Fluence - noises and smoothness - Renault Z.E. Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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Fluence - noises and smoothness

Following from another thread, FWIW; Though the Fluence is most certainly quieter than my Vectra diesel up to 60 mph, I do not find it much smoother or quieter above that. 95% of the noise from the Vectra at 70mph is road noise, just as it is on the Fluence. Both have practically zero aerodynamic noise.

I have also noted of late that I can feel a high frequency noise at my feet (well, mainly my left foot, when on the foot rest) when at or above 70mph in the Fluence (as indicated on the GPS, which is around 75mph indicated on the speedo). I can't say I have noticed that at any time before and wonder if there is any 'wearing' processes going on in the motor or whether it is simply a case of becoming sufficiently familiar with the car I am now detecting subtleties I did not detect before (along with other noises I can now hear that I could not hear when I first got the car).

The Vectra is surprising smooth engine and I do not get a high frequency tingling at all. In fact, it was wonderful coming from my previous VAG Skoda 1896 engine that sent a rather harsh high frequency into both feet, leaving me with a very strange sensation after stopping and stepping out onto 'stationary' tarmac! The Fluence is no where near like that, but it is still a spectrum of floor-bound conducted vibration that is 'detectable' at speed that is not present (surprisingly, perhaps?) from the Vectra diesel engine!

EVs are not silent nor completely smooth. They are machines. I'm quite happy with mine, but I have become a bit more relaxed now that I have 'accepted' that fact. I confess to having been, perhaps, churlishly critical of the various noises and things from the Fluence recently. I just have a slight concern that these noises and things are increasing as the mileage increases.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 04:54 PM
Eep
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RE: Fluence - noises and smoothness

I must say that my car is completely vibration free. I still find it borderline comical getting into a car with an engine and pistons to notice all the noises, smells, vibrations and related annoyances that I never noticed, or more likely just accepted and dialled out over decades of driving them. The Fluence is so fluid from standstill through to top speed that I could not possibly go back to owning any other type of car.

It's a bit like the garage experience. I would visit these come rain or shine and reach for my credit card unthinkingly, and now when I'm there the drudgery and expense of it all is immediately obviously. Yes we pay for our battery packs but it's really not in the same realm as some of the three digit price tags popping up on the pumps next to bigger cars. It all seems a bit mad.

I find the Fluence tends to become unsettled above 65mph. Cars like the Bristol and old Citroens get better the faster you go, but the Renault the opposite is true. I'm guessing the thumping great weight of the battery pack just makes things feel unwieldy when the car is romping along and changes in direction make the car feel perched on its tyres. It could also be the tyres.

No EVs are not silent nor completely smooth but they are the closest approximation of smooth silence that you can buy at a mainstream car dealership. They are machines, but I'm not sure what you mean by that.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence - noises and smoothness

The electric steering is poor. This is what unsettles the car at higher speeds, and I agree with you about that. It has come up in conversation here before. Overly sensitive around the centre-point. The same on all Meganes, apparently.

Something else I have noticed at speed too - the torque 'on tap' is sufficient that if you back off a little (to low kW) if you are, for example, coming up behind slower traffic, and then you put your foot back down again, I now notice a detectable, albeit quite small, 'thump' as the torque comes back in. I am retraining my right foot to feed the power back on more gently, but I'm used to my low-powered diesels where you wallow the pedal down to feed in the dinosaur oily stuff to make the engine bang the drums harder and there's enough inertia in the engine that you don't get this effect.

I still routinely drive the other family cars and after a year of EV driving they are all 'cars'. You have to understand that I am one of the most sensitive people you'll find to vibration and noise (especially when I am getting a migraine!) but I really don't have a problem with the cars we own. The Espace is the 2 litre petrol and yes you hear it hum but not unpleasantly, and beyond that you don't feel it vibrating, and the noise is swamped by road noise once above 40mph. If the ventilation fans are on I think you'd be pushed to say if the engine was idling or off when sitting stationary.

