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The Quest for a Renault Zoe

Our family has never needed to own more than one car. I used to use a company van for work and have always owned a motorcycle. Since last year though I've changed jobs and we have another member of the family. As from September Mrs EVIOM ends her maternity leave and heads back to work teaching the EV drivers of the future.

So I started looking at options for a second car:

Option 1 - Buy a cheap second hand car for peanuts and run that. I could pick up a small petrol or diesel car pretty cheaply that would do the job but the thought of fuelling up at the pump again left me feeling sick. Not to mention the pollution from an older car and the maintenance costs.

Option 2 - Lease a new EV. Now that's more like it, but could I afford to?

Only the oracle Google could help with this one. A quick search on the web showed that a lot of EVs could be leased but most are still quite expensive compared with their gas guzzling equivalents. Then I came across the Renault website, and their lease offering. Prices from as little as £179 per month! Surely that can't be right? Initial research showed it was right but unfortunately  wasn't available to us poor souls in the middle of the Irish Sea. As most of you will know that have tried to purchase an EV in the Isle of Man the local Renault dealer Eurocars won't have anything to do with Renault's Z.E. range.

Back to google then as I'd decided this was the right car for me. It had 5 seats, was slightly smaller than the Leaf but had good range and spec. I'd had a good look at one while at the London round of the Formula E race. So I persevered.

I found a company called Fuelincluded.com that were offering  Zoe's for lease for as little at £145 per month. The deal I wanted, to included up to 10,000 miles per year would have been £199. The beauty of this deal was that the electricity you used to run the car would be refunded every quarter so your fuel was included in your monthly payments, true fixed cost motoring.

I contacted the company who put me in touch with the Renault dealer in Liverpool to arrange the car. After a couple of weeks emailing and making phone calls I was told that I would not be able to take out the lease from the Isle of Man. On top of that I was told that I couldn't even buy a second hand Renault as I would have to lease the battery (there is now an option to buy a Renault Zoe outright) and the finance company wouldn't do that for someone on the Isle of Man. I was gutted to say the least. This meant that no Manx resident could own a Renault EV, surely this couldn't be right?

Oh, hey Google...

I knew you could now buy a Renault Zoe without leasing the battery now but would there be any second hand cars without the battery lease? I found a dealer in the Irvine, Ayrshire that had a number of Zoe's for sale from £6995. I contacted the dealer asking if any of them could be purchased outright. The answer was no.

But that wasn't the end of the story. This time it was Brian McGhie of Parks of Irvine that took on the challenge, not Google. He said I could lease a new Zoe for less than I could finance a secondhand car. I told him of my struggle and rejection by Renault Liverpool. With this in mind he cautiously went away to research this for me but was confident we could arrange something. I wasn't holding my breath.

So Brian called me back saying that we could indeed lease a Zoe and take advantage of the lease offer... So I have now paid my deposit and the car is on order and I should be over to pick it up in a couple of weeks. Chargemaster have also been in touch to arrange the installation of my free charge point.

I'm still not convinced it will be plain sailing with the charge point installation as they are asking for details that I think is only on a UK electricity bill and of course the problem of getting one of their electricians to install it (I don't think they have realised where I am yet), but I'll keep the blog updated with the progress on that separately.

Also I'll keep posting on the progress of getting the car collected, registered, driving back to the island and re-registering it here. I do these things first so you don't have to...

It's also worth mentioning that I contact Roy Hall of Neva Consultants to look into leasing a car from the Isle of Man. Roy was on the phone when myself and Cat Turner were on Manx Radio's Talking Head's. Roy has leased six Peugeot iONs on the island. It seems that the finance company's system struggled with the Renault so I had to go elsewhere this time. If you're after other vehicles though, especially the iON i'd recommend giving him a call.

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