Scary Experience - Page 3 - Renault Z.E. Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-24-2015, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 326
RE: Scary Experience


1. It took 8 days for my New Year email to get a reply from a Customer Support Manager. Full of apologies. She asserted that it needed to be seen by a technician first, and I shouldn't drive it to Milton Keynes so she arranged a flatbed. Wise move.

2. Hire car arranged and delivered Wednesday. Hire car taken away again Saturday morning, leaving me with no car. Tried reaching Customer Services, shut for the weekend. Tried the garage, only the receptionist prepared to speak to me. No joy.

3. Monday, waited to see who would get back to me. No-one. Tried Customer Services, after lots of button pushing left with annoying music for 20 minutes, gave up and sent urgent email to my “Manager” asking for a call back, explaining why. No response.

4. Thursday. Get message from garage, no fault codes on computer so they wish to give it an extended test run. I agree.

5. Friday. Car laid up at 3.55pm with near flat battery after a 20 mile run. The following Wednesday they got round to charging it. So much for the extended test run.

6, Message from garage that they had test driven it and could find no fault. I asked if he had read my email - No, he hadn't. I explained the situation and the non-response from Customer Services and he said he would try them. Heard nothing since. He did say however that as there were no fault codes I do not qualify for a hire car.

7. Thursday. Next contact with customer services. I'm told that I should have had a rental car as they had issued instructions for the hire to be renewed automatically. Who they relayed this message to, I don't know but it never happened. More arguing to and fro, explaining my serious concern for my safety. Then I was told they can't provide a car indefinitely, “Let them try one more week then you'll have to have it back“. I repeated again I did not want un unrepaired unsafe car back.

8. Friday. Moving on a week, the car is still sitting at the dealer, fully charged - no test drive, no work, just sitting there. Tried customer services again, got the same story, never an apology. Now I am at fault - the car did show an error code showing I had pressed brake and accelerator at the same time. Funny, I thought there were no error codes. Later on, it was my fault as I must have panicked. Really? Oh, and the dealer will start charging me storage on the car in a week's time.

9. Saturday. Contacted the dealer to see what their version is. EV specialist not in work today, all service department too busy to speak to me. I phone Manchester (the retailer of the car) and talk to the friendly chap who sold me my Fluence originally, bent his ear a bit and hope he will bend a few more ears on my behalf. It's a long shot. I wonder whether anyone there read my original email?


If the unspeakable happens to your pride and joy, a fault that does not have a blindingly obvious explanation, be prepared for a VERY long wait and NO HIRE CAR. Do they care? NOT A JOT. And you might also get back an unrepaired and dangerous car.

I am tempted to scrap the car - presumably I have to pay off the battery rental. Or I could hand the battery back to RCI (together with the car - read your contract!) and pay off the battery. Or I can collect the car and take out extra life insurance. Sell it to some unsuspecting mug and hope he never gets top speak to the dealer. Or notify my insurance company that the car is dangerous, do they want to continue insuring it??? - that would keep me safe as I would have to walk. Perhaps I should take a degree in electronics and then sort the car myself, it might be quicker.

I am open to suggestions. Oh, and while I'm on, any thoughts on how I can recoup my lost £14,000 legally ( no gambling, no prostitution, no unnecessary violence) so I can afford a replacement car?

william is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-24-2015, 10:11 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 803
RE: Scary Experience

You have a dilemma there, for sure.

If there is a log of a braking and accelerating request at the same time, I would say that this did happen. I am not surprised they would not log or report this to you as 'a fault' because that could be an erroneous user demand and not a fault log by the car. I am uncertain why that would be recorded in the car's electronics, though? Sounds odd that gets logged.

The next question would be if that was something you did, or something the car did. Do you drive two-footed? Do you drive in size 15H wellies? Just need to nail that down first.

