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Renault leased battery “capacity guarantee” is a joke

  • 29-11-2021 7:47am
    Registered Users Posts: 518 ✭✭✭

    Background: Renault Fluence EV, battery leased from RCI (Renault Credit International) bank, terms of lease contract states that while the car is under 10 years old, RCI will pay for the battery to be reconditioned or replaced if it ever goes below 75% at maximum charge.

    What they don’t tell you is that it’ll cost you ~€430 to get software upgraded on the car and some tests run by their dealer network before they will even consider reconditioning your battery.

    To add insult to injury, when I rang Renault Airton road back in June, I was told to bring in the car for a test, cost me €108 (they charged for 1 hours work), they confirmed the SOH on the battery was at 69%, and then they pissed about for nearly 5 months and finally after loads of chasing up, they gave me a call last Friday to tell me that the next step (if I wanted to continue) would be to get some software upgrade at a cost of around €325 to determine if the battery was really below 75% SOH.

    No chance of a refund of my €108 either.

    What a joke of a dealership, has anyone actually gotten a leased battery replacement from Renault in the last 2 years, and how much were you asked to pay for “diagnosis”?



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    why are you pursuing this. best case scenario is they'll give you a battery from another similarily old car that will be just above 75% SOH to get out of warranty period. You are not going to be getting a new battery.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,773 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Gotta say that battery lease was a great moneymaking scam for Renault, even worse than gadget insurance

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    at this stage the battery must be purchasable for a few hundred euro from Renault Finance and you can sell it to someone who likes to tinker for cost then break the car down for parts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,058 ✭✭✭silver_sky

    Check what your lease agreement states. Is it for you to prove (or pay) to confirm that the battery is indeed below the warrantied SOH?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,544 ✭✭✭celtic_oz

    sounds like you have a case, worth 2K ?

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  • Posts: 21,179 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    The lease if I remember correctly states that only around 75% is guaranteed and so if they get it back to 80% then that's what Renault deem a suitable replacement or fix so walk away, very sorry to hear you got messed about, you shouldn't have to pay so much to get a diagnosis on the battery but this may or not be stated in the contract who pays for diagnosis and if there's nothing in there about who pays for this then I would assume the garage are entitled to charge you what they want.

    What I would do is see if you can buy the battery and flog the car with the battery.

    What mileage is on it and how old is it ?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Based on my enquiries about the Zoe they depreciate basically straighline and this should be around 9 years old so cheap to buy out.

    Zoe has basically no problems with battery degradation and there are those who favour the lease option because the figures on finance work out better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,290 ✭✭✭✭ELM327

    The zoe has very little in common with the fluence. The fluence battery is actually the same battery that is in the gen 1 pre lizard pre sunderland nissan leaf. IE the problematic one.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I'd have no problem buying a 22kWh Zoe secondhand with our without lease as the batteries don't degrade to any great extent and they charge at 22kw.

    The Fluence EV is another story altogether.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,173 ✭✭✭k123456

    not meaning to be cynical of Renault

    But on older software the battery is at 69%

    If they dont trust or can rely on their own SW, why should you have to pay for newer SW

    I would not be surprised if the new SW will give you a reading of 75 plus , I wonder is there something in the new SW to give a favourable reading

    To add insult to injury, when I rang Renault Airton road back in June, I was told to bring in the car for a test, cost me €108 (they charged for 1 hours work), they confirmed the SOH on the battery was at 69%, and then they pissed about for nearly 5 months and finally after loads of chasing up, they gave me a call last Friday to tell me that the next step (if I wanted to continue) would be to get some software upgrade at a cost of around €325 to determine if the battery was really below 75% SOH.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,059 ✭✭✭✭KCross

    You need to forget about the deler and contact Renault themselves. The dealer is probably covering themselves for the investigative work they have to do to prove that the warranty repair is required, as they wont get paid otherwise.

    A sternly worded email to Renault Ireland is your next step, imo. If a software upgrade is required then thats the solution to get you back above 70% and that should be done under the warranty. You should not be paying for that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,828 ✭✭✭daheff

    I think at this point go direct to Renault. Tell them a main dealer has tested and given you a below 75% result. Tell them you are invoking clause whatever its of the battery lease to have the battery issue resolved.

    It's now up to Renault to prove it's not below the 75% threshold.

    If they start saying that some new software is required that wasn't available at the point of signing of the lease then it should be pointed out that Renault would need to relay on the software available at the point of signing (and not having signed a lease trying to rely on software that did not exist at the point in time the lease was signed.) If they are not happy with this software now, how would they have been happy to sign such a lease at the time relying on this software??

