It wasn’t my intention to turn this into a regular blog, but such has been the reaction (good and bad) to my decision to lease a Renault Zoe for the next two years that I’ll keep going until the subject runs out of steam. Which, judging by predictions for electric car sales growth, will be sometime around 2020…
As then, I’ll try to keep my thoughts rational rather than evangelical - I don’t own any tie-dye T-shirts and I’m not hell-bent on saving the planet, but I like the upsides of electric cars (instant torque, silent travel and so on) and I really like saving money. I also understand that electric cars only work well under very specific circumstances and that they aren't for everyone.
Those criteria seem to be widening, though, as ranges improve, the charging infrastructure grows and tax breaks are made more evident.
I know this first hand now, because the dealer I’ve bought the car from emailed the other day and said he’d deliver our car for free. Brilliant though they have been, I was nonetheless somewhat taken aback by this unprompted generosity. However, it turns out two of the many people who emailed me for more information after reading my first blog have gone on to buy Zoes from the same dealer. As the growing number of electric and plug-in hybrid sales suggest, there seems to be a small but significant number of people on the cusp of making the switch.
So - first dilemma: should I name the dealer? I would have felt more comfortable doing so without having been given a freebie, but as they have been beyond excellent in their help and communication, I will: the chap to ask for is Darren Briscoe and the dealership is Bristol Street Motors in Derby. Consistently, they have had the best Zoe deals I’ve found online, in a variety of two and three-year packages, and the service has been top-notch. But, to be absolutely clear and unbiased, other Renault dealers are available.
If Derby is too far, then I should add that, during my shopping around phase, I also found that most Renault dealers have specific people dedicated to handling electric car sales, and that they are among the most knowledgeable there are. I also suspect they are under-utilised: certainly the level of service wherever I enquired was superb. Being an early(ish) adopter feels like I’ve opened the door to an exclusive club, where top-notch service comes as standard. It’s a rather enjoyable nuance of this car-buying journey that is worth highlighting.
Since the previous blog, I’ve also had the ‘free’ Chargemaster electric charging point installed on the side of my garage. I was a little nervous about this, as the idea of drilling holes in something I pay a substantial mortgage on made me a little queasy. I needn’t have worried: the chap phoned the day before, was punctual, polite, quick and thorough. His cabling is a work of art. The charge point itself looks rather smart. It felt slightly bizarre to take half a day of his time, plus all the equipment, without parting with a penny beyond the lease. However, while the incentive is there from the government and Renault, I’m delighted to take advantage of it. It's another bonus that comes with getting in on the electric car movement early. Now all we need is the car...
It has been almost three months, but last week we got news that our Zoe is finally at the docks in Southampton. From there, bizarrely, it goes to Derby, and then back to our home in London (nobody said the supply chain was green). The whole process should take around two weeks, including the obligatory paperwork and inspection hold-ups.
Next time I write, the Zoe will be on our driveway.
Other Renault Zoe blogs: