Any support for a battery-rental petition. - Renault Z.E. Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Any support for a battery-rental petition.

Following from another thread, personally, I don't mind not owning the battery because it is like paying for an 8k loan instead of buying the battery, but better still if it goes wrong then Renault fix it....

...or will they?

Thing is, they've stopped making it. Now, if I have been paying my dues for 5 years and the battery fizzles out then I should happily go to Renault and say 'REPLACE'.

But as Renault have stopped making the thing, what batteries will they have? 5 year old duds on the shelf somewhere?

I am thinking that we will pay this money and they can't actually promise to deliver.

So if the condition will be honoured, then I'm happy to keep on paying. But if not then I might as well try to get ownership of it and get rid of the rental.

Here's my thinking - if we petition Renault to come clean on whether they will indefinitely full honour the 75% battery capacity condition then we can do no more, because that's what we've signed up to [well, most of us!! ]. But if they do not state clearly that they will honour the condition indefinitely, and how they will do that, then equally they cannot demand indefinite rental payments.

Seeing as we exceed 10% of the UK fleet here, perhaps we have more power than we think.

I'm not proposing to do anything just yet, I suspect they'll just come back and say they will support it without clarifying how they propose to do so, but what's the feeling on that?

Those 'aye'?...



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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 05:05 PM
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

Let's transfer the lease discussion to this thread - here is the Danish situation in recap


As for the pricing, (wait for it) you should know a little about the Danish market before you compare. In comparison you can buy a new Mazda 3 at 22.000 for the entry model. Unless you go towards very fuel efficient models, the taxes are 180% on cars in Denmark. Electric cars are ex taxes, so a Tesla S is priced like a big BMW here...

In Denmark, the lease contract is open ended, I cannot see Renault backing out of it. Ever. The other models in the Renault line up start their monthly fee at 83, the new Fluence owners get away with 33 per month. Oh, and have to find insurance for the 6.000 battery.

You really should not compare prices with a Dane. And never discuss taxes, it's a bit like saying "you English" to a Scot...

I don't think you should worry too much on the batteries, the cells are IMHO the same as on a Leaf, and look at the size of that market. Battery technology will improve, and the Danish customers with the open ended leases are going to put up a fight if they try to draw out of the market in just five years.

Henrik
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

I'm not worried about the battery. I am worried about my bank balance! If there is no benefit being gained by pumping Renault with cash if they cannot come good on the terms of the rental contract, then they should not offer the contract in that form.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 04:40 PM
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

Aye.

Does the battery chemistry/capacity change solely through age? I'm guessing it does to an extent but possibly no where near as it does through charge/discharge cycles??

Obviously I have no evidence to offer
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 06:02 PM
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

I'm all up for asking them to clarify their position, but I suspect all they will say is that they will honour the battery for as long as we keep paying it. That will probably take some months just to extract that.

When we pose a follow on question regarding HOW they will provide assurance for a battery no longer in production, they will most likely state that they hold sufficient stock to cover all eventualities. This will of course be bilgewater because - to take an extreme example - we might end up paying our rentals for ten years or more, by which time the Fluence battery will be not only a distant memory for Renault and its dealers alike, but any units they did genuinely have in stock as replacements will have been depleted by people claiming under the terms of the agreement.

Donald I know you like the principal of the agreement, and I know I've already stated I've come round to it a little, but in the short time I've been here you have sounded more and more unsure about it. It's still one of the things that makes the car affordable, in that you are effectively paying for a key component of the car over a number of years rather than up front, but long term it makes no sense for any number of equally valid reasons.

Renault have sold so few cars with a battery agreement that each time I've phoned RCI (and of course, that's yet another reason the whole thing sucks, in that you need to speak with dimwits at RCI) the person I've spoken to has demonstrated little or usually no knowledge of what the **** it is. The last lady I spoke to referred to the rental as the "chassis agreement". I do hope not!
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

I would have been much happier if they had continued to make Fluences - even if they had done so for other markets and just withdrew UK. But stopping production sends up several flags to me. I am truly split in my opinion, I can opt out of being a Fluencer at the end of the year, which in point of fact would save me money (I have parked up my Vectra, pending a more solid future for my Fluence ownership) or try to keep it. It is a classic in its own time, but that doesn't seem to have been much of a motivation for many people with several of only 66 still languishing unsold. Longer range EVs will be out before my Vectra gives up, and will the Fluence still look good.

Or maybe we won't see a better EV - I could actually believe that because this is 'untroubled' by too many engineers/VMs trying to pile ridiculous tech on it that makes it work badly. Case in point, the Leafs brakes are hopeless, as will any EV where they try to integrate the brake function with the regen. Fluence is 'dumb', you have regen and you have brakes. It is, IMHO, the most 'sorted' EV there is right now. Will other EVs get better, or will they get worse!?!

But my battery dilemma comes squarely down to the fact that they've stopped selling it, so what future for parts?