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,668 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Robust emails, if they don't satisfy you, go to SCC and claim back all you've paid them so far. The SCC can not force Renault to replace your battery, they can only force a company to pay you back what you have already paid them. Up to €2.5k. I would claim back the full amount in lease payments. And oh yeah, stop those payments, you should have dumped the car or stopped the payments or bought out the lease years ago

    Wouldn't call it problematic, it is extremely reliable, but it degrades a lot more than any other EV battery. Full disclosure: I own a Fluence Z.E. - battery owned. It is nearly 10 years old but still easily gives a 80km range in summer and a 60km range in winter. That's perfectly fine for our use of it as a second local Dublin car. The car was near mint and I paid just over €2k for it. This car is cheaper to own than any banger petrol / diesel that someone gives you for free.

  • Registered Users Posts: 518 ✭✭✭yoke

    Thanks for all your replies on this so far everyone -

    following up on this, the contract for the lease is with RCI banque (bank), and the contract does say that I’m liable for the expense of the test:

    “The EV Customer may, at its own expense, instruct an authorised and approved centre displaying the "ZE" logo to carry out a Diagnostic to test the capacity of the Battery. Should such a Diagnostic determine that the Battery charging capacity is lower than the threshold set out in Clause 8.4, RCI shall, at its discretion, either:

    8.5.1 replace the Battery;

    8.5.2 repair the Battery; or

    8.5.3 Implement any other necessary resource to overcome this reduction in capacity“


    so, according to the contract, RCI banque are within their rights to refuse to pay anything to me so far (and have done so).

    However, the problem is that the Renault dealer told me at the beginning that they’d need to test the car battery which should take less than an hour, charged the hours rate which was €108, gave me a receipt saying SOH at 69%, then told me they would contact me when the battery was in. After no contact from them for about a month, I followed up, they said the Renault ICM database (whatever that is) still lists my car at 81% battery because the previous owner had the car tested some years ago, and had that battery reconditioned, presumably up to 81%). And after 5 months of them repeatedly telling me they were still waiting for the ICM database to be updated, they’ve now told me that RCI banque are telling them that they need to upgrade the software on my car before they can upload the results from their lab test to the ICM database to get it updated - this sounds like bollox to me, why would a bank tell them how to do their technical job, it’s more like whoever runs the ICM database is telling them to upgrade the software before running the test again (IMO).

    At this point I told the dealer that I’d settle for my €108 back and walk away, because I know that even if I pay the extra €325, they will either magically find that a software update has increased my battery capacity to 75% (even though the real world range remains the same) and tell me to F.O., or else they will recondition my battery just up to 75% (they’re hardly going to give me a new battery, like other posters here already mentioned) but nope, they won’t even do that, as apparently I have “consumed the service” (which does not make sense - if the service is consumed, how come I don’t have an answer to the question of “is my battery below 75%” which I can use to force RCI to recondition my battery).

    regarding the mileage on the car - the car is great (apart from the battery) and has only 34k miles on it, but it’s 9 years old. I’ll contact RCI banque about purchasing the battery and update again on this thread to let you know if they give me a reasonable figure (but I’m not holding my breath for that haha, they will probably give me a “PFO” figure of about €5k or something).

    celtic_oz, thanks for the link to the small claims court - I might have a look at that later on, depending on how much I expect theyd actually get back (probably only €108 cos I have the receipt for that, I’m not sure how the small claims court calculate liability amounts but I doubt they’d reimburse me for my own time wasted, phone calls/followup etc. 🙂 hence my post warning other people about this).

  • Registered Users Posts: 518 ✭✭✭yoke

    Unkel - interestingly I’ve been told by a friend that if I stopped the lease payments, that RCI banque would be able to repossess my battery, making the car totally useless, so not to stop paying the lease.

    not sure if SCC could get my lease payments paid back to me by RCI banque because they will argue that they never broke the lease agreement, it is the dealer who is not giving me the official stamp (Renault ICM database update, I guess) to say that my car has 69% SOH (interestingly it is listed in my receipt from June from the dealer that the car was found to have 69% SOH, not sure if that’s worth anything).

    my car has about 50km range in winter and 70km in summer btw. I’m interested in all the comments I’ve seen here which say “but it degrades a lot more than any other EV battery” (referring to Renault Fluence EV battery - I thought the technology was just lithium batteries, the same as any Tesla or other EV?

