Renault Hints That Battery Rental May Be On Its Way Out

MAR 30 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 13

Renault Zoe in Geneva

Renault Zoe in Geneva

On the heals of making the Renault Zoe available in Norway inclusive of the battery, Jérôme Stoll, head of sales for Renault, made a few comments to the New York Times that we believe to indicate that Renault is at least considering ditching its unpopular battery rental idea for electric vehicles.

Most of the New York Times articles focuses on Renault’s less-than-expected EV sales, to which Stoll remarked:

Live Shot Of The Renault Zoe Using The New Flexi Charger Cable - Now Standard On All Models

Live Shot Of The Renault Zoe Using The New Flexi Charger Cable – Now Standard On All Models

“The speed of the development of the market is not at the level we were expecting.”

But Stoll continued by saying Renault expects sales to improve once it figures out how to rent the battery out more cheaply or to eliminate that rental fee entirely:

“We are adapting our business case permanently to the situation.”

Stoll’s comment mainly applies to Renault now offering extremely low rental fees for low-mileage EVs, but it’s not a huge leap to see where this is headed.

Our prediction is that slowly but surely Renault will abandon the battery rental program in favor of outright selling its EVs.  The automaker’s dwindling EV sales will convince it to make the switch.

As nearly all of of our commenters have mentioned, this battery rental idea is what’s holding Renault back.  Look for it to change soon.

Source: New York Times

Categories: Renault

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13 Comments on "Renault Hints That Battery Rental May Be On Its Way Out"

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Renault has two problems. Battery rentals in a country where car ‘buying’ is the norm, and they can’t ‘buy’ the gas tank, only offering a lifetime lease. Think rental furniture. Batteries with no thermal protection and a guaranteed capacity loss at more than 15% by 20k miles and over 25% by 40k miles. But they go hand in hand. Because Renault like Nissan knows the battery capacity loss is a problem, simply because the battery pack has no protection. Nissan sells the battery and is trying to ‘handle’ the situation with their ‘$99/mo Never ending Lease’ option. But smart US consumers just Lease the Leaf end dump it before it becomes a problem. In Europe, the e-Up! with a protected battery that is sold with the car, is already knocking Renault EVs off the sales charts. The upcoming higher quality, longer range, e-Golf will do the same with Renault EV and the Leaf. Ford’s global arch rival VW is bring the e-Golf to the US in 4th quarter, and Ford is planning to challenge with the launch of the 2015 Focus Electric in 4th quarter, where Ford states in the 2013 Annual Report: “Ford will raise the bar on the… Read more »

So, you’re basically saying EV buyers in France and other countries, are informed enough to understand the value of well implemented thermal management, and they want to own the pack outright.

Sounds like the prospective EV buyer is maturing along with the reintroduction of electrics, which in turn, drives product evolution higher and costs lower.

And that’s a wonderful thing. 🙂

Meh. Ok with the first argument, true, French people are allergic to battery rental (unless they buy a BEV with the battery and understand how stress-free it would have been in these pioneering days to rather rent it ). Now, the real culprit isn’t battery protection, nor the e-up, nor any of that. I’ve witnessed one e-up and three ZOEs now ; the e-up’s just a yoghurt pot, the ZOE’s a real car. Apples and oranges. Once again, ZOE is a potential life-changer for the LOWER middle-class and is marketed to the UPPER middle-class for now, for multiple reasons : lower middle-class people buy preferably used cars, have only one car per family, hence need to do that thousand-mile trip at least once a year on holidays, don’t have private parking spaces and therefore can’t install a charger, which they’d really dislike to have to buy and to pay for the installation of, etc… Trying to turn around the UPPER middle-class takes a lot of time here, for these people are extremely class-concious, always trying to do what is “cool” for the cheapest…And, car wise, what is “cool” when you’re from the French upper middle-class right now is to have… Read more »

So far there is no indication that Renault/Nissan’s not actively cooled packs suffer premature degradation, except in hot climates. Fear for that would be a great argument in favour of battery lease BTW.

This is true. The difference between having (or not having) an actively cooled pack in normal/temperate zone is negligible, which makes sense given how the system is rarely utilized.

Case in point, we have a LEAF with 60k on it, and it still has decently more than 90% capacity and 12 bars. (Fair disclaimer: InsideEVs is also running an “all 120v charging” experiment on this vehilce…that is taking forever & I think we all regret ever starting)

Last summer there were various places with battery capacity bar issues besides the really really hot places. Being the 3rd year that the LEAF has been out there will be a lot of leases going back (and likely sold to unsuspecting buyers – been reports of it being done already actually – bad news for all *EV owners if it ends in bad PR)

“guaranteed capacity loss at more than 15% by 20k miles and over 25% by 40k miles.”

Really, a guaranteed loss? No, as with all things it depends on many factors. Average ambient temperature seems to be the biggest factor.

The problems with the Leaf battery are not just down to the lack of thermal management, but to the chemistry chosen and the size of the pack. At that they have only been really severe in very hot climates, where Nissan really dropped the ball in my view by releasing the car with that battery in Arizona, for instance. The problem is not really severe in most places in Europe where the Renault’s are sold, as it is just not that consistently hot. The remaining issues should largely be resolved when Renault switches to the new, likely NMC battery chemistry in a larger pack size. Even without thermal management NMC is usually more resistant to heat than LMO, and frequently has a longer cycle life to start with anyway. The chemistry changes aside, the larger pack size means that you would travel a lot more miles per cycle down to 80% of capacity when new. On top of that 80% of 150 miles leaves a much more useful range than 80% of ~80 miles, in fact more than a present Leaf/Zoe when new. The degradation curve tends to flatten out once you are past 80%, so that the cars should… Read more »

hi Eric, did you try the Alke’ electric vans yet?

Finaly, Zoe pushed the Leaf from my wishlist right about now. 3-phase ac charging @ 43kw is the icing on that cake!

You should research AC 3 Phase 43KVA charging before you decide whether that icing may not taste bitter in the end as it seems far from stabilized technically at this stage.

In addition, since CCS and Chademo are both DC chargers sharing 90% of componenents, the major advantage of AC Quick Charging was to decrease the cost of the charging point is rather mute since no investor will install an AC 43KVA charger stand alone, but rather a universal AC/Chademo/CSS unit.

My 2 cents

I think the new cable and the option (yes, option) to buy the battery should be beneficial for them.

Battery lease would be an ok option except they chose to use it for greed/cover their incompetence.
Base car without battery was twice that of an equivalent ICE car and then permanent lease on top of that. So disgustingly stupid.

Even you sheep should be able to understand that an EV without battery should not cost more than a fully functional ICE car. Indeed it should be quite a bit cheaper.
In germany the empty base Zoe is 21.800euro and the base Clio is 12.800. Rally gotta wonder where that price difference comes from…