EVs add to the mix. A good ICE engine before the new gen of EVs came are still good. Noise is relative - the quieter a situation becomes the more you listen out for the next noisiest thing!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 03:21 AM
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RE: Fluence - noises and smoothness

I reckon, considering the Fluene is an ICE car modded, that Renault have actually achieved a pretty decent result. In most situations it is quiet, dignified and unruffled. I agree that the electric steering is not good, indeed it is variable and somewhat unpredictable but a **** sight better than that on mhy Honda Civic hybrid which was terrible around the midpoint. The Fluence's worst steering crime is occasional lumpiness.

With all that weight behind the rear seat it's not surprising that it is possible to catch the car out at times. In particular successive changes in direction while going downhill can certainly make the tail wag the dog and make me reach for the brake.

It's curious which cars one remembers, and which ones are remembered fondly. Not always the dearest, most technologically endowed. I loved my Riley 2.5, always felt it drove as though it was on rails. I loved my lowly Wartburg Knight estate, in which I did more miles than any other car - it wasn't a brilliant handler but the original Pneumant tyres were still good after 35,000 miles! For those who are too young to know, the car had a 3 cylinder two stroke engine with three sets of contact breakers, three coils and waterproof plug caps: coupled with a rear-facing engine to prevent the fan sucking water all over the block it even had a metal venetian blind to close off the radiator grille for driving through floods. I adored my Rover 3500 Auto and couldn't believe the 27mpg average from its 3.5 v8 engine.

I could go on and on, enought to say that in years to come the Fluence, for all its quirks, might join the list of "cars to fondly remember".
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 04:17 AM
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RE: Fluence - noises and smoothness

Actually you opened with what I was going to say, which was that for a run of the mill mainstream car the Fluence is pretty remarkable, albeit unloved by the press - who are swayed by bhp and how nice the material on the steering binnacle feels when you press it and whether it's made in Germany - and by the public, who either didn't know what to make of it, or had no idea what it was courtesy of Renault's laughably poor marketing.

I would agree that almost any modern petrol or diesel car is remarkable too for its refinement and overall smoothness, but then the manufacturers have taken a century to make it that way. Big deal, frankly. There is also no escaping the fact that power is delivered in bursts via geared stages, and that torque is something you strain noisily into and out of - and while I enjoyed such foibles of ICE power delivery for many years, it just seems antiquated now. My wife's car is quiet and relaxed but it still ticks over at junctions, still smells in traffic, much like the car in front, and as a manual feels hilariously cumbersome to drive on some occasions, such as when manoeuvring around car parks. You also have to wring its neck and stir the gear lever to get it to move - though I might once have described that as fun, in retrospect, it's just a bit odd. It like is like having an original Sony Walkman vs operating an iPod. They both are good products and engineering game changers that perform the same task, but one is demonstrably superior to the other in almost every regard.

I too have only a handful of cars I am particularly fond of, and the common theme among them all is that they were the ones which exceeded my expectations. Those which came with hype baggage like the Porsche 911 were bitter disappointments - I can tell you that for the money the 911 is really nothing special, and if the rear engine, rear drive layout is so amazing, why has no other manufacturer adopted it? For me so far the Fluence has gone straight to number one.

Donald, I'd be half inclined to get your car checked out if you feel bothered by vibrations and noise, because my car really has none of either. It's also the first thing passengers comment on. That said I'm not sure I'd trust a Renault dealer to locate and fix such issues on a model they've seen a thousand times before, let alone one they'll have no clue about!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-23-2014, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence - noises and smoothness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eep
Donald, I'd be half inclined to get your car checked out if you feel bothered by vibrations and noise, because my car really has none of either. It's also the first thing passengers comment on. That said I'm not sure I'd trust a Renault dealer to locate and fix such issues on a model they've seen a thousand times before, let alone one they'll have no clue about!
Nah! It's me, not the car. I ask passengers 'do you hear that?' and they look at me wierd and say 'whaaat!?'.

I'm pretty sure your Fluence will make the same noises, but you aren't tuned into them. When I describe these things, they are variations on 'nothing whatsoever', that is, a vibration to me is anything that might make me realise I'm not in bed!!

You've probably never heard the slight buzzing rattle over your right shoudler over 'gentle' roughness in the road before, either (well, not until you read this and listen out for it!!).... if you hear it, I can tell you what it is and how to make it quieter....

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