Originally Posted by GrumpyCabbie
Another concern. Say I buy a Fluence and take out a 2 year battery hire. What happens then? Does it have to be renewed? What if I don't actually drive the car (or haven't been able to sell it)? Do I just have to keep renewing the battery hire ad infinitum?
That's a pretty easy question to answer.
Within the agreement, you have the right to withdraw from it, with no penalty, after 1 year.
I'll explain how I have taken 'advantage' of this term.
So my hire-purchase term is 18 months. But I have signed off the battery hire for 3 years, 6000 miles pa.
Now, it may well be the case that after 18 months I hand the car back. At which point, I pay a bit extra. The extra is the difference between what I would
have paid had I'd taken out an 18 month term in the first place, and the lower amount I have actually
paid for the longer 36 month term.
Now, this is a real 'no-brainer' to me - given the terms of the battery hire, you should ALWAYS pick the 3 year term. This is because if you do end up going for a shorter term, you will not end up out of pocket. However, if you pick a short term and then extend it, you will have paid extra.
Similarly, don't bother to go for anything other than the 6k pa. Again, if you pick 9k and don't use it, you're out of pocket. If you pick 6 and end up at 9, they'll only charge you the difference. Why pay the higher amount in the first instance, and risk losing it?
So, my recommendation: ALWAYS pick 3 years and 6k miles. WHATEVER happens, you will then only ever end up paying the minimum of what you would've ended up paying, even if you had known beforehand your exact mileage and ownership term. You might even make a little interest on the money that you have 'held back' from them over the term (though, that hardly counts these days!!!)
This thing about 'you may be left with a car but no battery' ALSO works the other way, of course. Here I am with an 18mth hire-purchase, but an agreement from them to have a battery for 3 years. OK, so what happens if, after 18 months, I give the car back but not the battery? At the very least, this could create some 'awkwardness' that Renault might prefer to avoid, and pick a decent 'buy-it-now' price for me, to buy the thing outright! Remember that term I spotted, though, where they can take the battery back any time they like - I guess that was to cover this scenario.
BUT what does not seem probable is that they could then charge me for the 'more expensive' 18 mth term, because if I
have not chosen to cancel my battery agreement, then it hardly seems fair that they charge me the extra amount!
So in 18 months time, there may well be my car sitting on a dealer forecourt somewhere, having been given back to Renault finance, but it has MY battery in it and some legal wranglings going on in the background!!!
As for buying the battery outright - I suppose one might say to Renault "I have commandeered your battery unlawfully, and pay you the £8,000 insured value as compensation to you." That could be, legally, an interesting scenario, as they would have no legal right to obtain your car with their battery in it. This would head off into the legal tanglings of 'liens', I suspect. But why would you bother? They quote an 8 year life, which seems probable and likely, so why would you want to pay £8k for an 8-year-life battery when you could hire it for £1k pa and potentially reap the rewards of improving technology and performance/breakdown guarantees along with it?
Apparently, Nissan have been encouraging US Leaf owners to lease [the whole car], rather than buy, so as to ensure they given them the best service. I guess the jury is still out on the 'own-car, hire-battery' thing, but looks quite sensible to me, really.
At the end of the day, I reckon that as long as owners act reasonably towards Renault, and Renault act reasonably towards the customers, then all shall be bliss. I'm confident that current ZE private owners are models of reasonableness and everything will work out fine, but I wonder what will happen when things become 'mainstream' along with older 2nd hand models ... it may all get quite complicated and Renault may lose a degree of their sympathy towards EV owners.
Personally, I don't see how EVs will catch on. I can't see how 10,000 vehicles an hour down a motorway will find enough charging stations at the services to keep going. We'll see 'EV gridlocks' at services where people will end up literally fighting to get on a charging station. Every EV project to date has ended up being scrapped, with the few owners that enjoyed it while it lasted singing heavenly praises of their vehicles and regretting having to give them back. Just enjoy it while it lasts!