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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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by New Duke » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:21 pm

Well that was short lived. Broke it after only 1400 miles. Back to fossil fuels.
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by kopite72 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:49 pm

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by qwakers » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:55 pm

to be fair, that looks like a bumper bonnet and headlights... i wouldnt think itd be a writeoff?

anyhow, what happened?

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by New Duke » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:27 pm

In short I drove into the back of an old Focus on Saturday. My first proper accident in 20 years of driving. I was sure I looked and it was clear but the sun was very bright and low and the other car was silver and off line and... I'm going to refrain from making excuses as I can't explain it and it was clearly my error. I'm going to ask the rental company for the dashcam footage so that I can see what I did. I assume that I looked but just didn't register the other car. I feel more guilty that my 3 year old was in the car and was upset by it (she was in a car crash with my wife the previous winter :pale: )

The crash structure and everything behind it (the motor etc) look OK, but it's been taken away for inspection. The bumper, both side skirts, lights, bonnet, charge port, wheel trims, radiator (and intake) and lots of other gubbins all need replacing. I guess in this case it's a good thing the EVs command such a premium as yeah they'll fix it and the only cost to me is the rental company excess. So I'll also get a courtesy car while it's being repaired. I doubt that will be electric though.

In the meantime I'm now in Los Angeles driving a V8 with 300 odd more horsepower than the Zoe. So I feel bad... but it's nice to feel the car growl rather than the creepy whooosh that the Zoe makes.
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by PeteH » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:33 pm

Are you both OK?
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New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by GreySilver Beast » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:54 pm

Glad you are OK Haydn [-o< and will give you a big hug when I next see you my friend :snog:

Nice to see Crash Safety worked in the Zoe ZE =D> =D> =D> =D>
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by New Duke » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:39 am

PeteH wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:33 pm
Are you both OK?
Both fine thank you Pete. The Recaro child seat did it's job (I was finally vindicated for always doing the harness nice and tight despite much protest). I've just got a sore neck because I was leaning forward on impact. So pretty good compared to the car. The two adults in the other car were fine... just a bit bleary from all the Strongbow they'd been drinking but that bit wasn't my fault thankfully.

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by bigpete8 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:02 am

Make sure the insurance pay to replace the child seat... They are good but may have been stressed by impact.
They're normally pretty good about it...
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by New Duke » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:56 am

Really good point. I forgot about that. Will do.

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by bigpete8 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:33 pm

Think when the Mrs was in car with her mother + two of the kids, and somebody low speed shunted them all they wanted was proof of purchase.
Luckily that was easy as I'd bought them off Amazon so just went through my past orders and printed the receipts.
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by Dom-PZ » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:17 pm

Was the view of the focus hidden by the massive A-pillar? Always used to grate me with my Zoe. My street has a long right hand curve that just happened to match the profile that my seating position and that chunky A-pillar would block!

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by New Duke » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:30 pm

Dom-PZ wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:17 pm
Was the view of the focus hidden by the massive A-pillar? Always used to grate me with my Zoe. My street has a long right hand curve that just happened to match the profile that my seating position and that chunky A-pillar would block!
Good point. Yeah the other car would have been at least part in line with the pillar. I'd love it if that combined with the sun explained why I didn't see the other car. It has blocked cars before. Would make me feel less silly about it. I need to get in a habit of looking around it.

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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by V8 Power » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:55 pm

I rear ended a Ford Cortina when I was 18. The only road accident I have been in that was my fault. At the time I blamed it on fiddling with the radio. That was 34 years ago and the truth is that to this day I have no idea how it really happened.
The main thing is that you are all ok including the people in the Focus.
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by warpc0il » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:10 pm

I was witness to a similar accident only a couple of weeks ago.

Roundabout on a dual carriageway that normally flows quite freely, but this time there as a bit of queue.

I'm in the outside lane. Women on the inside lane gets to the front, watches the cars coming round the roundabout and pulls out as the last car goes across in front, only she'd been looking out of her drivers side window and the other car hadn't gone across it had stopped directly in front, due to a queue down the left exit.

The women's Suzuki SUV only moved about 3 metres forward, with the driver still checking for traffic out her side window, when it rammed into the side of the Renault stopped in front.

The impact was massive, despite the slow speed, as she was accelerating under power, airbags went off on both cars (front on the Suzuki, side on the Renault) as the combined mass left skidmarks from the Renault being pushed sideways on it's offside wheels.

Masses of steam from the front of the Suzuki, which did a good impression of smoke.
The Renault was a total write-off and damage to the Suzuki was impressive.

Thankfully the vehicle behind the Suzuki was a double-crewed Ambulance on a non-emergency call.

Not only were they able to take charge of the scene, confirm no one was seriously injured (very lucky no passenger in the Renault), call the Police and Fire Service, but they also had captured the whole event on their dashcam, including both of them saying "She's going to..." just before impact.

I've driven through that junction half-a-dozen times since and it still gives me shivers.
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Re: New Duke's Renault Zoe EV Daily

Post by PeteH » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:31 pm

I was rear ended at a roundabout about 20 years ago. The annoying thing was that I was about 100 yards away from the dealership where I had just picked up my brand new car :shock: . The "offender" was a QC :shock: It was a very odd day. Fortunately, it was a company car, and they just sorted everything out.

At a similar time I also witnessed an rear-end accident at a roundabout. A policeman (off-duty) rear ended a woman. The woman had started to pull away, then saw a car, changed her mind and stopped after crossing the white line. The policeman assumed she had gone, looked right and went for the gap, with the inevitable result... I was formally interviewed as a witness for this, and was surprised with how the interview went. Apparently my statement ended up confirming that the woman was at fault for stopping unreasonably. I'm not suggesting the police help their own, but I'm not sure I actually said what was in my statement either. We all know the person behind is always at fault, but apparently not if that person is the police [-X .

Ever since then I have taken a very specific approach to roundabouts. I look forwards!! It actually takes a lot of will power to do it, but you have to just keep reminding yourself that the only significant car at the time is the car in front of you. You have to know where it is, and that it has totally cleared the area you are about to drive into before you start accelerating. The cars to your right can be totally ignored until the car in front has gone. Look forward until the car in front has totally gone, then look right. It might delay your entry to the roundabout by half a second, but it guarantees that you won't ram the car in front.

Also, never start to move then stop. Better to pull into a tight gap than to risk being rear ended. The car on the roundabout can see you, and is looking at you. The car behind you probably isn't.....
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