FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN - Renault Z.E. Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

Well, it's that time again. My second Fluence has reached the 1000 miles in my hands so here's my report.

Florence, my original white car, caused me all sorts of grief in its first thousand miles. I am glad to say that so far Blue has been far more accommodating. The car has driven beautifully, is supremely comfortable and economy has worked out during this hot spell of weather at 100-105 miles per charge driven gently round the lanes and 95 when pushed harder. To date I have not attempted motorway speeds! I have had no breakdowns, no dire warnings on the dash, no anxiety. I have just enjoyed it working and have yet to experiment with some of the gimmicks like bluetooth ( I have Parrot installed as well so we'll see if the two systems coexist happily) cruise crontrol and aircon timing overnight.

That's not to say NO gremlins. The driver's window is sometimes reluctant to wind back up when asked. And there is a rattle inside the bootlid, something is sliding around inside it - maybe that's where gremlins live?

That just leaves the thorny issue of charging. The car has no timer built-in, nor does the British Gas wall charger. So I have been using my 13A cable with a digital timer plugged into the socket. The timer works fine - but the car doesn't start charging even when the timer is active. I have to press the lock button on the keyfob. But the car is already locked! So I still have to get out of bed at 12.30am to start the charging!

On the latest charge I decided to try to wall charger, which worked well with the original car. Plug in, charge starts when the key lock on the charger is turned to lock. I'm sure this car started charging immediately - so I ended up charging at full price!

I have an app on my smartphone that reports state of charge and this morning that indicated full charge and 95 miles to go. Great. I also have email notification of end of charge. There was an email waiting for me indicating charge complete, 98% and 91 miles range. And another email. And another. Over the course of 2 hours I was sent TEN emails all saying charge complete, with increasing range with each email. What the **** is going on? I hope the problem is a Renault computer gremlin, not mine in the car?

Since writing this I have charged again using the wall charger. I carefully plugged in the car (ok), locked the car (ok), switched the BG electrics in the house off (ok) then locked the charge unit (ok)... and went to bed. Woke up at 12.30 and went down to switch the unit on. Wow, the car's indicators flashed 5 times, success! This morning the charge was complete - and once again I had a rash of emails, 6 this time, reporting charge complete, timed at 00.51, 00.53, 00.55, 02.03, 05.27 and finally 07.04. Both times this situation has happened have been using the BG wall charger. Ugh. More hassle! I think I might revert to the 13A cable.

I still dream of getting charge timing working - it's not the saving of money, over a year that's not a great deal. It's a matter of principle. I have off peak. I want to use offpeak. The car is stated to be able to take advantage of offpeak..... I just want things to work, for heavens sake.

I'm getting wound up again. I'm off to enjoy the sun.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 01:10 PM
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

So it appears Renault HAVEN'T cured the electrical gremlins that they're so renowned for
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 10:36 AM
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

I did around 300 miles in mine in the first 1-2 weeks, all seemingly perfectly well and no gremlins to report, but have been away since then for a few weeks.

I am also a bit frustrated by the lack of timer charging, and will also raise it with the wall installation company.

I was considering 'knocking' something up, wherein there is a key which can turn the wall unit on and off. If the car is plugged in then turning the wall charger on commences the charging.

So I might rig up a solenoid and lever bolted to the key, and a little timer. Parts cost is trivial - all Chinese ebay stuff easy to get. But the time/hassle of engineering it will be annoying.

Paul, just one thing: Do you also get the message with the sat nav asking you to confirm accepting terms and conditions on every start-up? Quite annoying. Why do I have to press that stuff every time? Can I get rid of it?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

Donald, who installed your wall charger. The BG one does have a key switch on it that does what you suggest. Shame then that BG apparently cannot supply one with a timer built in though the installer did say they could add one into the charging circuit (presumable costing so much you would never recoup the cost). I haven't gone down that route; I did ask a local electrician and he quoted 75 but I got the impression he really didn't want to do the job so I chickened out of letting him try.

I'm still trying to find out where the gremlin is that makes this car respond differently to the white one when charging. If I get a shower of email at the next charge (10A cable) then I'll know it's to do with the wall charger.

The sat nav message asking you to sign your life away (or at least your data protection) does come up every time and I've found no way of getting rid of it. So I turn the key, start the car, push the accept button and then the one that takes me to the map. Then off I go - I can almost do it blindfolded.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 08:22 AM
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

It was a 'polar' chargemaster one.

