Renault now lets you buy out the battery lease

Renault Zoe and battery

I’ve always seen the mandatory battery rental as something close to a scam, making electric cars more expensive to run than diesel alternatives. Furthermore the existence of a battery lease indicates that the automaker isn’t confident in the quality of its batteries and scares away potential customers – by stating that batteries are more prone to failure than other components. This is why we’ll never see battery rentals in automakers that are proud to build good quality electric cars, such as Tesla or even BMW – that don’t see batteries as problems.

 

Anyway, since last year Nissan finally allows its customers to buy themselves out of the battery rental on a Flex agreement. Now its sister company Renault is starting to do the same.

I know several cases where used units of the Renault Zoe were imported from France to Portugal and sold without battery lease. Furthermore, this practice isn’t exclusive to Portugal, also in Spain some dealers are offering the choice to buy used units with or without the battery rental as this case, where a 2013 Renault Zoe is sold for 13.000 € with battery lease or 17.000 € with battery included, which is 4.000 € more.

Used Renault electric cars with battery leases are very hard to sell, especially now that Renault is alone in this scheme, potential buyers don’t understand why they’ll need to pay a battery rental forever and eliminate one of the electric car’s biggest advantage, the low running costs. Having the chance to outright buy the battery will help to move used car inventory.

 

Renault Zoe is a great car, but dealing with Renault and RCI can be a pain in the ass, for this reason alone you might be tempted to terminate your rental contract and buy the battery. Actually, this was always possible if you were determined to do it in confrontation with RCI, as you can read it in the battery hire lease agreement:

14.1.4 if you have failed to return the Battery, a sum equal to its Insured Value at the date of the Termination Event. “Insured Value” means the amount (indicated as such in the Schedule) being an amount to offset any financial loss suffered by us in the case of damage or total loss of the Battery. The Insured Value will reduce by 10% each calendar year, reduction beginning at the start of the 13th month of this Hire Agreement;

 

The insured value of the Zoe’s battery is 7.000 € (VAT exclusive) when new and it’s reduced by 10 % each calendar year, it doesn’t matter if it’s the previous 22/23,3 kWh or current 41 kWh version. So let’s see what you have to pay if you really want to buy yourself out of the battery rental agreement.

  • During the first year: 7.000 €
  • During the second year: 7.000 € x 0,9 = 6.300 €
  • During the third year: 7.000 € x 0,9 x 0,9 = 5.670 €
  • During the fourth year: 7.000 € x 0,9 x 0,9 x 0,9 = 5.103 €
  • During the fifth year: 7.000 € x 0,9 x 0,9 x 0,9 x 0,9 = 4.592,7 €

And so on… remember to add the VAT rate of your country.

 

Nonetheless, the example above only applies to extreme cases in which you and RCI don’t find a common ground to terminate the rental contract in a friendly manner. Fortunately, those cases shouldn’t happen anymore, since RCI and Renault are now available to reach an agreement with their customers and you won’t have to pay that much. You can expect to pay around 4.000 € for a 4 year-old battery – like the example of the 2013 Renault Zoe on sale in Spain.

Considering that in France there are used Renault Zoes on sale for less than 7.000 €, it means that’s possible to have those with battery included for less than 11.000 €. Not a bad deal for a very convenient electric supermini.

As a side note, if you want to check the battery’s health before deciding to buy it, you can use CanZE on your smartphone to see the SOH (State of Health). However, a low score not always means a degraded battery, it might be a problem with the BMS (Battery Management System) and you need to contact Renault for a firmware upgrade. If your Zoe takes too much to charge from 99 to 100 %, it definitely needs a BMS firmware upgrade to fix it.

 

To sum up, Renault and RCI really need to improve the relation with their customers and this could be a first step in the right direction. As much as Renault tried to pass the idea that most customers are happy with the battery rental, this isn’t true, especially in France where it’s mandatory, as this poll clearly shows.

Remember that the soon to arrive second generation Nissan Leaf won’t have a battery rental option, which can been seen as a demonstration of confidence on the battery’s quality. Now, not only is Renault expected to follow the same recipe and terminate the battery leasing scheme soon it also has to cut the Zoe’s price to make it competitive with the much more technologically advanced second generation Nissan Leaf.

