My latest piece about the Better Place electric car is now out over at Green Car Reports. I lay out the full details of how much my new car is costing and compare it to suitable new alternatives in Israel today.
The short answer is, compared to other brand new cars, I think I’m getting four years of free fuel. But that is only in the case of being realistic about what you compare it to. If you want to buy a much cheaper car (that drives, feels and sounds less smooth) you can buy cheaper cars.
However the Israeli second hand car market is so weak right now, there are plenty of 2 or 3 year old bargains to be had so if saving money is your only criteria, you’re much better off with second hand.
A few semi-random short notes about the Renault Fluence Z.E. while I remember them:
- I adore the pre-cooling feature. If the car is at 95% battery or above AND plugged in, you can set it to turn on the A/C (or heating) at a set time. This can only be set in the car (would be nice if you could activate it by iPhone but not yet).The time I leave the house is a little variable depending on when the kids wake up but it’s still great to get into a partially cooled car. More important, however, is that when you turn the key you get instant ice cold air. My underground garage is nudging 30℃ at 8 am already and in another month it will be over 35℃.
- The boot gets very warm while the car is charging. This is to be expected but don’t even think of leaving food in there when you plug it in. Driving doesn’t make it hot in the same way.
- I suspect the car would feel a lot better on normal tyres. It’s fitted with low resistance “fuel” saving eco tyres and, especially at the front, they give poor grip when pulling away. I can’t believe they make that much of a difference to the electricity use so I won’t be upset to change them to something stickier even if I loose 5km of max range.
- I’ve written about “range anxiety“: the supposed reason why people can’t own electric cars but there is a much better term for it: range awareness. I’m aware of my car’s range, not anxious about it. There is another factor at play. I’m confident I can drive my car down to 6% battery remaining when the car itself (I read in the manual) will start beeping and eventually reducing available power.Unlike with a petrol car, the battery remaining gauge is phenomenally accurate and doesn’t change when you go round a fast corner! If you need to drive it to the edge of its range, you will, at least, be well informed about your progress.