Frédéric Richard, one of the very first owners of the Renault ZOE in France, recently reached a bold milestone of 300,000 km (186,000 miles) covered since April 2013!
That's a huge distance for just 6.5 years (on average 46,000 km/28,600 miles annually), especially taking into consideration that the early ZOE Q210 was equipped with just a 22 kWh battery!
According to the automobile-propre.com article, Frédéric Richard is driving a lot, commuting about 170 km (106 miles) daily, which means he is not able to make the distance to and from the job on a single charge. The switch to an electric car (from a BMW 7 Series V8 converted to LPG) was at the time possible thanks to an employer who agreed to install a charging point. Another 7 kW charging point was installed at home.
The price of the ZOE Intens at the time (without batteries, but after including incentives) was some €16,000, however, the most expensive battery rental package (for high mileage) was €195 a month, plus about €50 monthly on electricity.
We guess that the battery rental cost was so far over €15,000, while the electricity cost is around €4,000. €35,000 ($39,000) in total so far.
The ownership experience was basically smooth, aside from a few technical issues. The first was a necessity to replace the electric motor after 20,000 km (under warranty) in September 2013. The cause was an improperly positioned seal, which let coolant flow inside the motor. The entire operation took three days, but first, it took a month and a half "to find the fault and make the decision,". Frédéric Richard was using a ZOE replacement over that period.
On October 2016, the on-board Chameleon charger gave up the ghost. It was also replaced under the warranty.
Past the 200,000 km (124,000 miles) the range significantly decreased so it was difficult to cover the distance, even one way (85 km/53 miles). The indicated range was 90 km. The gradual decrease of the battery capacity reached 71% of the original value (below 75% guaranteed by Renault when renting the battery pack). The French manufacturer replaced the battery with another "second-hand but in excellent condition", which took three days.
According to the article, Frédéric Richard is satisfied with the ZOE, and because of its completely "unsaleable" status (old car with rented battery), he intends to keep it, at least if the cost of maintenance remains low. He is however also interested in the Tesla Model 3.
The interesting thing is that despite the small battery and range, ZOE was used even on 600 km (373 miles) trips.
Overall, it's great to see that the early Renault ZOE is doing fine over such an extreme use case, although the battery rental has serious cons, because it would be hard to sell the car now.