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I've thought about exporting cheap zoes but the battery rental is an issue.

How much did you pay BTW?
 

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Hi all,

Glad you all seem to be enjoying this ride as much as me !! I paid 2 grand each for the cars, thats what they were advertised at on autotrader and thats a fair price since its just a gamble. Some people play the lottery or the stock market, I play "broken electric car roulette" :D

The owner of these had bought one as a cat d write off that had been repaired, and the other one got written off in his ownership so he got paid for the car (and RCI got paid for the battery), then he bought it back from the insurance, repaired it and drove it some more then it stopped working. That one didn't owe him much as he'd been paid for it by the insurance company.

I don't mind that they are write offs, they were only cat d so minor damage and it means no damn battery lease! The main downside I can see is that if someone drives into me, I will get nothing from their insurance company as my car is already written off so as far as insurance are concerned it is literally worthless.

I believe resale values would still be fairly strong as electric cars seem to hold their value well (after the initial depreciation) due to low running costs, especially driving on electricity at ~3p/mile rather than petrol/diesel at around 15p/mile. Plus most Zoe's have a battery lease and these don't so that's good for their value, but i'm keeping the black one and the blue one might be very hard to repair so who cares about resale, i've had fun and looks like i'm getting a new car out of it.

I would much rather fix electric cars for a living than my dull day job in IT - maybe one day i'll change careers once i've fixed a few more. I'm based in essex, if anyone is local and having trouble i'd be glad to come and have a look - there are no EV garages round here so main dealer is the only option. I could have a nice Nissan e-NV200 and do mobile EV repairs.... haha maybe.

I've attached a picture of the connector that is causing the problem now on the black car, from the charge port there is one big orange cable (big left connector in picture) and a smaller black one, this is the communications plug from the charge port. I have removed an outer plastic cover and pulled the wiring out of the plastic tube in this picture to check it. It all looks OK but if you put the wires back in the tube and put the extra plastic cover on, it won't charge. Then if you take the outer plastic cover back off it will charge again....

I suspect some kind of strain break internally on one wire but could be wrong. Once i've confirmed this part is faulty by swapping it with the one on the blue car then i'll investigate it further to try and find the actual cause and see if it can be repaired.

Sorry for the long rambling post !

Thanks.
 

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Co-author of CanZE. Q210 nov 2013
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Yup. Smaller orange cable is the feed to the compressor and the black one is the 12 volt supply and Electro-CANbus. Too late now but tomorrow I'll have a peek at the few schematics I have. Few pics of that box here. BCB pictures
 

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Hi all,
The main downside I can see is that if someone drives into me, I will get nothing from their insurance company as my car is already written off so as far as insurance are concerned it is literally worthless..
I can't see how that can be the case - if they cause you financial loss, they are responsible, and their insurance is the backup to cover their personal liability.
Regardless of write-off status, it clearly has some financial value - you paid money for it. If it's your only car, there is also liability for your reasonable costs for loss of use - e,g, a comparable rental car while you repair or replace it.
 

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Just done some reading - just because it has been written off previously makes no difference in your ability to claim from a third party - worst case you may need to get an independent valuation, but it might affect your ability to insure it.
 

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Just done some reading - just because it has been written off previously makes no difference in your ability to claim from a third party - worst case you may need to get an independent valuation, but it might affect your ability to insure it.
Yes I just got the same answer from my insurance company - asked them what if a written off car is repaired and driven and is involved in another accident - she said as long as everything is correct (e.g. MOT, tax, etc) then it would be paid out on like any other car. I'm surprised that they don't put them on a database and pay out nothing or scrap value if there is another accident but there we are, everyday is a school day!

Anyhow back to the Zoe's - i've got the charge port and wiring off the blue one and connected them to the black car and its charging happily so seems like that wiring is the issue. I'll put it in properly and keep trying to charge it and see if its reliable now.

Before I pulled the blue one apart I read the fault codes - most interesting one was
DF022 Safety Interlocks

I had a chat with my EV friend and he said that all the high voltage connectors have interlocks - basically a 2 pin connector that just bridges when the connector is plugged in. This forms a one wire circuit that runs round the car, if all the interlocks are connected then that circuit is complete and the car knows everything is plugged in. This prevents a connector being powered up when there is nothing plugged into it. He said he's seen that error before on a Zoe and to check the isolator in the footwell (that was in but sure enough it has 2 little pins that just bridge the connection) and the other connector to check is the main battery one on the front of the pack.. No wonder that car wont drive or charge - it thinks one of the big orange plugs isn't there !!

Looks like the blue one will need to go up on axle stands to check the battery connector, i'll laugh if its just a bit loose. Anyhow it seems like I will need a new charge port and wiring so some parts to find. The blue one has 50% battery charge anyway so if I can make it move then I guess I buy a new charge port for it.

Cheers all.
 