If none of these, then to my mind it is back to the EMC issue again. At some point, your accelerator pedal circuits could have responded erroneously to an EMC threat by sending a false 'accelerate' signal. Fast jets in the area at the time? Any radar installations near by?

Why the car would not disregard an 'accelerate' signal when also receiving a 'brake' signal would be the next question - this should be a design feature .... As far as I recall, I think I did that test and at speed you just get braking (I could be mistaken on that) but I did do that test at very low speeds in which case the motor would, actually, push against the brakes (I tried to use this as a means to overcome the useless capability on a gradual slope mine had - I suspect the supposed 'hill-hold' did not work correctly on mine). Not sure it is a good idea for it to be doing that.

I think your first experience was a genuine fault and has been the subject of recalls and replacement ECUs and brake pumps. That was a genuine shocking experience for you. I think this has knocked your confidence and it is possible you missed the brake pedal and now attribute the problem likewise with the genuine issue you experienced before. If that is not the case, only EMC susceptibility issues remain, IMHO.

If you are genuinely considering scrapping the car and see no other way forward, I would not fear to volunteer to try your car for an extended period if that presents an alternative option for you. I know the Fluence ZE as a model intimately so could spot any irregularities with it, we could go to the spots you had problems with and see if there are any EMC hazards around. I may not be able to convince you to carry on with the car, but it would be 'due diligence' that you should have no fear selling the car on if I find nothing. Of course, if I did find anything then Renault would have little place to go with two witnesses to the behaviour.

donald is offline  
post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 03:05 AM
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 9
RE: Scary Experience

Originally Posted by Chris
Both times were after driving through pools of standing water and getting the red brake warning sign on the dash. If you ignore the warning and carry on (knowing that the sensors are flooded with the drenching) your brakes are fine for about 20 mins. But then watch out - you suddenly aint got hardly any brakes at all. I've not had the feeling of acceleration you describe - just no brakes.
Is this a question with just the Fluence ZE or also with the petrol version?
alexmol is offline  
post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 59
RE: Scary Experience

Hi Alexmol - never driven the petrol one but the experience was very different to normal ICE brake fade after deep water. In the Fluence ZE you get it at low speed only and after having had perfectly OK brakes for a good while. Chris
Chris is offline  
post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-23-2015, 03:45 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 707
RE: Scary Experience

useful to know (and watch out for) however, having had a Twizy previously, I never, ever drive through standing water. It really isn't worth the potential risk of unseen dangers, bow wave swamping from idiots on the other side, and hidden obstructions.

i always find an alternative, as the Fluence is so low anyway, i wouldn't even consider it.

This spot (in Glasgow) always floods at a bridge that carries the Forth & Clyde canal - so if it has been raining for 1+ days, I take an alternative route!
Buzby is offline  
post #26 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-08-2015, 06:14 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2
RE: Scary Experience


I haven't checked on this forum for some time. The last time I did there was nothing like this on here.

Just for the record, this is a summary of my experiences owning a Z.E. ;

From December 2012 to February 2014. The car faulted (i.e. broke down) and had to be recovered, on no less than 15 occasions – which equated to roughly once every three weeks. In fact the faults occurred so regularly - to the exact day, that when I got the car back I would say, 'Three week to the day today, and it will fault again'

The breakdowns included;

Complete service brake failure . Putting me and my wife in considerable danger.

One of the occasions was under emergency stop conditions, you can imagine my delight when I mashed the brake pedal to the floor, only to have the brakes fade away to nothing. I'm a strong bloke and I put so much pressure on that pedal I thought I'd bent the steering wheel.

On the other occasion I was on a steep (about 1 in 5) downhill single track road, it was straight for about 200 yds then had a sharp right hand bend. There was a drop away on my left of about 200 ft. I handbraked it to a halt. My wife said if she'd have been driving she probably would have been killed.

Performing an emergency stop on its own. It was so strong it threw us both into our seat belts. Once again putting us in considerable danger. Loss of control could have resulted in us entering a large lake on our left...

