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I've mentioned a few times that I'm binning my Zoe and replacing it with an i3, and now I've finally got around to writing a blog post about exactly why.

It's not because the i3 is better than the Zoe; it's because, as investors in new technology, we need to know that we've got support when things go wrong. You can't just take an EV to Mike's Garage and get the work experience kid to fix it any more - we're completely reliant on the manufacturer.

Sadly Renault have proven - to me, at least - that they can't be relied on when it comes to EV ownership. I could live with a car that has had a brake failure if it had been sorted out quickly and painlessly; the fact that I'm still dealing with the fallout nearly two months later shows that I can expect similar hassle when the next thing goes wrong. To me, that's not acceptable.
The real shame is that, apart from the awful R-Link system and the dodgy heating and the lacklustre remote services app, it's actually not a bad car and at a price that could have been the catalyst for getting more EVs on the road.

Anyway, my Renault Zoe Review update goes into all the gory details. Hopefully BMW will be better than Renault - they certainly can't be any worse!
 

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Wow, that's just dreadful. More so because your issues appear to have come from across the board at Renault, HQ and multiple dealerships!

Should be better from BMW, fingers crossed!

Do you plan on trading in the ZOE? Any problems with the battery lease and trading in?
 

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I'll see what I'll do with the Zoe when the i3 is ready - either I'll trade it in, or see if a Renault dealer will buy it. BMW have given me a figure for buying it now and also for trading it in in July, but I'd hope a Renault dealer would offer more. Ah, who am I kidding?

In theory there shouldn't be any issues with the lease - I'll reduce it from the 3-year one I'm on at the mo to a 1-year lease, and then it's just a case of notifying Renault when I've sold it to a dealer (that's the easiest way, selling to an individual is a little more involved). Again, that's the theory - I'll have to wait and see whether they muck that up too...

If it had just been the dealer giving me a bad experience then I could have dealt with that by just using someone else; the fact that it seems to be a problem endemic within Renault was the final straw. I bet if anyone was even slightly late with a battery payment they'd come down like a ton of bricks, but returning money to customers can apparently wait...
 

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Here is another sad story of Renault incompetence albeit dealing with the supply of truck spares. Early January we received a 20' container loaded with ordered parts and found that they had included 28,000 euros worth of spares that were not even on the purchase order. Got in touch with the person dealing with this and gave them all the details including part numbers etc, and part of their reply was that they would issue a Credit Note for certain items???. Now why on earth would they credit the account with the price of stuff we didn't order, want or can use. No matter what you do, Traffic Van transmissions will not work in a 32 ton truck !!. Oh well, I'll give them a couple of months and if they don't retrieve them, the stuff will get binned..
 

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Wow it's like you have cloned my life, Most of all that happened to me including the brake failure but was about 50 mph, it took Renault over two months to sort my Car out, because they had to have two mechanics to work on it but they work opposite shifts, what a joke. I will say now of got it back they changed the inverter and put a new R-link in and it works fine, they also replace the two heaters and now they work amazing, The whole car is working really well but at the back of my mind keep thinking for how long. Renault let this lovely little car down big time.
 

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What a nightmare. Sounds like you were very patient and gave them lots of opportunities to make good but when there's that much incompetence and lack of customer care it makes it pretty much impossible to stick it out.
 

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Echoes my experience with my Citroen Berlingo Electrique owned from new. 96000 miles driven despite Citroens' best evidence and thanks to the help of the genius hobbyist Evan Tuer. The Berlingo by the way is off the road and free to a good home (one that will get it or another Berlingo going again).

Have come to see the French cars through the stereotype of their rugby team am afaid. Capable of inspiration and genius. But can you rely on them? Not in my experience.

Hope for better with my Leaf.
 

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I have owned 5 BMWs 5 series: 520, 525, 535 and M5, and currently own a ZOE that happens to be in the dealer for some electronic system failure. I have bad news for you; BMW offers the absolute worst service in the entire planet. I cannot count the amount of money and time I lost servicing my cars there. I have also owned 4 Renaults: Clio, Megane, Twizy and now Zoe, and cannot tell you much about their service because none of them ever broke until now.

I can tell you that they came to get the Zoe, gave me a Fluence ZE electric until I get my Zoe back, and have been absolutely great so far. Sure, they are as puzzled as me as to why the car broke and what is wrong with it, but this comes with the early adopter risks. The tech is new, and putting gloves on and getting greased up does not apply here.

Would I want my electric car to be in the hands of BMW? Heeeeeell no. I would rather stay with the Twizy or even my self made electric bike. Those guys are bastards so good luck with that.
 

