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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I was greeted with this message in my Zoe after about 3 weeks of not driving it.

After seeing this message in the dash the cars functions slowly degraded until the dashboard screen shut off and won't turn on anymore. There are no lights anywhere. The car doesn't lock. Plugging in the charger does nothing.

I bought the car used in October it's from 2017. I called the dealership, they said there's nothing they can do today because it's Sunday. They'll call tomorrow to discuss a plan of action.

I called ZE support, they said they'll be happy to tow the car to a garage of my preference when I have setup an appointment with one of them.

Has anyone experienced this? It's very worrying that an electrical failure prevents the car from even the most basic functionality such as un/locking the doors! What a hugely flawed technology. Thankfully this happened at home and I don't need the car urgently. Imagine if it was at the airport car part after being away somewhere?!!

EVs (or should it be just Renaults?) have really gone down in my esteem. :(
 

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2020 Corsa E
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It's probably a flat 12v battery. They generally need changing on the Zoe every 3 years anyway. It should have been done on the 3rd service.

No modern car likes being left for long. Particularly in cold weather. It's asking for a flat battery on any car not just a Zoe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's probably a flat 12v battery. They generally need changing on the Zoe every 3 years anyway. It should have been done on the 3rd service.

No modern car likes being left for long. Particularly in cold weather. It's asking for a flat battery on any car not just a Zoe.
Would it be worth getting a battery charger? Not sure which one to get though.

Sure, batteries are known for discharging in cold weather but to prevent the car from locking?
 

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2021 Hyundai Kona Ultimate 64kWh
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Don't bother charging it. Replace it. Especially if it's still the original.

Yes. All the systems like the locking are handled by the 12V system. If that goes low it won't do anything. EVs don't like the 12V battery being low and will cause all kinds of weirdness and/or errors to happen.
 

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Would it be worth getting a battery charger? Not sure which one to get though.

Sure, batteries are known for discharging in cold weather but to prevent the car from locking?

I'm not sure about turning off auto lock. I know you can turn off keyless.

I use a ctek battery charger on a car I don't use much. It just leave it on permanently and it keeps the battery topped up and it discharges and recharges the battery over time to keep it conditioned. With an EV I'd just pre heat it and sit in it with it on for 10-15 minutes every week or so if I knew it wasn't going anywhere. Won't do it any harm to move it forward and back a few feet as well to release brakes and stop flat spotting on tyres.

If it's a battery lease car I'd assume renault assist will come out and help anyway if garage aren't can't do anything.
 

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Co-author of CanZE. Q210 nov 2013
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I will apologize for being slightly assertive: I understand the frustration of your car not working, but come on. If you bought it in 2017 used you never noticed you can open the car with the key that is hidden in your keycard? Basic flawed Renault tech at hand. Try a flat battery with an Audi. You'll have a great deal of fun and a lovely pot of esteem. BTW, other cars break down at airports. Call a cab. A breakdown of any kind is always hugely inconvenient. But somehow, just imagine...... it happens.

Now that we have that out of the way can I ask if there is a question we can maybe help you with? If the car is truly dead, @80698 is right, it's 99% sure a flat 12 volt battery. It probably still has it's original one (replacement advice is 3 years). Open the door (uh huh), open the bonnet and if you've ever done it, you can kick start it with a pair of starter cables. Just do NOT start the other car. Ah, technology! ;). Good luck (no, seriously).

Edit: yup, replace. Your proverbial under-the-arches can do it, if you're handy you can DIY for probably 60 quid. The dealers price for a new battery is IMHO rather stiff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
By the way, would this have happened if I leave the car plugged to the charger when not in use? I thought it's bad to have it permanently plugged in but probably would have kept the batteries topped up.
 

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By the way, would this have happened if I leave the car plugged to the charger when not in use? I thought it's bad to have it permanently plugged in but probably would have kept the batteries topped up.
Yes. Weird as it seems, plugged in EVs can still suffer from a flat 12v as you’re charging the HV battery not the 12v. A 12v on an EV still charges from an alternator which runs when the car is being driven.

