If you have have been reading my articles for a while you know by now what I think about Renault’s mandatory battery lease. To me it’s a scam to make the running costs higher than diesel and scare potential buyers away by stating that the battery is more prone to failure than other components, so it’s better to lease it.
The battery rental wouldn’t never exist in automakers like Tesla Motors and BMW that are proud in their products perceived quality and like to show it. Even the sister company Nissan recently removed the Flex (battery rental) versions in Portugal and Spain.
The Renault’s battery anxiety strategy doesn’t hold up in the real world, because the LG Chem battery has proved to be very reliable. Zoe’s drivers are more likely to have problems with the motor or the charging system than with the battery. Maybe Renault will announce a new mandatory lease for the electric motor at Paris Motor Show…
Another big issue with the battery lease is that it makes selling your used electric car a lot harder. It’s far easier and painless to sell a Nissan Leaf with battery included than a Flex version. If you have rented the battery you’ll probably resell the car to Renault’s dealers with a big loss and they’ll try to sell you another Renault. You’ll be less free to go to other automaker.
If we want electric cars to be sustainable they have to allow you to make 100.000 km without noticeable battery capacity loss and when you decide to sell your used electric car, the new owner has to be able to make another painless 100.000 km.
This will be possible with the Renault Zoe R400 powered by a 43-45 kWh LG Chem battery with a 320 km real world range, but the battery rental limits its usability with high mileage costs.
Since the Renault Zoe is better sold in France, let’s use it as an example:
- Annual mileage: 40.000 km
- Monthly cost: 182 €
- Duration: 36 months
I used 40.000 km per year since it has the lowest cost per km. But even then the battery rental has a very high cost per km. The cost per 100 km is 5,46 €.
After 36 months and 120.000 km you paid 6.552 € for the battery rental and the battery still isn’t yours… and this calculation excludes the mandatory battery insurance that adds more costs and bureaucracy.
After 120.000 km the battery only “suffered” 375 charge/discharge cycles, if we consider an average 320 km made with each charge. The LG Chem battery is good to go for another 120.000 km. Only electric cars capable of high mileage compensate the high purchase price. Selling our expensive electric car after only 10.000 km doesn’t make any sense, does it?
With another 120.000 km you double what you already paid in battery rental and insurance. That’s more than 13.104 € for a battery that still isn’t yours. You can’t even remove it from your car to use it for home energy storage when you decide the range isn’t enough.
While Renault unveiling the Renault Zoe with 320 km real world range is great, Renault has to announce the possibility to buy the battery for new and current owners.
It’s better for Renault to announce it now at Paris Motor Show than seeing its customers turn to Kreisel Electric for 40-50 kWh batteries rental free. Kreisel Electric is about to open its battery factory in March 2017 and might start accepting electric car batteries orders soon.
Another issue is how will LG Chem supply all the needed battery cells? The European battery plant in Poland isn’t ready before late 2017 or early 2018. Will LG Chem use the Nissan’s battery plant in the UK? Or the South Korean and USA plants are enough for now?
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