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New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

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New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by New Duke » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:51 am

I've been doing a lot of miles in my R3 the past couple of years for work. Too many really so we agreed for the company to hire me an electric car on a rolling monthly rental. So here is my new work horse, the 41kw Renault Zoe. It's a brand new car and I'm her first renter.
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She's fairly nippy. Not R3 fast, but MX5 fast up to about 60mph where the power tails off. She will happily do motorway speeds though.

It has loads of features like regenerative braking, cruise control, infotainment and the usual fancy electronic displays designed to convince you that driving is all about getting to your destination as slowly as possible. It is a budget EV though, and a French hatchback. So it's noisy on the road at high speeds, the internal ceiling microphone is loose, and my friend managed to kick off the bonnet release lever the first time he got into the car.

The model I have costs £28,500. That's a lot of money for a 'cheap' French hatchback. So you're paying a massive premium for the sake of it being electric.

It is only £230 a month to rent though from EVezy. Which includes servicing, insurance etc just as you'd expect from a hire car. Included is also charging at any of the charge points in London's largest charging network (so fuel is effectively free), making it by my maths the cheapest way to drive today. And not being tied into a 2 or 3 year lease is a relief. We can cancel and return it at any time and if a model I prefer becomes available I can swap it immediately.

The 41kw battery is supposed to have a range of 190 miles in the summer and 130 miles in the winter. I've found that accurate so far, with the caveat that once above 60mph the range drops massively. Yesterday a 40 mile journey down the A12 and M25 at (cough) 70mph drained half the battery. But that wasn't an issue as I was able to find EV charging near to my lunch meeting and by the end of dessert the car was charged enough for me to get home.

Had the charger I'd aimed for been busy however, and not having the time to hunt for another, then I would have had to stop for an hour or two on the journey home. Which would have sucked. Happy EV driving is partly down to luck. There is thankfully an 80kw Zoe being launched soon... but that's going to take forever to charge.

My 41kw model takes a whopping 25 hours to charge on a regular domestic power socket. So I decided to have a 7kw outlet installed in my garage which would in theory charge the car empty to full in 7 hours. I'll post a photo of the wall charger next to my R3 later. There are grants available to people who buy EVs for this, but as I'm renting the car wasn't eligible. So paid for it myself. 7kw is the maximum any normal home will be able to charge at, and many homes won't even be able to deliver that much power due to wiring and other issues. So even though the Zoe can charge much faster, it's irrelevant. You can't defeat the laws of physics. (Keep that in mind if you're ever looking to buy a big battery EV with 'rapid charging'. You may be able to charge it super fast at a handful of motorway services, but most of the time you'll be charging at home. And that's where your charging options are limited.)

Installation of the wall charger in the garage was successful, but also a nightmare. A two day job that I may need further work on. Luckily I have a friend who is an electrician who was willing to interpret the current regulations in a favourable way to me, but it did expose another flaw in the EV utopia that governments are determined to push us towards. I live in a modern (15 years old) detached house with a garage and the money to pay for installation... and even I ran into seemingly unsolvable installation hurdles due to the number of variables. The average person in a flat or old terraced house stands no chance.

Infrastructure (or lack of) aside I'm now 500 miles in and it is so far mostly a joy. So I'm keeping it for the foreseeable. I wouldn't have one as my only vehicle, they're just not practical for long distances or sustained motorway speeds. I'm glad to have an EV as our third car though, and happy that I now get to drive the R3 for pleasure, rather than over central London potholes for work.

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by 350matt » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:27 pm

nice write up

let us know what your charging time is in reality and may I ask what the rough cost was of installing the 7Kw charging point?