The car failing to respond to the throttle – twice - once when emerging onto a busy main road. I just loved the sight of that Artic bearing down on me, while I frantically cycled the ignition through it's self test in an attempt to get the throttle to respond. A very dangerous incident indeed.

Not being able to move the gear shift out of ‘Park' Not much drama on this one, but puzzling.

Me being stranded at over 1350 ft above sea level in snow and minus 4c as the car just stopped. I was hypothermic when the recovery service got to me. Oh the thrill when the recovery truck lost traction on the ice and slid backwards down a steep hill with my car on the spectacle lift on the back. Me and the driver had to walk the last mile to my place - in a blizzard- when I had to get the necessary kit, and my Range Rover to go back and recover his recovery truck....- the irony!! Shame my car wasn't written off.

The heater broke in, I think, it was September, they didn't have the necessary kit to de-gass the aircon. They had to import it from France. My car wasn't repaired until January. Of course I couldn't defrost the windows without a heater, but it was not accepted that I couldn't drive the car, so no courtesy car.

My car was returned damaged on two occasions after it has been to a Dealer, and despite me being able to furnish photographs of the car undamaged before it went in and then damaged after I got it back the Dealer declined to accept they had caused the damage.

I had been left without a hire car for over 116 days while my car had been either off the road faulted, or at Dealerships.

I had to pay battery hire charges for each and every day I owned the car, whether or not it was on the road, or faulted. I suffered a loss of 125 days battery rental.

That is all without mentioning one cancelled holiday, innumerable calls to the help line, untold e-mails, unbelievable stress. One dealer it went to wouldn't bring it back, I ended up having to walk and hitch-hike 42 miles to get it back, in blistering summer temperatures and I'm disabled!! etc. etc.

On most of the 15 occasions the car was recovered the report I got back was 'unable to replicate the fault'.

On one memorable occasion I was told there was a lot of mud underneath the car (It had suffered complete brake failure) and that if I lived in a 'normal' area .i.e. there was no mud, it might not have happened, - I live in a remote rural location. At least I had a good laugh over that one.

The inability of Renault to diagnose and repair safety critical systems such as brakes and throttle left me in the position that I would not allow my wife to drive the car. I was too worried what might happen.

Eventually, after much soul-searching I decided that it was best to part with the car. I felt I had to part-exchange it to a Renault Dealer who would be in no doubt as to it's pedigree as all of the faults are there on their system to see. I also told them about the faults, just to make sure. If I sold it to a private buyer I could not in all conscience not tell them about the faults.(Which would probably be illegal anyway) As I pointed out to Renault, who would buy a low mileage second hand car with a history that read. 'One owner, brakes and throttle only failed twice - no cause could be found'?

So the short version is that I part exchanged it for the princely sum of £5k, losing some £12k on the purchase price.

I dearly wished I'd have had it on hire-purchase. I would just have sent it back.

I have held on to all of the information concerning my experiences with the car, and look constantly for anyone who might have a use for it in a legal action.
Sarahsbear is offline  
post #27 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-08-2015, 06:34 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 707
RE: Scary Experience

Built on a Friday? Certainly nobody on here has reported anything like the issues you've experienced! It is certainly unusual for a multiplicity of issues, although brakes and their innefficiency has been mentioned before in the forum, I have not experienced anything similar myself.

The dealer damaging the bodywork is unforgiveable - and the time to challenge this is on collection. I certainly go round mine as once you've departed any hope of seeking redress evaporates.

As to the battery hire, 4 months paying for something you cannot use is certainly annoying, and does form the basis for disquiet, even though it is clear from the terms of the lease there is no automatic waiver, howver I have found RCI/Renault more than willing and to make amends if the owner isn't at fault.

Many of us (in the UK) purchased the launch 'Press Fleet' vehicles which I think amounted to around 18 vehicles in total. There were also Better Places disposals in NL and Israel at similar pricing, yours could not have been one of those as no £12k loss is possible on those.

