Cars / Serious problems.  Renault Fluence ZE, transmission fault

Cars / Serious problems. Renault Fluence ZE, transmission fault


Even before Zoé or the electric Kangoo, Renault is starting to attack the market with the electric version of its Fluence family. A car that might make sense to you, as it didn’t work in the hot version either.

The plan is simple: Renault wants to immediately offer a car that can satisfy the needs of many customers. You can carry a small family and their luggage in this sedan with a large trunk.

Renault has no right to miss it: its investment in electricity amounts to 4.4 billion euros and this Fluence will be its first leader.



With the Fluence ZE, Renault is entering the electric market. Photo Renault

Sending error

The first problem, this car is based on the Renault Fluence, a sedan intended above all for Latin America or Turkey, the countries where it is produced.

Derived from the existing Samsung model, this Fluence cannot bet on its appearance to convince the European buyer and especially the French, who do not buy the rear version, preferring hatchbacks.

To launch its 100% electric attack, Renault is not holding back on its side, especially since the car is flawless.


With its three-box profile, it did not satisfy the taste of the French.  Photo Renault
With its three-box profile, it did not satisfy the taste of the French. Photo Renault

The early history of the electric car

At Renault, however, we do not hesitate to present this Fluence ZE as a revolution. In October 2011, the first press trials were organized in Portugal.

After a 67 km loop, the vehicles return to the hotel with a few kilometers of distance remaining. With 80 km in reality, we are far from the promised 185 km.

One can say that this Fluence is the only electric car on the market and that it meets the daily needs.


In normal use, the Fluence ZE had a hard time covering 80 km. Photo Renault
In normal use, the Fluence ZE had a hard time covering 80 km. Photo Renault

Limited use

But its trunk is limited because of the battery and the recharging time of the Fluence greatly reduces its chances of leaving the city to start a long journey. It takes eight hours at a so-called “fast” socket and 12 hours at home to charge this electric car.

The last step that can deter buyers, the battery is leased, adding another tax to the monthly loan payment. But Renault has an idea in mind.


Fluence was to sell 100,000 copies in Israel.  It will be sold a hundred times less.  Photo Renault
Fluence was to sell 100,000 copies in Israel. It will be sold a hundred times less. Photo Renault

Replace your battery at the station

In order to transform the car and completely eliminate the problems of autonomy and recharging, the Israeli entrepreneur, Shai Agassi, will have a simple idea: to create battery exchange stations for the Renault Fluence ZE.

When the battery is empty, you stop at the “Best Place” station and a few minutes later, you leave with a charged battery instead of empty.

Renault was persuaded by Better Place to build 38 battery exchange centers in Israel and 18 in Denmark, with an investment of 850 million dollars.

For the two partners Better Place and Renault, the profit calculation is based on sales of 100,000 Renault Fluence ZEs in Israel and Denmark. No one seems surprised by the size of the goal.


The Fluence ZE would be one of the brand's biggest missteps.  Photo Renault
The Fluence ZE would be one of the brand’s biggest missteps. Photo Renault

Painful failure

Soon, however, things will become difficult for Renault and the Best Place. No one wants Fluence ZE, be it in Europe, Israel or elsewhere.

The expected 100,000 cars turn out to be 1,000 cars sold in Israel and 240 in Denmark. You forgot the extension of that concept to other countries of the world.

Carlos Ghosn, who understands that the future is not replaceable batteries, suddenly withdraws his support for Better Place and demands 65 million from his girlfriend.

Due to lack of customers, Better Place locations are closing. Renault Fluence ZE and its cousin Samsung SM3 ZE will have sold only 6,000 copies worldwide, including 727 in France.

Renault will have to wait for the Zoé to have its first popular electric.