Fluence ZE: 2000 Mile Report - Renault Z.E. Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2013, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Fluence ZE: 2000 Mile Report

So we've reached the next milestone, 2000 miles since purchase, approx. 4800 miles in total. And the good news is that I have little to report. Nothing major has gone wrong, no need to shout down the phone at anyone and a thoroughly enjoyable 2000 miles of summer motoring, now for the real test, winter!

It's not true to say "no need", yesterday I had my monthly statement from RCI Finance re the battery lease and they STILL think I have the white car four months after it was replaced. I could shout down the phone but I fear that might just confuse the issue, Renault Manchester did eventually tell them the details (they waited in case the blue car also gave problems and had to go back) but that was ten weeks ago. At least they can't say I'm not paying them, just for the wrong car.

My only other point of concern began this week, I've noticed a noise from the rear of the car when on a quiet road. It is like a creak and may be something to do with the suspension? I will keep an ear open and if it increases it will mean a trip to one dealer or another. Oxford's the nearest but I vowed never to use them again after my first brush with them. Or there's Milton Keynes who couldn't sort the white car. I could take a few days off and go up to Manchester, that would be interesting but the dog might object to being abandoned.

While it's being looked at perhaps they can dismantle the boot lid and find out what's floating around inside it! I makes a **** of a noise when I open or shut the lid or take a sharp corner at speed but I bet (hope) it's no more than lost screw.

Economy (not that it really matters) has been very good through the summer but the range is now dropping sharply, the last, fairly spirited , charge achieved 84 miles without the use of heat or radio.

Charging from the "occasional" 10A lead has been trouble-free, I leave the cable plugged into a digital timer all the time and simply dangle the cable out of the window where the car is parked. Last night's three quarter charge to full took exactly 7 hours 7 minutes which seems spot on. Following the discussion about the Chargemaster units I think I'd better check mine out again and see how mine is behaving.

The auto wipers drive me mad, forever changing speed or stopping and starting in light rain. Similarly the auto headlights are reluctant to come on in heavy rain when it's pretty dark and I am not that visble without the lights. So that's two modern gimmicks that I think I'll ignore.

To date I've run over no pedestrians, no-one seems to notice the car - no, I didn't mean that, no-one notices any difference from a normal car. But I chased two tiny dogs down the road yesterday for a hundred yards or two, they seemed blissfully unaware I was on their tail! Yes, I did eventually get past them safely.

The car has had slightly less use in the past month because of my new toy, a Suzuki Bandit 1200. It's early days yet but I reckon with spirited riding the Bandit will cost more to run than the Fluence. So much for trying to keep motoring costs down...
We reckon we got a bargain with our Fluences, the Bandit is seven years old but has only gone 250 miles in that time. The only things (so far) to have suffered from lack of use are the carbs, which had to be stripped and rebuilt with several new components - modern petrol with EU ethanol content is a disaster waiting to happen, attacking rubber, metal, even fibreglass fuel tanks suffer. And the EU want to double the percentage???

With the cold and the wet on the way Bandit is already destined to have an enforced rest, gone are my foolish days of youth when I thought nothing of traveling home for the weekend 65 miles in the ice and the snow and being so cold having to be lifted off the bike at the end. Maybe that's what it will be like in mid-winter in a Fluence with no heating switched on. Ugh.

So in summary, no news is good news, it looks like "White" was a one-off disaster, or maybe all the ones that "Howmanyleft" reports have already vanished were related to that car. I used to call White "Florence", but she really did not deserve such jovial familiarity. Who's going to be next to report on the Big 000?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2013, 07:36 AM
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RE: Fluence ZE: 2000 Mile Report

Mine is also around my 2000 mile point (4000 on the car now).

Nothing to mention, problemwise. I am very sensitive to noises and seem to have 'tuned in' to the motor noise 20~40 mph which is a bit annoying now!! Also, I seem to be hearing the tyres rumble more at 60mph. This is an inevitable consequence of not having the background tune of an ICE rumbling away, you begin to focus on the next noisy thing.

Fortunately, I have not yet heard any other rattles appear in the car. From day 1 I was impressed at how well the dashboard is so solid and squeak and creak free. I guess I shouldn't say that and it is probably tempting fate!!

I did start getting a slight 'flappy-tappy' noise that sounded like it was within the dash some time ago. Oh dear, I thought! I didn't track it down until just recently - the felt cover over the foot pedals is not really held on to anything (in my car) at the back edge of it and it was tending to bounce around over bumps of a certain characteristic. So, if you notice a slight, soft, 'tapping' each time you go over a particular bump, just reach down and see if the felt panel over the foot pedals is the cause.

Apart from my gripes and groans over how it could be made a bit better, I can't complain about anything much on it. The seat squabs seem a bit vulnerable to abuse, I have some creases in the leather from its previous 2000 miles and I like my seats to look like new and I always take steps on my ingress and egress in cars not to accelerate any seat-wearing problems. I think, in general, Megane seats have a poor reputation for not being hard-wearing.

