy. (Although, as the tread on the front tyres is a full 1 mm less than the rears, presumably as a result of 'press testing', this might cause me to rotate the tyres front-back at some stage in the near future!!)
These press cars come fully loaded to impress, of course. Leather, metallic, includes the regular 3-pin 'occasional' lead, rolling sun screens (I like very much), and a few other extras - although the basic model comes pretty heavily spec'd a it is.
Bear in mind that 'Better Place' went bust in May, which was Renault's main customer for this Fluence in the short-term, and these don't have fast-charging facilities. So they are rather 'orphaned', so to speak, and I guess Renault didn't really know what to do with these. So think hard before buying one as they are essentially designed for battery swap and are a bit of a compromise here in UK (so as to get the launch out of the way, I guess). I'm lead to believe the next year's Fluence's will have the same 3-ph fast-charger as the Zoe was released with.
The Fluence is meant to be a 'compact' car. It's huge! Don't get one if you have a tiny drive/garage!! I have a Grand Espace and this IS [believe it or not] the same length [~4750mm] and width [~1810] as the G Espace. That's a big car, and is quite awkward to find a parking space big enough quite often. It'll be a good idea to go find a charging bay, just because you get extra parking space around it for the lead!!
Oh, yeah, the other unique, nice thing about the Fluence over any other current EV is that there are duplicate charging points on both sides of the car, so you don't have to think hard about which way around you position the car! (I wonder if that feature will be dropped when they do the fast-charge option for the Fluence.)