The dash on the Renault Zoe has started to gently remind me that that a service is due in the next 30 days. I took ownership of the car in October last year but the vehicle was first registered in March 2015. So Zoe is due her first service.
I contacted Renault to check if the service was indeed due as the My Renault web site told me the service was due in March 2017. Incidentally the service intervals for the Zoe are 1 year or 18,000 miles! That's a lot of miles between pollen filter swap-outs...
This was the first real test of owning a car I cannot get maintained locally, so I needed to check with Renault where I could get the car serviced in order to keep the warranty, PCP and battery lease contracts happy. I couldn't avoid a full dealer service. Renault Customer Service advised me that my nearest ZE service agent is in Preston. I pointed out that that's how the crow flies, not how the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company fly (or sail... you know what I mean). In the end I booked the car into Renault Liverpool and managed to combine the car service with a trip already planned, killing two birds with one ferry crossing. The service itself came in at £84.52 all in.
The dealership in Liverpool were easy to deal with and let us leave the car with them for an extra day, avoiding paying for a day's parking in Liverpool. I must admit when I bought the car the lack of local dealer support was a concern. I frequent a few EV and Zoe specific forums online so every now and again I see posts describing major issues that require a car to be at a dealer's for weeks on end! Touch wood I haven't seen any of these issues.
After owning the car for a month or so I did have to make a warranty claim. Luckily it was a minor issue, the Renault badge on the front charge port cover started to shed its blue colouring. Renault booked the Zoe in with Eurocars here on the island and they were happy to do the work. Admittedly this was only changing the charge port flap. I'm not sure what would happen if I had an issue with the vehicle's drive train. It's such a shame that Eurocars still don't want to have anything to with Renault's ZE range. I get regular comments from EVIOM subscribers that they have looked into the Zoe but are unable to get one locally, and receive some odd sounding reason from Eurocars as to why they don't deal with them.
So in conclusion, after one year of Renault Zoe ownership I'm happy with the car. It does the job, is very affordable to own on the PCP rate arranged last year (newer deals don't seem as good). The car suits the island quite well as it's small and nippy with enough space to fit three kids in the back etc. The Zoe's build quality isn't quite up to the same standard as the Nissan Leaf but for the price I'd say it's above average. I have two years left on my contract and there will be many new car options available in 2018 including the 41Kwh Zoe.
As I have come to realise, traveling across the UK in an electric car is full of ups and downs.
It all started well. We collected the car with a full charge from Park's, Irvine with a full charge and a list of post codes for the satnav. No fuss at the dealer. Signed the forms, ran through the basics of the car and headed south. I'd worked out that we had just enough on one charge to get to the rapid charger in Dumfries but along the way we spotted the CYC charger at New Cumnock so pulled in top up and play with the buttons. I was surprised how quickly the car charged as I'd heard that the 2015 Zoe charged slower than previous models.
I really wanted to pull into a charge point along the way in a wind farm, but unfortunately we missed the turning as it was just down a small and tiny road and would have meant doubling back on ourselves. But no to worry there was a rapid charger in Dumfries.
Well, there is a rapid CYC charger in Dumfries but the AC charge cable was connecting to a Zoe that had finished charging was locked into the car. I couldn't disconnect it. The car belonged to a company call Co Wheels so I googled the name and found a contact number. The guy on the phone told me that they had a deal with Dumfries council for exclusive use of the charger and no one had the key for the car to come and disconnect the cable. It all sounded like total rubbish to me, they were just monopolising the charger. Plugshare showed a slow charger at Dumfries Royal Infimary, I though it would do for a slight top up as the car was showing 39 miles range for out remaining 29 miles to drive.
Well, that charger was also a bust! None of my RFID cards worked and the charger had no sign or information on how to use it. We decided to give it up as a bad job, grab a bite to eat and head to the Travelodge with an Ecotricity Rapid charger. At least I knew I had all evening and night to get someone to fix it if we had any problems with that one.
I love Ecotricty! The charger worked. By the time we'd checked in and grabbed some snacks to munch on while watching Doctor Who a guy in a BMW i3 was sat waiting to charge and Zoe was almost full anyway. It goes to show how many people are using the rapids on the motorways.
I'll have a good whinge to Go Wheels, Charge Your Car and Dumfries Council when I get back home. I may need to do this journey again and the rapid at Dumfries fills a big gap in the area.
Tomorrow's another day and we should have plenty of time to get to Heysham for the 2:15 boat. Fingers crossed...
The update to my Quest for a Renault Zoe has been a bit longer in coming to the blog than I had wanted. The problem being the UK plug-in car grant of 35% (to a maximum to £5000) and trying to pay for and register the car to a Manx address. The computer said no...
This was very disheartening, not least because both the dealer and I were clear all along that I was going to be taking the car to the Isle of Man. Buying a new car from the UK shouldn't really be a problem but the way EVs are dealt with seemed throw a spanner in the works. In the mean time Renault had brought out the Renault Zoe "i" models, the "i" signifying that you would own the battery and wouldn't have to pay a battery rental fee. This along with the lack of £5000 grant brought the cost of the car up to nearly £25,000 and outside my budget for lease for hire purchase.
But all was not lost as a call back from Brian at Parks offering me a 2015 model Zoe with only 89 miles on the clock on a PCP deal. This wasn't the original plan but after some thought and advice from my financial advisor (wife) and a few calls with Brian we got the monthly payments down to a level I was happy with.
So right now I'm waiting for the paper work to be processed before booking flights and ferry to go and collect the car from Irvine to drive down to Heysham.
I still don't have the car sat outside my house so no chickens have been counted but I'm quietly confident this time... Maybe.
As for Chargemaster and their offer to install a charge point at my house? No chance. Despite making it clear where I was and them booking an appointment they suddenly realised that they wouldn't, after all, have an installer "in my area". I am now in the market for a 2nd home charge point. The Leaf takes a Type 1 connector and the Zoe a Type 2. The charging standards are the same but it's a round peg, square hole. I also need to be able to charge both cars at the same time overnight.
What I've learnt from this experience is that it would be much better for us here on the Isle of Man when the UK plug-in car grant disappears in the UK or if something similar was introduced here.
If you are looking at a Renault Zoe then I would give Brian at Parks a call as I know he now has experience of selling a Zoe to the Isle of Man and the pitfalls. Other dealers I spoke in the UK were disinterested or confused by the whole idea.