I full agree with the wipers. What a pain those are! Just give me a stalk with a decent intermittent manual control!!

So, so far, comments and complaints have been limited to 'how it is designed to be' rather than any faults.

The supplied Type 2 lead has been an issue, as mentioned in another post. I'll post more when I know more.



[hr]
Just one extra point - the lights are really good a night. Not sure I have had a car with better illumination from standard wattage bulbs before. A near perfect light pattern on the road.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-26-2013, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE: 2000 Mile Report

I'm glad to hear the lights are good, I haven't yet used the car in the dark to find out for myself. Has anyone driven behind LED lights as on some Leaves (Leafs)? LED torches provide a strange, eery experience that I wouldn't want to see replicated in a car's headlights. They must have one advantage, though, no more blown bulbs failing the MOT!

Pondering the whole Fluence experience I wonder if Renault with the Fluence was aiming to do the same as BMW with their original "not for sale" EV saloon conversion, ie. use it as a test bed for future "proper" EV's such as the i3? BMW used that experience plus the Mini version to gain valuable expertise (we hope). Maybe Renault was doing the same when along came an offer they couldn't resist to supply vast numbers to an ambitious startup "Better Place" and threw the thing into full production unfinished. A fanciful scenario, I agree, but for a cash strapped company it could have been too tempting by far!

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-26-2013, 04:26 AM
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RE: Fluence ZE: 2000 Mile Report

Personally, I think the Fluence ZE is a pretty sorted car. Yeah, there are a host of improvements and 'you-didn't-think-that-through-properly' issues, but there always are on cars, even ICE cars that have been in production for 100 years already.

In fact, the more sorted the car, the higher is the focus of attention on the detail. I'd not be remotely surprised to find it is one of the better EVs and that if we fussy people drove the other types we'd find plethora of issues to comment on!

Frankly, I also like the fact that it has ICE vehicle models in common with it. It seems to be a common criticism thrown at the Fluence that 'it's based on an ICE model'. I think that is a positive benefit, at this particular point in EV evolution, as there needs to be a lot of commonality for the garage techs to be familiar with it. I'm a bit concerned about the lack of technical experience with the car in the dealer network when repairs become necessary, but at least the chassis is basically a megane which they should be quite familiar with.

I see no overall 'advantage' to cars that are, supposedly, 'designed' to be EVs when we're talking about such low volumes at the moment.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-26-2013, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE: 2000 Mile Report

I agree wholeheartedly with your point about design. Why do manufacturers think it's clever to scrap the years of design evolution when producing an EV? Some of the offerings are, frankly, just plain ugly if not impractical. I also think you're probably right in thinking the Fluence is "pretty sorted". Yes, with so many new features all crammed together in a new vehicle there are bound to be some problems; where I feel Renault lets us down is in their reaction when things don't go right. But maybe other manufacturers would be just as bad. We appear to be acting as design troubleshooters, it would be nice to think they noticed.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-28-2013, 06:16 AM
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RE: Fluence ZE: 2000 Mile Report

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauledg

The car has had slightly less use in the past month because of my new toy, a Suzuki Bandit 1200. It's early days yet but I reckon with spirited riding the Bandit will cost more to run than the Fluence. So much for trying to keep motoring costs down...
We reckon we got a bargain with our Fluences, the Bandit is seven years old but has only gone 250 miles in that time. The only things (so far) to have suffered from lack of use are the carbs, which had to be stripped and rebuilt with several new components - modern petrol with EU ethanol content is a disaster waiting to happen, attacking rubber, metal, even fibreglass fuel tanks suffer. And the EU want to double the percentage???

With the cold and the wet on the way Bandit is already destined to have an enforced rest, gone are my foolish days of youth when I thought nothing of traveling home for the weekend 65 miles in the ice and the snow and being so cold having to be lifted off the bike at the end. Maybe that's what it will be like in mid-winter in a Fluence with no heating switched on. Ugh.

Not that I want the bikers to hi-jack the Fluence forum. I took ownership of my Dad's Honda CBR1000F in April. My licence had just upgraded as I had passed my test on a 125. What a HUGE jump to the CBR from 14 bhp in my 125 Suzuki to 130 bhp. Couldn't really afford a bigger bike until my Dad said 'you can have mine'. It had been stored in his garage for a LONG time (tax disc was dated March 2002!!). So yes I understand your pain when it comes to cleaning old petrol out of the carbs. I had them on and off about 10 times before I got the bike to run sweet. So I can now call my self an expert on carb cleaning/balancing and removal of 10yr old fuel!!

My bike is the ONLY reason I need to visit a fuel station now that I have the Fluence and now that my bike is off the road for the winter (I am a strict fair weather softy) I do not expect to visit one again until April!!

Interesting times ahead for the Fluence with the winter approaching. I do about a 1000 miles a month so fairly racking them up. In fact I am using the Fluence MORE than my previous car as it is cheaper than the bus when going to town (FREE parking and FREE charging all day as long as you are plugged in).
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