Li batteries have known and established failure and wear out mechanisms, which typically mean they start dropping away in performance after 1,000 charges. These have some extra compounds added to the standard LMO electrodes that should, supposedly, stretch that lifetime out. But it is 'when' not 'if' a rechargeable battery hits a knee point and accelerated degradation sets in. So being sure of a future battery replacement option available isn't simply a nicety, it is an essential if you are intending to keep the car for its lifetime, and if you aren't then what hope do you have to sell it to someone who will then be in the same quandary?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-25-2014, 04:57 AM
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

I'm sure for Renault and their accountants the cheapest route would be for them to agree a buy-back of the cars at some time in the future to save them the hassle and expense of maintaining them on the road. I always believed accountants ran these large firms but now I'm not so sure that Renault would take their advice.

Has anyone considered whether Renault dealers actually have the ability to swap out a battery (if they've got a spare)? Perhaps, when I'm feeling naughty, I'll ask one.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-25-2014, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

I'm not interested in a buy-it option. If they, say, give us '5k buy-it-now option' or if they say 'keep paying monthly until the car's 8 years old and then it's zero rated rental', comes to the same cash value.

But I am interested how they are going to balance owner's interests with theirs. Firstly, they cannot take our money for *that* contract if they have no replacement batteries, because they'd have no means to fulfil the contract. The capacity to fulfil a contract is a legal requirement for it to have effect. Secondly, if they aren't going to have replacement batteries in the future and these cars will turn into bricks once the batteries die, then they need to figure that into how much the cars are costing us now, amortised over the expected life of the vehicle. In other words, they'd be better off saying 'you can have the batteries gratis, on the condition that you agree to have no expectation of replacement or repair beyond warranty, and you return it to us for recycling' (i.e. return the whole car for scrap once the battery dies).

Frankly, if that is the case [that they will not be able to honour replacement or repair after warranty] then I think this is equitable.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 09:34 AM
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donald

Thing is, they've stopped making it. Now, if I have been paying my dues for 5 years and the battery fizzles out then I should happily go to Renault and say 'REPLACE'.

But as Renault have stopped making the thing, what batteries will they have? 5 year old duds on the shelf somewhere?
I am not convinced battery failure will be an issue. They may have stopped making the Fluence but they (battery manufacturer) can quite easily turn out a bespoke battery in the unlikely event that it will actually fail.

I have every confidence that the battery will last for 8 years (as guaranteed by Nissan on the Leaf)

The thing that will kill the Fluence will be a major component failure out with the warranty period. Coupled with the rapidly depreciating cost of the car (see a private buy on Autotrader for 5995 today)

I always said as long as I got 4 years out of the Fluence I would be happy. Forward wind to 2017, I am still happily paying my battery lease to Renault and I have a catastrophic motor failure. I take the car to local dealership and they quote me for 3000 to supply and fit a new motor. Looking on Autotrader there are 5 Fluences for sale for 1000 each, so what do I do?

My prediction is that Renault will fully honour their commitment to the end of the battery lease (very little chance of battery failure). The big question will come at lease renewal time (Oct 2016 for me). Am I going to sign up for a 3 year lease on a battery when I have no warranty left on the car? Probably not. Renault may offer to sell us the battery, who knows? It is unlikely I will be able to sell the car as nobody would want to sign up to new lease on what is likely to be a sub-1000 car at that point.

I envisage my car to work exactly 0 at that point, so I will give Renault back their battery pack (which they will re-cycle) and I will tow the battery-less Fluence to the nearest crusher.

So in summary Renault will not need need to honour any battery warranty claims as the Fluence will only exist to those who are prepared to pay extortionate sums to have a major component replaced. And considering we are all a bunch of cheapskates on here arguing how to get an extra 0.06 miles per kWh I doubt that will happen.

Sorry Fluence I really like you as well!!

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Any support for a battery-rental petition.

I, also, have some confidence the battery will remain viable (i.e. >75% original capacity) at 8 years old. But it can fail. I have had too many such batteries fail before, and this is just the same on a large scale.

But that's not the point. The point is that you can't enforce a contract you can't fulfil. I don't believe for a second they'd make new batteries. It is probable that the modules will still be being made, so the prospect of module replacements exist. But watching the Dutch guys discussing the Betterplace battery packs, these things weren't designed for a remove and refurbishment.

I don't look on cars as a throw-away item at 8 years old. On the contrary, for me that's the time when they are really paying for themselves when the outlays and depreciation are low and you are still getting service. I would be happy to buy a 1,000 Fluence and then pay 1,000 per year on battery rental. To me it's a no-brainer because it is that or a 1,000 bill for fuel. People do that all the time! I just hope you lovely people keep your Fluences in A1 condition so I can be your future customer! I have asked RCI again about what can happen towards the end of my contract, with a view to unloading the one I have and picking up the white Expression, but it appears to have gone now so that rather ends that possibility.

I do not remotely believe there will be many of these advertised for sale. Clearly the comments here is that we see no reason to move on from the Fluence. That 'private' one is odd, it is the one that came up on autotrader before for, I think, 7,200 then it promptly dropped to 6,995 and then it disappeared. Now it is back a few months later.

I guess I have little choice but to let things carry on and see what Renault come up with at the end of the year. I had hoped for an earlier fixed conclusion so I can decide how to juggle the rest of the family 'fleet'. At least I am in a position to agree a bargain deal, or simply walk away.
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