Fluence ZE - OK so far! - Renault Z.E. Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Fluence ZE - OK so far!

Having just read Paul's thread, I'm just wondering what I've 'gotten myself into'!

But one way or another, the 'experiment' has begun and my 18 month hire-purchase of an ex Renault demo car is now in full form.

Charging station went in today.

All's well so far, in its first 150 miles.

I covered a full 100 miles on the first charge out of the dealer. I did drive very slowly to start with, which was because the first thing to figure out is how far these things could actually get if driven gently. The press hacks clearly only get 60 miles out of them when doing the 'joy ride' thing with these - the 'party piece' acceleration from stationary is intoxicating, but ultimately ruinous to one's range (and probably to the battery, too!).

I'm currently logging every journey, with a general description of the type of mileages/speeds covered. Seems little trouble getting 5 miles/kWh out of mine, with gentle/modest driving. More on mileage/range later, once I get some more distances covered ...

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 03:29 AM
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RE: Fluence ZE - OK so far!

Regarding acceleration away from rest, there's some positive news. A while ago I had a large high performance MG ZT saloon that was well nippy. Pulling onto the A41 from a side turning was a hair-raising experience as turning sharp left and launching into the main road traffic always resulted in loads of wheelspin and no safe entry into the traffic. Withe the Fluence, I just floor the accelerator, turn sharp left and off I go. No drama, no wheelspin and safe!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE - OK so far!

How loud (in a general hand-wavy assessment way) would you say the 'Buck Rogers' whine on your car is, Paul?

(You know - remember the sci-fi series where all the cars and bikes of the future make high pitched whines?)

I'm not sure if is the motor or the reduction box that whines. In any case, it seems loudest on mine when accelerating over 15kW power and/or in the 35-50mph range. (If outside that speed range, or less than 15kW power, it's either entirely inaudible, or only just audible.)

I'm also not sure if it has gotten louder since I bought the car? The problem with a quiet car is that as you make it quiet all that happens is you begin listening out for the next-loudest thing!!

(I've read that Renault put a lot of effort into making sure the other bits that are usually masked by engine noise are made quiet - for sure, the suspension is surprisingly quiet because there are usually clonks and clicks that are not usually audible over the engine in an ICE car, and in this the suspension is very composed.)

The motor 'whine' is, I find, not altogether unpleasant. In fact, it helps at times to know if you are accelerating or decelerating, because if your speed is changing only by a fraction you don't really notice, so in a way the motor whine replaces the 'engine note' that can help you judge your steady speed.

But it is a little tedious to be hearing it in the 40-50 range when you're not really putting through much power. There seems to be a bit of a high pitched resonance there - I'd guess it's no louder than the pinion whine on a traditional auto box, but it's just made more obvious not being masked by other noises.

Obviously, on fast accels you get to hear these noises more prominently as the mechanical bits do their stuff. I've only accelerated heavily a couple of times for the benefit of passengers to show them the car's party piece acceleration and the particular benefit of EVs of instant torque at zero speed, which is quite enlightening to the uninitiated who are otherwise thinking of EVs as slow alternatives, but I do worry that it is not a good thing to do with cars and wonder what degree of performance use will cause the drivetrain to wear out and get noisy. As mentioned, the press hacks have already 'stress-tested' it, so I don't suppose an occasional 'blip' on the 'go' pedal from me will add too much wear and tear, but the car has only done 2k miles and over time it will wear just like any other car will.

I'm thinking to have the gear oil replaced in the transfer box at some stage, if I were to become the permanent owner of this car (rather than having it on hire-purchase). I hate the idea of 'sealed for life' gearboxes - they always have a bedding-in period at the start of their life, and IMHO oil should always be changed in any form of gearbox on a regular basis.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 01:16 PM
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RE: Fluence ZE - OK so far!

I remember the Fluence I test drove did seem to whine quite a lot. I have a Prius at the moment and it has always whined when braking but it is barely audible, but the Fluence was much louder.

I guess it applies to all of them?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2013, 02:18 PM
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RE: Fluence ZE - OK so far!

It might be my ears but my Fluence is barely audible, though to be honest I haven't tried thrashing it yet, I enjoy the relaxed driving that it seems to encourage. I've been driving with the window right down during the hot weather and it's only then that I hear any motor noise. Surprisingly the open window is itself pretty quiet, no buffeting to annoy, but you do hear the road noise: why can't we build quiet roads. Or ones without potholes. Or speed cameras. Or speed limit signs that keep changing. And how do I get my satnav to show the correct speed limits, it seems well out of date - I suppose I have to pay 50 a year to update the maps.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2013, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE - OK so far!

(Don't get me on to roads. I have been taking legal action recently against the local authority and the Highways Agency for lack of road maintenance.... someone's got to start taking them to task ...)

Yeah, for sure, road noise is the biggest noise. Frankly, the Fluence is not really any quieter than my diesel Vectra cruising above 30 mph, because it is 'all road noise' after that. In fact, the road noise swamps the whining, so in general I don't hear it. But there are a few points in the motor's rev range where it 'sings' a bit louder than at others. I can hear it in youtube videos of Fluence test drives, too.

So I'm a bit grumpy about the whining, but I'm grumpy about any noise. I'm just 'over-sensitive'. My wife tells me I'm potty and she's got no idea what I'm talking about. Like I say, the thing is that you just start listening out for the next-loudest noise, once everything else is made quiet. I don't think it is any louder than the epicyclic pinion drive whine you can hear from conventional auto boxes. In fact, I'd not be that surprised to find that the reduction box is an epicyclic and that this is exactly what the noise is.

Still, I expect one car to be a bit noisier than another. But it'd be my luck for the most noise-sensitive person in the country to end up with the nosiest example of the quietest model!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2013, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Fluence ZE - OK so far!

[Edit: Sorry, posted something that was daft. I saw the diagram below and thought 'straight-cut gear teeth!!!??' [very noisy], but a moment later realised my error and these must simply be the splines showing. Doh! Anyhow, I'll ask more about the reduction gearbox design, because it must contribute to the noise generated.]

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