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Co-author of CanZE. Q210 nov 2013
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@SiW If it's warranty it's highly unlikely you can, but if you foot the bill, you can rightfully insist!

@G.a.r.y That sounds like great results! I would think if it's indeed one of the interlocks and you only have the chargeport to worry about, it's not a hard DIY repair, given that it worked when you had pulled the connector apart? Now if you can get SiW's and make one good one from two bad ones, that would be even better. A new loom (port, cable, BCB connector) will be around 500 quid.
 

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Hi all,

Not that much to report, MOT is booked for the end of the week for the black car, will need to get some insurance before then.

Ordered tyres also as they are cracked from being sat so long, I have actually swapped the wheels from the blue one onto the black one. The black one had the optional 17” alloys whereas the blue one had the 16”, I have read that the 17” are not as good for range and I can see they damage easily on kerbs so I’d rather have the 16s.

The Michelin EV tyres fitted originally are A rated for both rolling resistance and grip but are expensive, managed to get some Goodyear efficient grip that are B rolling resistance and A grip, and half the price of the Michelins, they should be OK.

Got CanZE working on the black car using a cheap dongle, I wanted to check battery SoH as it’s been sat with an empty traction battery, it shows 102%! I’m not sure if that figure is affected by the car sitting unused for a while, we’ll see what the battery is like when I can take it on some decent journeys and do a few full charge/discharge cycles.

@yoh-there might be along in a bit to fill in some info here!!

Presuming the MOT goes well I’ll be doing a couple of jobs on my I-miev and then putting that up for sale.

Thanks,

Gary.
 

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I just fitted Michelin Cross Climate, which are B rated, not noticed any range issues but of course it's almost impossible to tell with so many other factors involved.
 

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@G.a.r.y What a fascinating and interesting project. Thank you for sharing.

I am interested from the angle of "Big Brother"! I have always been concerned with the fact that these cars are really computers on wheels and that many (if not most/all!) can be can be turned on and off by the manufacturers and others. I hate the idea that I can buy a car and then can be prevented from driving it by some third party on a whim. We need a way to by-pass this control IMO. Perhaps I am being unreasonable and this degree of control by others is here to stay with us but it sits very uneasy with me.

Thanks again and good luck with the project :)
 

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Though
@Paul_Moxhay Just rip open the feed connector to the TCU. It's located behind the controls of the climate control. Of course you loose the on line services but then it's either-or.
Though it's possible a manufacturer could include internal software that requires a regular "call home" and disables charging or running, or limits performance if it doesn't manage it, though they'd get such bad publicity that it would be a really stupid move. Look at what's happenned in the agrigultural machinery market with makers like John Deere - if you replace a module you have to get a tech out to enable it.
However if this happens on any mainstream car, it will inevitably get hacked to remove such restrictions.
 

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Of course you loose the on line services but then it's either-or.
...and in the case of Renault batteries if you're breaking the connection between Renault and a battery that they own and not you, they have every right to start asking questions. Proper use of the battery is enforced by contract as well as the TCU.
 

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Though

Though it's possible a manufacturer could include internal software that requires a regular "call home" and disables charging or running, or limits performance if it doesn't manage it, though they'd get such bad publicity that it would be a really stupid move. Look at what's happenned in the agrigultural machinery market with makers like John Deere - if you replace a module you have to get a tech out to enable it.
However if this happens on any mainstream car, it will inevitably get hacked to remove such restrictions.
Well, doesn't it happen already? AFAIK if you replace any of the important management modules in the Leaf, or Tesla, then it has to be coded to the car's VIN before it will operate. Am I wrong in that? Are there not cases where Tesla have disabled the car to prevent it's use when people have done unapproved things to it? It is a worry for me long term if this is the way it is going generally.
 

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Co-author of CanZE. Q210 nov 2013
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The car does not depend on the TCU calling home, and although some components are indeed "serial number matched", the TCU is not.
 

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iCarsoft i907 is a handy bit of kit for clearing errors. Especially 12v headlight errors that result in a bulb not illuminating even when the bulb is fine.
 

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...and in the case of Renault batteries if you're breaking the connection between Renault and a battery that they own and not you, they have every right to start asking questions. Proper use of the battery is enforced by contract as well as the TCU.
Does the contract say anything about not disabling the communications link ? Does it time out & disable charging after not managing to call home for a while ?
 

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Does it time out & disable charging after not managing to call home for a while ?
As far as I understand the Zoe does not need to phone home, if RCI want to disable charging they contact the car, then the TCU (Telematics Control Unit) sets a fault code which locks the battery to disable charging. The fault code is DF096 Traction Battery Lock. RCI told me that charge locking is rarely done, I believe it is a last resort due to the negative effect it could have on the image of the Renault Zoe.

The TCU can be disconnected as mentioned above however the fault code would remain set.

Thanks.
 
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