Yes, it’s very silly that there’s no trickle charging or DC-DC converter in EVs so the 12v can also charge when plugged in!
 

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It was true for the Tesla and MG at least
 
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Looks like its time for a new 12v Battery


 

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It was true for the Tesla and MG at least
Given that Teslas and MGs are powered by large motors that are also able to function as generators, it would be illogical to add ICE-type alternators to their drivetrains. I don't believe that any mainstream EVs are, or ever were, fitted with alternators, in the ICE context, to recharge their 12v batteries.
 

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If you’re not using Zoe for a while, you can pre-heat it every few days (provided you’ve got enough charge in the traction battery). This does wake the car and it charges the 12v for a few minutes whilst it’s heating. Alternatively, I think that as soon as the car is unlocked and awake, it charges the 12v, so just opening it up for a few minutes a week should help keep the 12v topped up.

As everyone else has said, it’s is almost certain that you need a new 12v battery. Three weeks of cold weather, no use, but it maintaining low power background systems like the TCU (which controls the connection to Renault servers) has demonstrated that it’s struggling. Once the voltage goes below 12v as the battery flattens, all sorts of errors appear on the dash.
 

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Given that Teslas and MGs are powered by large motors that are also able to function as generators, it would be illogical to add ICE-type alternators to their drivetrains. I don't believe that any mainstream EVs are, or ever were, fitted with alternators, in the ICE context, to recharge their 12v batteries.
Strictly speaking EVs charge their 12 volt battery with a DC-DC converter. No moving parts.

Yes, it would be bizarre to use an alternator, particularly as you would have to spin up a motor just for it to work!
 

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Agree with everything that's been said so far, but I'd suggest a 12V trickle charger would probably cost less than a tow (don't know UK rates) so probably worth charging up your dead 12V (It will probably charge up just fine; it'll just die again rapidly if left to its own devices for a few days again) to get out and get it replaced. At least you have a 12v trickle charger at the end instead of paying a tow bill.
 

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Indeed, if you happen to have Amazon Prime - there is a quite a choice of 12v chargers.
EDIT: Worth noting - if your 12v has dropped below 6v many cheaper chargers may not help - as they will detect it as a 6v battery and reduce the charge voltage accordingly. So I've removed my original suggestion - perhaps this Ctek would be better (though it's a little underpowered) CTEK XS 0.8 Automatic Battery Maintainer (For long-term maintainence of motorcycle and other smaller vehicle batteries) 12V, 0.8 Amp - UK Plug: Amazon.co.uk: Car & Motorbike (also available from Halfords for the same price, as are more basic chargers which would also do the trick).

Getting one of these chargers will at least get you going again, but as others have said the battery will almost certainly need replacing if it's gone dead. Same with any petrol/diesel car too, happens all the time and constitutes the majority of Breakdown services call-outs.
 

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If you’re not using Zoe for a while, you can pre-heat it every few days (provided you’ve got enough charge in the traction battery). This does wake the car and it charges the 12v for a few minutes whilst it’s heating. Alternatively, I think that as soon as the car is unlocked and awake, it charges the 12v, so just opening it up for a few minutes a week should help keep the 12v topped up.
however conversely you don't want to try remote heating on a gen1 leaf 2011-2013, if you fear you have a low 12v battery. There is a firmware issue that can end up blowing the pre-charge resistor when you have a low 12v as the relay which should disconnect will stay latched on when it shouldn't. Anyway this means using you remote heating in very cold weather can trigger a series of events which will end up requiring the traction battery to be removed to access and replace the burnt out pre-charge resistor. I don't know whether this happens in later models or in other EV's but its happened to mine and I am currently waiting for a time to fix it due to lockdown #3.

also Yep to the OP you should probably buy one of those 12v lithium jumpstart kits as a contingency. They have saved me a couple of times and generally maintain/replace that 12v battery.
 
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