 

 

What about you? Are you interested in terminating the battery lease? How much does RCI charges for it in your country?

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Battery rental is a sound practice, but many users don’t understand it because of a lack of financial culture.

    Let’s take an example:
    If you by the battery you need to finance 7.000€ of additional cost.
    A 4% loan during 8 years cost you around 85€ a month.
    After 8 years/160.000 km you may need to replace battery (expected battery life time) depending of your range needs and how fast your battery degrades. You assume that risk,

    If you lease the battery:
    You pay up to 120 € month, depending of you usage. (89€ if you drive less than 12.500 km/year, and 10€ plus for every additional 2.500 km)
    You don’t assume the risk of battery failure after battery warranty period expires.
    You get a battery replacement at below 75% of capacity, instead of 66%.

    Note than if you pay 7.000 € for the battery, after 160.000 km your cost was 0,04375€/km.
    If you lease, you pay an “insurance” of 39€/month, plus 10€/month for every 2.500 km, or 0,048€/km. If you drive more than 25.000 km/year you can improve this figures because you have a fixed lease of 120€/month no matter how many km you drive.

    So, basically, you pay a more for an “insurance” on your battery, which is the main technological risk when you buy an electric car. Ask to first generation Nissan Leaf owners.

    1. That’s very nice and would work in a perfect world. In a real world, Renault RCI is just pissing out on customers and finding every excuses to not exchange the battery. Besides that, with several problems that affect the Fluence and the first generation of the Zoe, many users found themselves prived from using their cars for a month or even more and still had to pay the rent…

      1. +1
        Why does 35 per month not sound like a good insurance policy to me on a 85 per month product??
        Becuse insurance is a numbers racket and the house employes advanced mathmatecians who have ran the numbers from every angle win 95 percent of the time…

    2. Sorry, but the battery will last mutch more than 160.000 kilometers at the ZOE. With 100.000 kms many owners are reporting only a 5% degradation. So, with 60.000 more could be less than 10%. Not necesary the replacemant at all.

  2. So does this mean basically you need to buy a battery lease Zoe and then try and end the lease and buy it out? I recently contacted Renault and they told me categorically I couldnt buyout the lease…..I really want to get a Zoe as a 2nd car and I know once the lease is bought out the value will wind up being the same as buying a 2nd hand Zoe with the battery already owned but there isnt a lot of choice of battery owned models for sale so looking at this as a second option it just sounds a little risky..

  3. Fortunately, people are not stupid, the battery lease COMPLETELY KILLS the advantage of this car, Renault saw the lease as a way to milk the ‘green’ brigade. – Now , if they don’t start being reasonable, they’ll kill their customer base from the adverse publicity this racquet creates.

  4. There has been strong rumour that Renault WILL be selling off the battery packs to owners late this year ( 2018 ). It needs to happen with some form of warranty as a sign of confidence from Renault.
    They are being left behind by the likes of Nissan, Tesla and Chevrolet in North America.

  5. I would like to Buy Zoe but only with battery… Since I”m searching for few week with NO lack I would like to contact some dealer that can buy the battery for me…
    Any idea of such a dealer? Please in Europe NOT the UK

  6. hello! I have renault zoe 2015 with no battery? Anyone can advice me if there is an option to rent it somewhere?

  7. Why do people struggle to understand battery leasing? Are they complete morons? Look, put simply, it’s a way to avoid paying up front for an expensive component, but still use it. Renault also throw in a lifetime warranty and a get-you/home service not only when you are too dim to charge up, but at other times too. If you are so cavalier with your money as to pay thousands that you pay hundreds to rent, then send it to me instead. I’m sure your daft enough to do that too.

    1. You are VERY patronising in your comments.

    2. The reason is probably that people just aren’t as brilliant as you. Do you know anyone that actually received a replacement battery? I read a message from one Renault Fluence owner who has a battery with only 50% of the original capacity left and Renault denies to replace the battery.

