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Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Tue, 28 May 2019, 12:47
by TomZoe
This came today:

Can't read this mail ? Click here

Are you Z.E. Ready?

Installing an approved electric vehicle home charging unit by a qualified technician will enable you to charge your vehicle 3x faster, providing you a greater range and efficient battery.

Here is a quick guide to ensure you are maintaining your vehicle traction battery as required:

A portable charger can provide a convenient backup option where a dedicated electric vehicle wall charger may not be conveniently available, this charging option should only be used in rare cases to enable you to continue your journey.

Renault strongly advises customers not to use a portable charger as the primary charging option as it may detrimentally affect the battery resulting in costly repairs which are not covered by your vehicle warranty.

To charge an electric vehicle at home or at your business, you need specific equipment installed by a qualified technician to ensure compliance and safety. Several options are available so you can choose whichever one best suits your needs, but Renault strongly recommends that your charger is supplied and installed by JET Charge who is Z.E. Ready certified and our primary supplier for Australia.

To find out whether your charging station is Z.E. READY please contact JET Charge on
1300 856 328 or email

For further tips on maximising your traction battery health and information about correct charging, please visit our website

From the team at Renault Australia.

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Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 30 May 2019, 07:21
by LouB
Hi Tom,

You're lucky. At least you've got a message from Renault Australia. Since buying our Zoe there has been no contact unless I have importuned them with some question, to which I have received just brief and non-committal reply. What Renault news feed are you subscribed to?

I'd like to know what Renault means by: "advises customers not to use a portable charger as the primary charging option as it may detrimentally affect the battery resulting in costly repairs". Besides being dreadfully slow, how is charging from 230V 10A supply supposed to harm the battery? Where does it leave those of us who have NOT installed an JET Charge EVSE and so are we deemed to be not Z.E. READY (whatever that means)? Is this just fear mongering and a marketing ploy? The mind boggles.

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 30 May 2019, 07:43
by weber
Unless someone comes forward with some science to back this up, it sounds like pure marketing-speak to me.

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 30 May 2019, 17:26
by whimpurinter
It would be great if the early adopters of these hopefully great new electric cars can comment about the gotchas that manufacturers build into their otherwise commendable creations.

To learn about the existence of dashboard reminders that are annoying and maybe not avoidable, the idea of putting fear, uncertainty and doubt on owners to get them to spend even more money on chargers that would probably have to be repaired as well by that manufacturer, to know if some brands do not come with electronic locking of standard parts. To know if the online connectivity is costly and also if it can be ignored should you choose to do so. These things and others are what we need to know. Maybe to know about the actual cost of replacing remote keys when they give trouble. It's a new industry and it doesn't have to be only how they may plan it to be.
You'd think that some manufacturers will behave, at least in the introductory phase, in order to get ahead of the rest.

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Sat, 01 Jun 2019, 08:30
by LouB
Thanks bladecar for reminding me of those annoying features of Zoe's dashboard display.
Since annoyances are a separate subject from charging, I have started a new topic (Zoe - annoyances and solutions) to discuss them and, together, possibly devise some solutions.

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Sat, 01 Jun 2019, 09:31
by reecho
There's two things to mention with this...

1) . It's a blatant upsell for installing dedicated wallboxes with a thin veil of possible warranty issues if you use a low power EVSE.

2) . As the Zoe uses the motor inverter in reverse as the AC charger, it has inherent losses at low power levels. On a 10A GPO you get around 78% efficiency. That's not ideal. Using a dedicated 32A single phase supply it goes up to 89%.

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Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Fri, 07 Jun 2019, 10:29
by TomZoe
Yes - I was really annoyed with the email.

I would prefer a technical response like - if you charge under 10A single phase there isn't enough power for the batteries to be cool while charging and this might damage them. If this was the answer you would expect the car to not take the power - after all it is the car's onboard "Chameleon" charger that decides whether or not to accept the power being offered to it.

I actually bought my portable charger from and they knew I needed it to charge Renault Zoe said it is suitable.

If I had more time I would write back to Renault and get details of what is or is not technically acceptable.

The technology in the portable charger is the same to the wall mounted charger.

My Portable charger allows me to plug into 32A and 20A 3 phase power points and 15A and 10A single phase power points (I had an adaptor made from 15A to 10A so I could plug into normal power).

At single phase I can select it to draw 13A 10A 8A or 6A of single phase power.

The UK Zoe chat rooms are full of people who only use the "granny plug" as they call it to charger their Zoe's and no problems reported. ("Granny Plug" for UK Zoe owners simply means 10A of singles phase power)

Any thoughts on this alarmist (and irresponsible) email sent by Renault?

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Wed, 12 Jun 2019, 13:39
by doggy
Hard to think of any way that slow charging (2400watt) or .06C rate could damage an EV battery.
The Renault battery is around 360volts so that's about 4-5A DC after inefficiencies at the low rate.
The battery does not heat up at that low level. It could be an issue after a long, hard run on a 45deg day whereupon cooling could take more kW than available.
I agree that heaps (thousands) of people in Europe seem to use "Granny Chargers" quite frequently.
The Renault dealer where I bought my car was using 10A chargers for the Nissans and Renaults in the store.

I would have thought that very fast charging at 1C to 3C would be more detrimental than slow charging.


Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 13 Jun 2019, 10:53
by TomZoe
I just used that as a technical reason.

As others have said: Renault needs to give a technical reason to makes this assertion credible.

Teslas charge without problem at 10A single phase 240V

Zoe's in UK and Europe charge without a problem at 10A single phase 220/240V

Why in Australia will this cause the batteries to blow up?

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 13 Jun 2019, 12:24
by jonescg
Maybe, as I discovered earlier this month, there is a problem with some vehicles' chargers and they are looking for any excuse to deflect responsibility?

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 13 Jun 2019, 13:12
by doggy
That could be the case.
I have checked the overseas forums and posted several queries.
The consensus seems to be:

1. Extremely low Zoe traction battery replacement rate.
2. Some failures of the charging system which have required replacement parts. But not big in percentage terms. Probably what you experienced.
3. Contrary to popular belief, people in Europe and UK do not heavily use "Granny Chargers". But they are used when needed, are discouraged for full time use but one is even sold by Renault officially!

Apparently there was someone in Aus. who exclusively used a mobile 10A charger and his battery failed and was replaced under warranty. Then was allegedly told that if he continued this practice, the warranty on the new battery would be voided.


Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 13 Jun 2019, 13:26
by jonescg
It's staggering that they think charging at such a low rate could ever do harm to the battery. More likely the battery failed for its own reasons and the charger was a convenient excuse. Having seen how workshops troubleshoot EV problems (replace the easiest stuff first, and keep replacing things until it starts working again) I have little faith they know what they're doing.

Charger failures are probably the most common 'major failure' an EV can ever have - they often work for 8 hours a day, while all other power electronics components are operating for less than 2 hours per day. So as far as components suffering use-related strain, the charger cops it the worst.

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 13 Jun 2019, 13:47
by doggy
Hi Chris,
I agree.
Also, there is almost no professional EV experience in Australia when we compare with Europe, so some of this is not surprising.
I have had the same sort of experiences in the ICE world where people just replace stuff.
Once has a diagnosis of thousands of dollars to replace the hydraulic gearbox in a Volvo. I took it home, researched it, bought some diag. tools, replaced a valve and the problem was fixed and stayed fixed for another 19yrs. Cost- $150!
It will be good if they tell you what really went wrong with the demo Zoe.

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 13 Jun 2019, 20:47
by antiscab
I wonder what they do with all the replaced bits. I think I'll make some inquiries, divert some to my shed

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Fri, 14 Jun 2019, 08:43
by TomZoe
If anyone looks at the Renault website it contradicts itself

One part says min 7.6kw Charging and other part 3.2kw.

And what nonsense if I bought the Renault adaptor from Europe (10A single phase) and then just used adaptor for Australian plug end. They couldn’t blame that surely!

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Fri, 14 Jun 2019, 08:56
by brendon_m
Just spitballing ideas but maybe you get a higher state of charge (and thus shorter battery life) with the slow chargers because you "creep" up to the fully charged point vs smashing in charge and having the charger cut out sooner because the surface charge of the cells is higher but the actual state of charge is only 95% which would be better than 100%
In the real world I doubt there is much of a difference but it's all I can think of, except that maybe it's not the battery but more of the charger circuitry doesn't like the inefficiencies of the lower charge rate.
No matter what I'd imagine Renault would have a hard time in court proving that granny chargers damage the battery.
I think it's just a marketing strategy

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Fri, 14 Jun 2019, 09:32
by antiscab
Basically either the zoe charger is fit for purpose and can reliably charge across it's design range (6A single phase to 32A 3 phase), or it's not.

In my experience mine is. If the car isn't reliably charging, there's a problem with the car. (I nearly always charge at single phase 15A, and then rarely at 32A 3 phase).

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Fri, 14 Jun 2019, 11:42
by LouB
My experience has been much like Matthew's.

Our Zoe is almost invariably charged from a dedicated 32A single phase supply. However, because I choose to charge, whenever possible, from 100% solar energy, the Zappi EVSE feeds the car battery with a constantly changing amount of power. This power level ranges from a high of 7.4 kW to a low of 1.6 kW. At which low point the Zoe charger refuses to charge and causes the EVSE to wait until insolation energy rises above that threshold. So far it has worked flawlessly, with charging pausing and resuming automatically until the battery reaches full cell saturation.

I can well envisage how fast, 32A 3 phase, charging of an already hot battery might upset the BMS. At the same time, if this should be a common occurrence, then it appears to be a definite design fault.

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Sat, 15 Jun 2019, 15:43
by doggy
For peoples' information, the Zoe keeps track of some of the historical charging info:

1. Last 10 charges. Odometer, reason for charge termination, duration, SOC at end, battery temp.
2. All time KWHrs from the battery.
3. Total number of partial charges, ever.
4. Total number of full (=100%) charges ever
5. Kms travelled by this battery.

Viewable from CanZE.


Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Thu, 20 Jun 2019, 11:21
by TomZoe
Hi All,

I have done some sluthing.

In Europe the Zoe comes with the same cable we get here and a Renault branded Schuko (2 pin continental European plug) "Flexi-charger" which enables the car to charge at a normal home powerpoint.

So Renault Australia are simply panicing because one Zoe had a failure of its charging system. [I'm told the battery didn't blow up rather the Chameloen charger did but end result the same - car was broken.] Renault Australia were told [by electric car industry representatives here] not to blame nor attempt to restrict the use of the single phase charging portable charger but they have made this the target.

Interestingly Renault says that they are OK for occasional use but not regular use. That would be a bit like saying its OK to drink methylated spirits when your vodka runs out as long as you are drinking vodka 99% of the time - this is nonsense and one would not drink methylated spirits ever, full stop.

I have also done some digging around the way Renault distributes its cars around the world. In some countries (and I don't know Australia) Renault [France] simply lets someone import their cars and in effect that entity/person becomes the master dealer for that country. The dealers that you and I buy our Zoes from are then in effect sub-dealers from this master dealer. So depending on the arrangement - if it is the head dealer (rather than Renault Head Office France) who has to pay for the new batteries in this damaged Zoe then they will say whatever it takes to avoid this.

The comment made to me is that Renault by in effect banning the use of portable chargers may damage electric car uptake in Australia.

The other problem is that the technology in the juicebooster 2 is the same as the wall unit so there is no technological difference between the portable unit and the wall unit all other things being equal - if I plug my portable unit into my 32A 3 phase power point the charge rate is the same as that coming from my wall unit (which feeds from same power supply).

Re: Charging e-mail From Renault Australia

Posted: Fri, 15 Nov 2019, 07:51
by g4qber

Transport Evolved exposing the issue