    Do the other EV models use “tricks” to keep the battery from degrading so quickly, such as saying the max capacity of the battery is lower than it actually is, and setting the software to only ever charge the battery up and use up to 90% of its “real” capacity (and report that as 100%, so for example a 40KWH leaf might actually have a 44KWH lithium battery, but has software that prevents it charging to above 40KWH, thus protecting the battery from degradation)?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    of relevance. There was some flexibility back in 2019 it seems.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,179 ✭✭✭kennethsmyth

    Ok you have had the test that you paid for and this has now shown 69%, push the garage to contact Renault or start pushing yourself. A solicitors letter to Renault will be cheaper than the 325eur - you do not need to pay this to the garage for any form of update, especially one that may hide the 69% that has been stated. Push, push, push now as you have your proof of test. Anything else is not your concern.

  • Registered Users Posts: 39 medi_bai

    Minor thread hijack here.

    The leases for these batteries can be bought out? Anyone gone through this process before? Have an idea of cost / ease of doing so?

    I've seen a Zoe I like the look of, but the battery is leased and I just never liked the idea of that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 39 medi_bai

  • Registered Users Posts: 640 ✭✭✭kaahooters

    why should you get 108 back when you agreed to the work to be carried out?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,569 ✭✭✭2ndcoming

    Because it turned out to be a scam... Just because you agree to something in good faith doesn't mean you're stuck with the outcome regardless.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,290 ✭✭✭✭ELM327

    Hey man, you know I love the fluence EV more than most!

    But it is the early leaf battery which causes the same deg issues.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,290 ✭✭✭✭ELM327

    Remove the sim card and they cant track the car.

  • Registered Users Posts: 640 ✭✭✭kaahooters

    how is it a scam, it was to determin the soh of the battery, its a seperate issue that the soh turned out to be 69%.

    OP asked for a scan, got the scan, now wants the cost of the scan back because hes not getting a replacment battery, which is a seperate issue.

  • Registered Users Posts: 518 ✭✭✭yoke

    kaahooters - the problem is that they’re now completely refusing to give an official response saying the SOH is below 75% unless I pay for the software to be upgraded and the tests to be carried out again, they’re estimating this at €325 but obviously could be higher.

    All I’m asking the dealer for is an official response that says to me that the SOH is well below 75%. If they give me that, then my problem would be with RCI banque, but until the dealer gives me that, my problem is with the dealer not the RCI banque.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,668 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Technically they own the battery, so they could reposses it. But will they in practice? Damage and steal your property (the rest of the car) to physically remove the battery? I don't think so. Start a court case to force you to hand over the battery or let them remove it? I don't think so. Disable the battery if they could? Yes they will do this and have done this in the UK. But they can only do this if they have remote access to the car. In the Zoe there is a SIM card, if you remove it, they don't have access. In the Fluence, I don't think there even is a SIM card, so they have no remote access to the car. Only sayin'....

    Now I'm not promoting for anyone to breach a contract they signed up for, I would go into negotiation first about buying out the battery (for a pittance). But if they are totally unreasonable, you might have to rethink your options.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64,668 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Oh I agree. But that doesn't make these cars (early Leaf / Fluence Z.E.) bad or unreliable cars. Just that their range is typically about half of what it was when new, 9-10 years later. Still plenty of range for most people for a cheap second family car / local runabout. With local being the operative word in the Fluence as it can't even DC fast charge 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,290 ✭✭✭✭ELM327

    AFAIK and I do stand to be corrected on this, there is an actual physical sim card in the Fluence ZE. The Zoe came with an e-Sim, like Tesla etc.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I enquired and it is possible. It makes for example a 2014 car more attractive than a 2015 as depreciation on battery for buyout appears to be straightline even if the 2014 car is in better condition with lower miles than the 2015 car.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 518 ✭✭✭yoke suggests it can be done.

    Looks like a job for a mechanic or someone who knows where to find the TCU at least.

    But the dealer’s still an arsehole for refusing to give a response or my money back, and putting me in this position in the first place.

    looks like I can’t force them to give a response, so will probably have to go down the SCC route if I want anything off them at all.

    tbh they’re a bunch of idiots, as I was considering actually buying a brand new EV off them before this, but after this I never want to have to deal with them (or RCI) again. No chance.

    Someone else on this thread compared the lease guarantee to a scam, and at this stage I’m inclined to agree - the lease “guarantee” seems to be worth less than the paper it’s printed on