A sombre Introduction - Renault Z.E. Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 05:10 AM Thread Starter
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A sombre Introduction

A Sombre Introduction

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8595024238/

The decision go "go electric" was taken at Christmas and by the New Year I had put my money down on a Fluence, an ex-Renault car with 300 miles on the clock. I liked the styling and the space, the no-nonsense design compared with the Leaf.

Trying to obtain a British Gas charge point was frustrating, a five week delay before completion. In the meantime I ordered a (extra 415) 13A cable and when this arrived the car was duly dispatched to me. While Renault pay for the charge unit British Gas managed to squeeze an extra 450 from me for "extra work". The wall charger is faster, and according to Renault, a lot safer than using a 13A socket but it does cost a helluva lot of dosh.

The battery agreement (76 per month for 3 years for starters) was completed and sent off by the dealer but, to date, Renault Finance have failed to respond. I guess one day I will get a whopping backdated bill!

The car is a delight to drive, quiet of course, and I cannot understand why the press almost universally have been unkind to the Fluence, prefering on the Leaf. They go on about the boot space yet this is only marginally smaller than the Leaf's. I suspect Renault's marketing has let the car down, and with worldwide sales at the low end of disappointing I wonder if the car will be sidelined once the Zoe is available.

For the next two weeks I very gently cruised the lanes, getting the feel and trying to find the true range of the car under such use in cold weather. The figure, for those who care, is 79 miles per charge. The plan, to then speed up to normal and spot the difference. The official test figure of 115 is, as one might expect, wildly optimistic but is theoretically higher than the Leaf.

March came in with a bang. Well, actually no sound at all, nor any brakes. Braking for traffic on a roundabout the pedal went solid and WARNING, BRAKE FAILURE - STOP appeared on the dash. If only I could! Luckily I was going slowly and the regenerative braking just performed its task in avoiding a prang. Yesterday, one month later, I picked up the car from the dealer with a new brake vacuum pump installed. Apparently Renault have advised dealers to change the pump when cars come in for service. As this could be a year or more away, do they expect drivers to carry on using their cars without being advised there's a possibility of brake failure? Not good, in my opinion.

What else to report? Confusion, misinformation and silence. I have many queries concerning features and usability and, try as hard as I might, no answers have been forthcoming, from dealer or Renault themselves. They really do need to get their act together; buying into new technology can be quite unnerving and lack of information can only make matters worse. I need to know simple things, like how to pair my phone, how to time the battery charging to take advantage of offpeak electricity, how to use the mobile phone app...... The brochure hints at all these things but no explanation is forthcoming. And Marshalls in Milton Keynes (full marks so far) say Renault customer service is the best in the business so what are the others like? I guess the car is so rare in the UK that information from Renault France is still stuck in the channel.

The good points so far: comfort, smoothness, ease of driving. The bad points: those mentioned above - and my local dealer, who for now shall be nameless but it's NOT Marshalls. It's early days and if only Spring would arrive I would get out and about and enjoy myself. More later.

Mileage: 550
Average charge (very gentle/very cold) 79

Paul
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 12:06 PM
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RE: A sombre Introduction

Thanks for posting. Your experience makes me wonder about buying a Zoe.

The brake pump is also a known problem with the Kangoo Z.E.

You'd think Renault would get them all in ASAP for a repair.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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RE: A sombre Introduction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew*Debbie
Thanks for posting. Your experience makes me wonder about buying a Zoe.

The brake pump is also a known problem with the Kangoo Z.E.

You'd think Renault would get them all in ASAP for a repair.

I couldn't agree with you more. I am shocked that such a safety issue does not warrant a recall. I feel somewhat sorry for customer services, this is clearly a policy decision from on high. As an introduction to Fluence ownership this has been a very disappointing couple of months

Paul
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-01-2013, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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RE: A sombre Introduction

STOP PRESS
April 1st. has arrived but I don't see the joke. After a month my Fluence was returned to me on Wednesday following its brake failure problem. The very next day the STOP sign momentarily came on after 20 yards but the dealer put this down to me not lowering the handbrake fully. Yesterday I took the car for a spin and, as I got to the steepest, twistiest bit of the route the jingle sounded, STOP lit up together with "Warning, Brake failure". At that point the manual says I should stop (how?), switch off and not restart the car and call the dealer. What the **** have I bought? A lemon? A Friday car? As it's bank holiday Monday I suppose I will have to wait till Tuesday to shout at someone. ut will they listen.....

Frustrated Paul
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-02-2013, 05:55 AM
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RE: A sombre Introduction

Oh dear. Not good at all. Hopefully it is something a mechanic can correct in a few minutes.

Please keep us posted. I may be the only person replying but there are dozens of others reading this thread.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 04:29 PM
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RE: A sombre Introduction

I just did a check on my pump and it was ok.I just found that there was a problem with it, not by Renault, but during the presentation of the Zoe in Lisbon, talking with the guys that were here for the presentation!!
I guess that, Renault should have made a recall..
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-07-2013, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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RE: A sombre Introduction

I am now waiting for a repair to be carried out. They believe the pump fitted last time to replace the faulty part is itself faulty - and the new one's on back order of course but expected in the coming week. It looks like they're pulling pumps out of the parts bin and hoping they work!
Paul
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-08-2013, 06:09 AM
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RE: A sombre Introduction

This is the Renault I remember from the 1980's. I had an '82 Renault when I lived in the US. It was plagued by faulty components and was forever off the road waiting for parts to come from France.




The brakes are supposed to work even if the pump fails. The car should stop but with much higher pedal effort. Was that your experience? Or were there no brakes at all?

Did the hand brake work?


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-10-2013, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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RE: A sombre Introduction

In the first instance when I went to apply the brakes the pedal seemed to depress a little, bounch back up and lock up solid. At the same time a message appeared saying brake failure. However, once the car was switched off and on again, all appeared normal again, suggesting to me that the problem is not mechanical.

On the second time a message saying brake fault appeared while the pedal seemed to be working normally. However, switching off, and on again later, the message was still displayed and only vanished once the car was started and the screen then displayed the normal information.

The dealer's diagnosis is that the replacement vacuum pump is faulty. I am certainly no expert on these cars but I would not be surprised if, in the end, anpother cause is found.

Whatever, driving a car that could have brake failure at any time is not the relaxed experience for which I bought an EV. Here's a question for you - if I had been driving a Leaf when the brake pedal went solid as I was negotiating a busy roundabout, how would I have stopped safely? No mechanical handbrake on the Leaf, only an electric switch.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-10-2013, 06:26 AM
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RE: A sombre Introduction

Our Z4 has an electric parking brake. I don't like it.

I've researched how the BMW one works.

If you pull up the brake switch while the car is moving it commands the computer to perform a panic stop. The brake lights come on and the ABS pump applies the service brakes. If there is a failure of the ABS pump, it would do nothing. The service brake should still work even if the ABS pump has failed. Power assist is separate from the ABS pump.
The BMW system has substantial fault tolerance. For most failures, something would still work.

When the car isn't moving the park brake uses electric motors to apply the rear brakes. -- One of the biggest problems is if the battery master fuse goes when the parking brake is applied. No way to release the brake. The battery is in the boot and the boot release is electric!




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