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.