Who did you purchase from, and which country?
Buzby is offline  
post #28 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-08-2015, 11:57 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2
RE: Scary Experience

Hi Buzby,
RE collection being the time to mention damage...

The dealer collected and returned the car to me themselves, using their own truck and driver. When the car came back, I pointed out the damage to the driver who said it wasn't anything to do with him, he was just the driver - That, in my opinion is a fair point. I was very careful to remain calm and reasonable when I pointed out the damage, after all, the poor bloke had done nothing wrong.

Re the Battery hire, a bit more than disquiet, methinks!! That amounts to hundreds of pounds - wasted! My experience of RCI and Renault were different to yours. I got a stonewall.

I don't understand why the press fleet cars would have held value and mine not. I purchased from a City Centre main dealer in the U.K.

Now having read William's post re the lack of action on behalf of both the dealer and Customer Services, well, that brings it all flooding back.

I was passed from one person to another regularly. It seemed as soon as I had a valid point or complaint about either the lack of a hire car or inability to identify, yet alone rectify safety critical system faults, off I would go to another 'Manager'. The 'new' one unfailingly declined to pass comment or get involved in what had gone before with the previous Manager, citing that they had no sway over another of the managers.

William, I even had one 'phone call - I shall not mention the name - in which one of the managers said to me 'We are unable to offer you a repair solution' - This was over one of the brake faults.In spite of this person promising to e-mail me that statement, and despite months of badgering, the manager 'disappeared' and I never got the 'killer e-mail' Whoo hoo, what I would have done with that!!

I could go on and on as to what happened to me, but I will not.

I have read 'Donald's' post in which he suggests to another posteee that he would be willing to drive their car in an effort to understand what was wrong. I wish he had been about when I had my Z.E. - I offered to let one of the customer service managers drive my car for a month, and suggested their attitude to my concerns might change should they manage to survive the experience. They never took me up.

I read with great interest others' posts which suggest that fast air or RF emissions could be to blame. In all of my faults I never saw any fast air in the vicinity, nor to my knowledge were the locations near to any strong RF emitter. - If that is of any help.

Anecdotally, I feel that in my case the car was 'counting' something. I arrived at this conclusion because the faults would occur three weeks to the day after it had last been connected to the 'Click' / 'Flick' ?? Diagnostic machine at a dealers. Could it be counting time, wheel revolutions, brake pedal depressions - whatever, take your pick. I think it counted something and a threshold was reached in the software which caused a fairly random (to my eyes) event on the car's systems.
Sarahsbear is offline  
post #29 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 04:58 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 707
RE: Scary Experience

Not answering all your points, just the ones I could usefully answer! The press cars didn't lose value because of the price they were offered at, nothing more. The two tyoes were offered at prices from £6k to £7k, they were planted/distributed around 3 Renault-owned dealerships and the pricing was identical for a 1 owner purchase. The only difference was the mileages as each had a different base mileage depending on how the loan vehicle had been used, the price did not reflect the mileage.

In my case, my Fluence had only 480 miles on the odometer and had sat unmoved for almost 18 months as I was given the service records. So no issues, and it has served me well and I'm into my third year of satisfactory ownership.

The battery hire? I thought the terms were onerous (in fact a major disencentive) but the purchase price discount more than made up for this possibility of being an issue in the future. With the battery rates having fallen by 50% (of what I calculated to be a reasonable commitment) it will be more attractive at renewal, indeed, I'm thinking about getting a 'spare' just to protect my asset.

Shame you didn't get to enjoy yours as you should - I really wished you could have had a different outcome.
Buzby is offline  
post #30 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 187
RE: Scary Experience

Just to clarify sarahsbear, is your car actually a Fluence - you refer to it as a ZE but you don't say which model?

My experience is similar to Buzby's, almost trouble-free - although we've all followed the faults Donald had.
ElectricDave is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome