We decided to do our part for the environment and our younger generation when we eventually "push up daisies" so we got a Renault Zoe for no apparent reason except its the cheapest all electric vehicle around with generous discount and government grant.
Anyway, last Sunday we drove from Brighton where we live, to Gorring Gap in Worthing for our fly day, we fly and race quadcopter drones. When we arrived, we realised there was lots of water dripping out from the chassis below. Few of us quipped its the air cond, whereas the other camp, me included, was rather worried because its an electric vehicle and something serious might be afoot, so we decided to contact Renault Assistance (RA) which we were assured has a specially set up team to deal with electric vehicle issues.
Yes, they were certainly special! because the first initial contact was flawless and very charming. As we were there with quite a bit of expensive, fragile and cumbersome load of kit, RA agreed to recover the vehicle to a specialised garage that knows about electric vehicles and will attempt to get a courtesy car out to us so that we can drive back to Brighton with all our kit. We were told it would be approx an hour's wait which we didn't mind as we were busy flying and racing in that perfect sunny windless day.
Two hours went by, no recovery vehicle in sight but a driver with the courtesy car arrived. The poor chap had to sit and watch, dodged model planes and drones swarmed overhead whilst I contacted RA. Unfortunately now, RA had no record of my breakdown job and insist I had not contacted them about my breakdown! I had to pass my mobile phone over to the poor driver of the courtesy car to prove that RA had contacted them, thats why he's there.
After much searching, the officer at RA finally realised that it was an electric car and it was dealt by another team! The officer then started to blame me, saying I should have told him that it was an electric car. I said I did plus he has all the car registration details as well as my details and purchase logs with him as my Renault Zoe is a brand new car (2 months old) plus he had searched for my vehicle under DVLA, which he had stated earlier!
I requested to speak to his Manager who was really friendly and helpful and finally sorted out the situation. She even offered to get a taxi to take us all the way home from Worthing to Brighton as by now, the courtesy car driver had to return back to Brighton.
Anyway, when the recovery guy arrived, he assured me that it was the aircond and nothing wrong with the vehicle! You can imagine the uproar! My faithful Zoe took us home safely, no probs.
Seriously, the Zoe is a fantastic car, I must say, but taking on an electric car is akin to the starship Enterprise in one of its voyages where no man (or woman) have been before ... because even though we are all mostly accustomed to combustion engines, every issue from an electric vehicle is totally alien to us and manufacturers like Renault must ensure their support is totally USER FRIENDLY if it wants to win support and increase customer base. Their support assistance processes must be seamless otherwise it is too easy to fall back to the reliable tested combustion engines.