    3. You sound like a spokeswoire for one of those government PPI schemes or the financee industry.

    4. I agree. Ultimately the battery, while rechargeable, will degrade over time and need replacing. It’s essentially a long term consumable that is useless to you when it fails, but can be reconditioned for reuse by, for the sake of argument, the company that makes the car that it goes with. As such, leasing makes far more sense than just buying outright.

  8. Just got an offer from Renault Sweden. 44700SEK + vat for a battery from a 2014. That makes up to 5250€ inc vat. A bit steep for me since I find the quality of this sample (the car) to be sub par. Otherwise I find the car brilliant with only a few minor buts.

  9. “…since I find the quality of this sample (the car) to be sub par. Otherwise I find the car brilliant with only a few minor buts.”
    ?!

    1. I assume that your comment indicates that you think that Anders’ statement is contradicting? I can not clarify Anders’ statement, but I can give you an example from my own experience.
      The Renault Zoe drives fine and has some nice features, but it charges way to slow compared with current EVs. I agree with Anders about the sub par quality, I am leasing a 2017 Renault Zoe with 41 kWh battery, the car is now almost one year old and has driven slightly more than 10 000 km. Currently the car is waiting for a new electric engine at the dealership, would you expect to switch engine every year or every 10 000 km if the car was of high quality?

  10. I bought it in May and it’s been in the shop about 6 or 7 times. Still a few things they can’t figure out. There is for example still something seriously wrong with the drivetrain/suspension even though having changed several parts that were worn out. Despite haven driven less than 40000km. I find that there is a quality issue with at least this car (and the shop for being seemingly clueless).
    As for the buts there are a few that come to mind right now. Lacking: xenon or led lighting, seat heating, decent handsfree speakerphone function, normal doorhandles in the back, trailer hitch.
    Otherwise a brilliant “big inside and small outside” type of car. OK comfy, real easy to drive.

    I commute 120km a day, mainly highway.

    Pedro, thanks for a superb blog!

  11. Please substantiate the statement that Renault now let you buy out the Battery Lease.
    In the UK?
    How much does this cost?
    What is the Process / Contact to initiate.
    I await the good news.

  12. Why don’t you just buy a leaf without lease there are plenty for sale for £5000

  13. Question is, how much will it cost to buy the battery in a 5 year old Zoe compared to the price difference between what you can sell a Zoe for and what you can buy a Nissan Leaf for? The Nissan Leaf you can buy for around £5000 is the 84 mile max range model pre 2016 so it’s not a 100% direct comparison either.

  14. I have been looking very very closely at buying a ex Renault car sold through as dealer for £6500 at 12200 miles.Ilike the car and as I don t do many miles a year now I would need under 6000 miles per year.
    I worked out the electric cost at about 6p per mile , which is god saving for me BUT when I add the battery lease to the costing it adds 11.8 p per mile making the total mileage cost £ 0. 178 pence per mile against my current diesel at 12.7p per mile. I know the car is very cheap but the ongoing fuel and hire makes it stupid to change from my diesel Ford.
    I really wonder what they are thinking of not selling the battery as well as the car. A Zoe in UK would be impossible to sell privately and to dealer would mean the hire fee was mine until HE sold it.

  15. Not sure it’s stupid, Gwaygway. No more ‘stupid’ than it always seems when considering buying any ‘new’ car if you include all the costs of ownership. I have rarely managed to convince myself to change a reliable vehicle – simply because it gets cheaper to own as its value declines towards zero. However, the intangibles win out sometimes (cars are less polluting and cleverer; the feelgood factor of a shiny new thing etc.) And electric cars have extra intangibles such as social smugness (guilty as charged your honour). Focusing just on the Zoe, you could either compare the purchase costs with and without owning the battery and factor that in to the ‘running cost’ (others have done that – it’s not a huge difference) or you could compare the cost of a Zoe with battery against your diesel; as I say, the diesel will always win unless (like the diesel Modus I traded in for my Zoe) you are sick to death of its fuel lines being eaten by mice, its injectors continually misbehaving and the fact that the headlight switch had taken control of the wipers.

    I shall probably trade my Zoe back in within 3 years of purchase for no better reason than being uncomfortable with the principle of hiring the battery but, if I were to apply cold logic and consider every aspect of the costs of ownership, I wonder……………….?

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