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New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by GreySilver Beast » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:33 pm

A nice little write up Haydn and look forward to seeing the car in due course =D>
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by PeteH » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:53 pm

How does it manage with heating the interior during the winter? Do you preheat when you are charging?
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by New Duke » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:53 am

350matt wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:27 pm
nice write up

let us know what your charging time is in reality and may I ask what the rough cost was of installing the 7Kw charging point?
Real world charge time with the 7kw charger is 7.5 hours. With the last 20% taking about 2.5 hours. So with a 7kw charger at home you can run it down getting home and have it ready for the morning commute.

The install cost for me so far has been £500. £400 of which was a very basic Rolec 7kw wall charger. The remainder was a new fuse box for the garage, new MCB for the house board, cabling and bits. As a friend helped me I had no labour costs :D . The 4mm power cable running to the garage should ideally have been 6mm, but I didn't fancy tearing up the garden for a new cable run from the house. As a consequence the cable does get warm, but is within the allowed tolerance. I'm going to avoid running anything like a heater in the garage while the car charges though.

I also have an ongoing earth loop impedance issue, which it turns out is common with the Zoe as it requires this to be really low. We have a current solution (PME) but it's not ideal, so I'm going to be banging connected earth rods deep into my garden to improve the earth out there. If more rods don't work then I may have to hire contractors to dig a trench and fill it with conductive concrete and earth there instead! That would increase the cost significantly.

So it really varies from house to house.
PeteH wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:53 pm
How does it manage with heating the interior during the winter? Do you preheat when you are charging?
The car uses a heat pump which compresses incoming air in order to heat it up and also expels colder air from the cabin. Renault claim it's very efficient.

You can preheat the Zoe while it's charging and can schedule the heating in the car or via a phone app, just like with some other EVs. So if you tend to drive to work at 7am you can schedule the car to always be warm by then. Charging can be scheduled on a calendar too.

Thing is, I've found that the heater warms up the car very quickly, even when the outside temp is around freezing! So after playing with the scheduler and trying it once I now just heat the car when I drive away. It may cost a few miles of range, but saves faffing around. I'm convinced that cold weather and drag (speed) have by far the biggest impact on battery life so I'm getting relaxed about the ancillary stuff.

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by zippyonline » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:22 pm

Interesting - please keep this up to date as you go.

Other half has a dreadful diesel hyundai i30, we've in principal decided to keep this until it becomes uneconomical to do so (it seems to be plodding along for the moment) and the replacement will be an electric - eyeing up the i3 at the moment. We're moving soon (to a detached property) so can install a proper charging point hopefully, but the current place is a new-ish modern place, where the garage and parking allocated is away from the house (but underneath a property with 4 garages at ground level - and the garage is leasehold, so no electricity there - and no way of realistically getting it there due to it's leasehold status. This isn't unusual as 2 other neighbours are in a similar arrangement, but the person who owns the property above has power to his garage in the same row of garages. I don't quite know how one would get electric vehicle charging setup for this....

Thanks for sharing! 8)
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by Dom-PZ » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:45 pm

When the dash goes purple, you're driving it right ;)

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by Essex2Visuvesi » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:32 am

You do however drive like an old man..... Passed you on the A12 this morning, flashing and waving but you kept looking straight ahead lol
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by New Duke » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:59 pm

Essex2Visuvesi wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:32 am
You do however drive like an old man..... Passed you on the A12 this morning, flashing and waving but you kept looking straight ahead lol
Sorry Gary, didn't see you. The rental company monitors my speed (annoyingly making the OBD2 port unavailable) and has a dashcam permanently active. Not to mention that at A12 speeds my eye is constantly drawn to the dwindling battery gauge. All that does make me drive like an old man.

Well that and 3 hours sleep.

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by boosted » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:13 pm

Ive always thought why not use lamp posts as Car charging points. There on the the 3 phase LV network. Apart from when they switch them off there live all the time and come on at night with an ldr...??? I had a race away from a set of lights up against an I8..in my scooby...i was impressed with the i8s pace but not the cost when i looked it up.
We will all have to embrace elecy cars at some point i suppose...im not ready yet unless i win the lottery then i can afford too...

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