5 Comments

Renault Australia tells customers their warranty may be void if they use a portable EV charger

Renault recently sent out an email to all Zoe and Kangoo EV owners to tell them that portable chargers “should only be used in rare cases to enable you to continue your journey” and that “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”.

What Renault is effectively saying here is that if you admit to using a portable charger and there’s a fault with your vehicle’s battery, they will use that fact against you to not replace or repair the battery under warranty, leaving the vehicle owner with a massive repair bill.

Many EV owners prefer using a portable charger for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re renting so don’t want to spend money to install a dedicated charging unit on a landlord’s property.
  • Kill two birds with one stone. Why buy a charger for home and a charger for portable use when a portable charger can do the job of both?
  • Charging at 2kWh from a 10A power socket overnight is more than enough for their needs and portable chargers cost less than a wallbox.

Other manufacturers like Tesla and Hyundai ship their vehicles with a portable charger and don’t make the same claims Renault do, so what has Renault found that makes them threaten customers with losing their warranty is they use a portable charger?

If Renault has proof of portable chargers damaging their vehicle batteries, they should make that public so current and potential EV owners are better informed. Without that evidence, it seems like Renault just want to increase sales of “Z.E. Ready certified” wallboxes with unnecessary fear mongering.

The full email can be seen below and if anyone has further information on what’s caused Renault to send this email out, please get in touch (aagius@fastmail.fm):

Anthony also produces The Sizzle - a daily email newsletter covering all aspects of technology with an Australian point of view.

5 Comments

  1. Australia is such a poor EV country, there isn’t really much competition, so companies like Renault can take this stance. Honestly, for the cost and size of the vehicle, how can anyone really justify buying the ZOE? Given this information it might just make people think twice.
    In terms of chargers, what are the specifications? If they cover 240V 10A (2.4kW), then there isn’t any problem. If the car shouldn’t charge on that level of power then it just shouldn’t be able to negotiate that with the type 2 connector. Technically, if this is a problem for a ZOE or Kangoo then Renault should change the programming in the car and their specifications.
    By the way, my “portable” charger is 240V 32A, it is a certified charger (otherwise it wouldn’t be allowed to be sold). Renault would have to have a very solid reason why that charger is not suitable. But doesn’t matter for me as I doubt I would buy a ZOE anyway.

  2. The problem with the Zoe is that it’s internal charger (or rectifier) that changes the AC power from the grid into DC for the battery has a very poor efficiency at low power. It was design to handle 22kW or even 43kW on the continental version but if you charge at a regular 2kW efficiency will fall down.

  3. Rectifier? Mercury perhaps, lol? All OBCs are going to drop in efficiency at lower power levels but that on its own is no reason to avoid them if you are willing to take the cost hit.

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