Friday, June 27, 2014

EV Business Case - Shopping for an EV - 2nd Chapter

Click here if you missed the first chapter.

Test Drive


The first Test Drive was of the Renault Zoe, a Saturday that was an Open Day at the french brand dealerships, a lot of people were present, most of them looking to experiment the Clio and Captur, but there was also one guy (An engineer of some sort) testing the Zoe.

After several minutes i finally got to speak with the salesperson responsible for the Zoe, the first thing he did was a small query about driving habits (How many kms do you make a day? Do you have a second car? Do you frequently travel far?), justifying it with the purpose of being sure that the Zoe was the right car for me (I made sure it was), after a brief description of the car and how it worked, we finally got to drive it.

The test drive consisted in a few minutes around the neighborhood, without the possibility to try it on open road (And squeeze the accelerator), but during those minutes i found the Zoe comfortable and easy to drive, a bit like an upscale Clio.

Towards the end of the test drive, i gave thumbs up to the car but said that it was too bad that you couldn't buy the batteries, because the money you give for the renting would be enough to buy fuel of a Clio diesel, that was cheaper than the Zoe.

The salesperson replied that the brand policy was to rent batteries because they were evolving fast and by renting them the customer didn't had the trouble to have a dated battery (Valid Point), reinforcing that batteries lose performance with time and as they are rented, they could be replaced before that happened or before warranty ended, saying that he knew cases of Toyota Prius (I said i had one) batteries gone bad that had ended the warranty and the car couldn't run because of it (?!?!?), which implied that the customer had to waste thousands of euros to get his Prius running.

In the end he said that we could try a Clio diesel and afterwards i could decide what was best for me, adding: "We don't want unsatisfied customers, like BMW has" (Say whaaaat?!?!?!)

Back to the dealership, the configuration of my Zoe began and after saying that it was a bit too expensive for my taste, he replied that he couldn't make any discount because Renault has low margins on the Zoe, offering instead a nice deal on a Clio Tourer diesel as an alternative, when i asked how much was the demonstration car, he said that it wasn't still for sale, and he insisted on the Clio Tourer deal or a low-spec Captur.

The car was better than the sales service.


The following test drive was at Nissan's downtown dealership, along with the parked Qashqai and Note there were two Leaf (One white and another grey), i got to try the grey one, the salesperson let me choose the test drive tour, so i've driven it in all kinds of roads, congested city areas, highway, mountain roads...You name it.

The salesperson was pretty confidant and experienced with the car, explaining several real use situations with the car, saying he had more than 20.000 kms experience in Leafs.

As for the car itself, if it had better looks and a bit more range, i would consider it perfect for me, comfortable, lots of space and just enough power to blast through mountain roads or passing other cars. About those looks...If it only looked as good outside as it looks inside and had 250 kms range i would buy it, as this isn't the case....(Deal-breaker time, sorry Nissan).

Back to the dealership, i made a fast configuration of my Leaf and after complaining that it was a bit too expensive for what i expected, he offered me a 3.000 euro discount or a nice deal on the grey Leaf, with some 9.000 euro less on the demonstration vehicle. (Mmmm...nice, for a brief moment i even considered going ahead with the deal).

Nissan is selling the Leaf like any other car of its range. And that's a good sign of things to come.

A curious note: When i was going to leave the dealership with the car, one customer in a suit realized it was an electric car and asked how much it costed to the salesperson, then asking-guessing for its range: "100 kms range?"

When the salesperson replied "200 kms", the suited customer didn't hide his surprise, saying: "That much, eh?!?", leaving with an approval smile in his face.  


  1. AnonymousJune 28, 2014

    Excellent post and still long way to go for Renault! I'm now indeed curious to know what happened with the i3, to see if it matches with my own personal experience.


    1. I'll post the 3rd chapter in a few days, but i can say this: The BMW "i" experience surprised me in a good way.

  2. 200 km? Uau I want one of those, able to go 200 km on a charge.. Uau indeed, it's a miracle, that's what it is