You might find you are breaking the terms of the installation, if yours was installed under a Gov grant, if you fit a timer switch between the service box and the wall charger. It has to remain powered for the data logging to occur properly, which would be part of the grant T&Cs, so deliberately switching it on and off may cause hassles for that system. I don't know exactly, but I want to be sure I can download my electricity use data from their website myself, so I want that data to be accurate. That being said, they've provided zip in the way of info on how I actually do that, so far.

{I was a bit stupid for letting the installation guy go when he finished early and he asked if there was anything else I needed. I should've asked him if he could also attach a 3 pin socket onto the same circuit as the wall-charger, so that I could plug in a DIY timer actuator nearby.}

In a way, it is easy to see how all these foibles get overlooked (and likely ignored) when the only real users so far appear to be you and me!! But in another, it is a lack of 'attention to detail' that shouldn't really exist in a $5bn project and is the sort of lack of attention that causes customers to walk away.

If it was a big enough issue for enough people, I might have hoped someone might make a cost effective flying lead Type 2 male - type 2 female (or J1772) in which there was a timer box inserted, to insert into the charge cable line. But a relay fit for 30A continuous load is expensive and bulky, and is, I guess, essentially all that there is in the way of 'heavy' electrics in the charger box in any case? Better the charger had a timer in. Seems a no-brainer to [you and] me, but who else is [there to be] making that point!?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

As my first car was an ex press car, not new, the deal with the dealer included "free wall charger". As far as I'm concerned that's the beginning and end of it, no contract, no small print. Will you visit me in jail?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 06:11 PM
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauledg
...The driver's window is sometimes reluctant to wind back up when asked...
Paul. Take a look at page 3.13 of the driver's handbook. See if it needs to be 'reinitialised'.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 02:36 AM
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

Got a question about the Fluence driving experience now that some miles are getting put on them;

1, What are the brake discs like? As the regen is so aggressive does the car not use the friction brakes as much and thus allows them to rust? I know the Prius can have issues with rusty rear discs due to lack of use and its regen isn't as severe as on the Fluence.

2, What affect did the a/c have on range on those hot days we had a few weeks back? And is the a/c noisy?

3, Does the a/c need special oil like on the Prius?

4, Any niggles or issues such as one side of the charging ports on the car isn't as easy to use or is the sat nav as good as a normal TomTom? Any problems parking as it is a long car. And finally, any members of the public realised it's an electric car and confronted you with questions?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumpyCabbie
Got a question about the Fluence driving experience now that some miles are getting put on them;

1, What are the brake discs like? As the regen is so aggressive does the car not use the friction brakes as much and thus allows them to rust? I know the Prius can have issues with rusty rear discs due to lack of use and its regen isn't as severe as on the Fluence.

I haven't inspected the discs but I know very well from first hand experience the Prius discs could be replaced at one MOT and fail at the next due to lack of use and surface rusting. Surely a change of material could have avoided that? I must admit I rarely need the brakes, the regen is very effective.

2, What affect did the a/c have on range on those hot days we had a few weeks back? And is the a/c noisy?

I'm not a lover of hot or cold cars - or radios. During the hot weather I have enjoyed fresh air with the window down. At low speeds it's pretty quiet and draught-free. Would be different if I was stuck in queues of traffic every day.

3, Does the a/c need special oil like on the Prius?

4, Any niggles or issues such as one side of the charging ports on the car isn't as easy to use or is the sat nav as good as a normal TomTom? Any problems parking as it is a long car. And finally, any members of the public realised it's an electric car and confronted you with questions?

Not used the offside charging port yet but it's nice to have the option. The Tomtom is fine and reflection-free, very well positioned. Rear parking sensors are very useful as there's a fair tail behind the rear window. And no-one has yet commented on it being electric or even leapt out of the way, it's a real Q-car.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 01:03 PM
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RE: FLUENCE ZE: 1000 MILE REPORT - AGAIN

Rear brake discs on a car like this is ridiculous. We're victims of nothing more than a fashionable hype that says discs are best brakes. Rubbish. Front discs, rear drums. But you can't tell 'em.

My Subaru suffered this, and that was a fast, 'wasteful' 2.5 petrol. Those rear discs cost a pretty packet to change. My Espace is going that way too, now. A two ton car, and after a recent 3,000 mile jaunt up and down mountains around Europe and the rear brakes still have untouched rusted areas on them.

You can pretty much do one-pedal driving with the Fluence and almost never touch the brakes, except to come to a dead halt. If it didn't have a [useless, and dangerous] creep function then you really woudn't need to touch them.

Incidentally, it is supposed to have a hill-hold function, wherein the brakes stay on for 2 seconds after release from stationary. However, mine rolls back promptly on releasing the brakes. I have to use the handbrake on a slope, on mine.
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