Wall charger repaired

They came Thursday to repair my wall charger. They completely replaced the innards of the thing so it’s as good as new. The mechanic did that while I was at work, so when getting home I immediately tried to charge. It still didn’t work. The same symptoms as three months ago when it was new: white light – green light – flashing red light.

So they had to pass by again on Friday morning to look into it. Friday’s I am usually at home so I could watch and check before the mechanic left. It was the same issue as before: the thick 3 phase 6 mm² cable impeding the latch that locks the plug. After 5 minutes and a few tie-wraps everything was in working order and I’m running again. They really really need to change the design of this charger. It is costing them service visits for nothing.

And some other good news: they opened up a fast charger on the Haarrijn petrol station along the A2 from Amsterdam to Utrecht. The first of about 20 planned for the Randstad (the populous western and central part of The Netherlands). Accidentally I have to travel from Amsterdam to Utrecht tomorrow afternoon. Can’t wait to pay a visit and see if it is suitable for my ZOE. All fast chargers in operation today are CHAdeMO DC chargers, only usuable if you have a LEAF.

I want 63 A 3-phase!

A nice surprise

Today I was contacted by the service department of my Renault dealer. I had made an appointment to have them take a look at the SD/USB card reader since it started malfunctioning again since summer. It seems the thing is temperature sensitive since it never works in the morning and sporadically in the afternoon. The colder the weather, the smaller the chance of it working.

So the technician had already looked into the issue and determined there was a batch of Zoe’s with a bad card reader. He had already ordered a replacement part and was awaiting delivery. So we canceled the appointment to reschedule for a later time when the part arrives. A genuine proactive gesture from Renault, what a nice surprise.

Wall charger malfunction

This afternoon my wall charger broke down. I had plugged in my Zoe and she was charging. I interrupted the charging process with the key operated switch on the charger (so without actually unplugging) and started again an hour later or so. The the red light on the wall charger came on. So I went through the routine of unplugging, switching on and off etc. To no avail.

Then I inspected the plug and saw there was a clump of mud that had entered one of the pins. I assumed that was impeding a good contact. And so I sat down to clean things up. It cost me a dozen cotton tips, but everything was clean as a whistle. I switched on the wall charger, the white light came on. I inserted the plug and the light immediately turned red. I didn’t even have to insert the plug all the way. And I didn’t even have to connect my Zoe. Just inserting one end of the cable tripped the wall charger.

So I drove to a nearby public charging station to see if she would charge there and she did. This suggests the wall charger is the problem and not the cable. I will call the service company tomorrow to see if they can fix things.

Why I chose the Zoe

Yesterday I got to enjoy one of the main reasons why I chose to drive a Zoe.

I had a normal working day and had to go out at night. After my 100 km round trip commute, I arrived at home with 28% remaining charge. Good for about 40 km. I had to go to Amsterdam, a 95 km round trip. I hooked up my Zoe to the 3 phase wall charger at 16:50 and when I left at 18:30, she was at 95% charge level. More than enough to cover the 95 km. That would not have been possible with any other electric car (except a Tesla).

Two records in one week

Today my Zoe carried me for 142 km without needing a charge. That is a record (for me). The weather was good today, both temperature and wind were moderate (13-18° C, 3 bft).   According to her GoM (battery indicator) she could go for another 19 km. The trajectory was mostly motorway, about 80%. I usually kept the right lane at a speed of 90-95 km/h (on the speedo). The accessories consumed 0.7 kWh. This is my scorecard for today:

142 km single charge

I broke another record too this week: highest consumption. It was night and the wind was strong, my Zoe had to struggle against an 8 beaufort. She was very brave! But it cost her a lot of energy: 20.9 kWh/100 km (70% motorway). Usually I get around 15-17 kWh/100 km. I kept the cruise control at 98 km/h on the motorway, occasionally going a bit faster to pass a truck. I arrived home with only 17% battery capacity remaining (21 km on the GoM). It makes me curious for the winter with the cold increasing consumption even more and decreasing battery capacity. But how much will the cold affect range? I can hardly wait.

Back from holiday

A week ago I arrived back home from a two week vacation. I was happy to see my Zoe still parked in the same place where I left her.

The experts tell me that it is best to store a lithium battery with about half a charge. So I left her with 62% charge. When I started her, she still showed she had a 60% charge. So there is almost no self-discharge of or vampire drain on the traction battery.

What I did notice though is how badly aligned the door sill is at the driver’s side. It is protruding by more than a cm. See the picture below. On that same side, the front and rear doors aren’t perfectly aligned too, bu that is more like a few mm. I hope they can correct these things.

Also, Tomtom lost connectivity and reports it can’t get an internet connection. That means I have no HD live traffic information which is quite important if you commute in the Amsterdam area. I will visit the garage for both issues in the coming week or so.Zoe door sill misalignment

ZE connect, finally some action

My first experience with ZE connect wasn’t all that great. But this morning I finally got some usable information. When I woke up, I opened the ZE connect app and could follow the the status of my battery with half hour updates. Really neat:



And this was the status I got after plugging in at work. It shows the car as not being plugged in, but it certainly was, I made 100% sure of that. So while the updates are cool, they are not reliable.


To get you some up-to-date information, there is a button somewhere in the app to request that. But I have had very little success using it. Most of the times I get this vague, ambiguous message:

Vague and ambiguous error

It reveals that the programmers at Renault throw useful information in the bit bucket, and then present one generic error message to their customers, leaving them to figure out what the real reason is.

Shortly before leaving to home, I decided to try out the ‘Charge now’ function. This sms was the result:

Charging unsuccessful

Translation: “Charging the car could not start. Communication failed, car disconnected or charging already”. Kudos to Renault for being consitent: they consistently leave their customers in the dark by offering nothing helpful, just a bunch of suggestions. Figure it out yourself!

A second attempt to start charging was successful. But the unreliability makes this function a gimmick, not something you can rely on.