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Well my experience spans 4 countries: Spain, US, Finland and Russia. Maybe BMW is better in Germany? I don't think so.
In the UK here, BMW dealers have generally been excellent, Renault absolutely terrible, Nissan somewhere between, "Rover" one terrible, one good... other cars have not been new so that's my "new car" dealership experience over 20 years or so. Some are better than others, and some seem much better at sales than anything once you've bought a car!
 

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After losing all power in my car at motorway speed no steering no breaks nothing almost killing me and my kids, 2times now, Renault have said were not sure what's wrong with it, so can you pick it up WHAT are they serious?, there answer is sorry Mr currie you car may lose all control now and then, so in the end they toke the courtesy car back, and I have been left with a car I'm paying for and to scared to use, so now I've had to get an ombudsman involved. [email protected] RENAULT 9300 miles last 1000 every thing went wrong fast.
 

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Every car manufacturer turns out the occasional lemon. Search Honest John's 'Car by Car' reviews and you won't find a car model that owners don't have complaints about.

The motor industry is pretty useless at responding to customer problems because so many members of the public attempt to rip dealers off by passing off their own negligence and carelessness as a manufacturing defect or dealer error. I'm not accusing anyone here of doing that, just saying how it is from their perspective. It takes energy to get them to sort out customer problems because they lose touch with how much emotional investment we have in our choice of car. I've found that being calm, factual and assertive is the best policy even when I've been really annoyed and inconvenienced.

Any EV has fewer moving part that could go wrong compared with an ICE car. I'm optimistic that Tesla will break the mould and set new standards for customer service and responsiveness.

I've had some horrific car breakdowns under warranty – a Porsche 911 that dumped its coolant on the road after grounding on a hump back bridge, a BMW 525i with ABS failure that took two weeks to fix under warranty, and no courtesy car offered – (the dealer had to replace the whole braking system to cure the problem), a TVR with a clutch master cylinder failure at 3000 miles and a blown head gasket at 10,000 miles and a new Hyundai whose front suspension worked loose and thumped like crazy within two weeks of delivery. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. They are only cars, and no matter who made it and what the tech, there is a probability of failure.

I don't know how many Zoes have been registered in the UK, I guess between 600 and 1200. I'm aware of two that have had problems – statistically that's not enough to put me off buying one especially as the majority of posts from owners enthuse about how good they are.
 

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Sad story. Hope you extricate some money from the debacle and that the i3 serves you better.

It also sounds like I had a bit of a narrow escape. The Zoe was the car that piqued my interest in getting an EV. To my eyes, it was the first good looking EV and it had a bit more of the magic fairy dust of "range" than some. I came this -><- close to ordering one.

But my hand was stayed by the Renault factor. I've dealt with them before and remembered the bruises. To buy an untested car from them felt reckless. Not just a new model but an entire new technology. From Renault. An EV from a French car company just sounded like a drawn out means of losing money (while standing by the road waiting for the AA).

And then the delays started. To me this was an indicator that the company was still as dysfunctional as I remembered it.

Around this time I stumbled across the i3. More expensive - particularly with the REx. But, most importantly *not* *Renault*.

So far so good. Admittedly, I knew more about the i3 than the dealer did at the start - but this is new, new stuff. And I'm willing to cut a degree of slack for BMW that I won't for Renault.
 

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I just got a very interesting new twist to my story. 5 days after getting my renault fluence ZE replacement car..... The same exact problem I had with my Zoe happened to this one as well. "Charging impossible and electric failure, danger" sign came on and the car is now dead.

At least it happened in my garage and not in the street like the Zoe.

These people do not advertise their electric cars at all, and the experience for those of us who buy them anyways, is too adventures to say the least.

At this point, you have to wonder about those conspiracy theories we've all heard about. Do these people really want to sell these electric cars?

I will continue reporting on my ongoing soap opera.
 

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I don't know how many Zoes have been registered in the UK, I guess between 600 and 1200. I'm aware of two that have had problems – statistically that's not enough to put me off buying one especially as the majority of posts from owners enthuse about how good they are.
Zoe owning forum members here must be especially unlucky then because pretty much every one I've seen have reported serious problems. Steamrunner, Eunicholas, Roberto, Dr Lea Brindle, Shay Parsons and that's just from a quick 5 min search.
 

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Well, people who are doing great with the Zoe never go to forums, never post youtube videos (like Tesla owners do), so I guess us Zoe owners are selfish. Up until we have a problem, then we go global.

My Zoe is messed up and at a Renault dealer. For about 5 minutes I though of alternatives in case I get rid of the Zoe, and the only one I would consider costs 100k Dollars. I want my Zoe back, it is freaking awesome.
 

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It's the nature of the beast - people who are happy tend to be silent, people who are unhappy tend to be much more vocal, and will search for somewhere to air their grievances.
 
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