Renault Fluence ZE (2012 – 2014) Review

Renault Fluence ZE (2012 – 2014) At A Glance


+Electric powered compact saloon, refined and comfortable, 100 mile range, battery can be leased for £70 a month.

-Small saloons not very popular here.

Insurance Group 16

Renault solves the problem of price and depreciation of an electric car by selling the car minus the battery at around the same price as a diesel car (after the government £5,000 subsidy). Then leasing the battery at £70 per month which, with the cost of electricity, works out about the same as running a diesel car.

But, of course, the Fluence is VED free and London Congestion tax free. Prices have been announced and the Fluence ZE costs £17,850 on-the-road after the £5,000 government subsidy has been deducted. There is of course, the battery leasing fee and charging cost, too.

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Ask Honest John

Would an electric car cope with hilly terrain?
"We currently have a Honda Jazz CVT. My my wife, who has limited mobility, really likes it. However, we feel that with the type of motoring that we do, journeys up to about 25 miles from home, that an electric car would be a good alternative. Our area is quite hilly, which makes quite a dent in our Jazz's petrol consumption (45+mpg on relatively level roads down to 40mpg going over hills). Would an electric car cope with this? With battery rental, the impression I get is that the cost would be about the same as filling up with petrol, which somewhat defeats the object of an electric car. At the moment, we are thinking of a Nissan Leaf, but would value your views if there were an alternative. Are the used versions any good? I understand that Honda do a Hybrid CVT for the Jazz."
Yes, hills will make a significant dent in the range of electric cars. But my parents live in Hexham Northumberland which has steep hills in the town itself and all around and there are a number of Nissan Leaf and Nissan eNV200 electric vans operating in the area, so they must make sense. Better to go for one with longer range batteries though. Good choice these days. Kia Soul electric, Hyundai Ioniq electric, Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf and plenty of secondhand Mitsubishi i-Miev, Citroen C-ZERO, Peugeot iOn, Renault Fluence ZE, etc going cheap. Honda did a Mk II Jazz hybrid. Plenty of Yaris hybrids. The Toyota Auris hybrid works well. Prius extremely popular.
Answered by Honest John
Can you recommend an electric car for taxi use?
"I am an airport taxi driver serving people between the south coast and London's airports. I have seen a 2014 registered fully electric BYD vehicle called E6 which seems to be Chinese built. Do you have any knowledge and/or advice as to the advisability of going for this car for my own use?"
I've heard of them and seen them in London, but we haven't covered them. Your best bet was probably one of the Renault Fluence EVs that Renault sold off last year very cheaply. A Renault dealer may still be able to find one for you at under £10k.
Answered by Honest John
How can I work out the residual value of an electric car with leased batteries, like my Renault Fluence?
"I've just bought (not yet collected) one of the 'pre-launch' (January 2012) Renault Fluence ZE cars that have been offloaded into the dealer network and seem to have appeared in numbers in the last couple of weeks. The cars had variously been used for photoshoots, magazine and website tests and demonstrations. At 18 months old they are being sold off at £9000 each with 2000 - 3000 miles on them. 'Does not include batteries', of course. So, very soon I'll be happily feeding in feedback and mileage figures on the cars to you / the 'mpg' site for 'real' usage. I've read that CAP won't give residual values on Renault EVs because the batteries have to be leased and the car owner never actually owns them. Should I take a chance on finance? Are the high residuals predicted pie in the sky?"
The residual on the original list price (sans batteries) of £21,845 for the Expression and £22,745 for the Dynamique is already only about 40 per cent after 18 months. But subtract the (soon to be unplugged) £5000 plug-in grant, and residuals after 18 months work out at 50 per cent. From now on the value will slide more gradually. I thought they would make quite good taxis. I can't comment on buy vs finance because the FSA does not allow me to.
Answered by Honest John
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