Although the first copies of electric cars of the lithium-ion generation are more than 10 years old, the question of their durability arises. Are there workshops capable of repairing them at an acceptable cost?
In early 2013, Renault sent me an estimate of €14,865.83 to replace the nickel-cadmium traction battery of my less than 10-year-old Kangoo electric. Finally, with the help of a friend, I managed to replace the only defective element for 70 euros, purchasing it directly from centenary Fossard establishments (Accus Service, Pessac, in the Gironde).
In the footer, the invoice read ” Who better than Renault can service your Renault “. If it’s electric, then the answer might be: Revolt e-Garages!
With a first address opened in Rennes (35) a few months ago, the brand intends to develop more and more quickly. In a few weeks, the Nantes site (44) will open.
Batteries as the main source of failure
A study published by the German automobile club Adac in February 2022 revealed that the main source of failure is on the battery side. Whether for thermal, hybrid or electric models, it is this 12V lead-acid accumulator that is the main source of failure.
Added to this is the end of battery life for the hands-free key. In both cases, electronic unlocking of the doors no longer takes place. To quickly distinguish the 2 problems, the smartphone app is a great help. If it cannot connect to the vehicle, then it will surely be the 12V lead battery that is at fault.
The manufacturer is able to solve very quickly and at a reasonable cost these 2 malfunctions that also exist in a gasoline or diesel car. And what about other issues?
When it comes to a breakdown that revolves around the traction battery, regular dealers are most of the time much less competent, mainly because they don’t have enough feedback and are more on the logic of replacing a complete element.
For example, a Li-ion pack, charger or converter. Even if the cause of the failure is a very small electronic component. These were 2 pieces that Alexis Marcadet – one of the founders of e-Garages Revolte – showed us, during our visit to Saint-Brieuc, Saturday 3 September 2022, at the Côtes-d’Armor electric mobility fair.
In his left hand is a Leaf preload resistor. Prevented finding the full capacity of the packet. Nissan produced an estimate of 6,000 euros for the replacement, without guarantee of results, of the converter that was not in question.
The car was repaired at the Revolte e-Garage in Rennes for 1,000 euros with everything included, parts and labor (diagnosis, disassembly-assembly, tests).
Even very small components
In our photo, Alexis Marcadet holds in his right hand a defective block of Renault Zoé capacitors. The repair was carried out by specialist technician Jérémie Noirot. Invoice amount: around 1,000 euros too, when Diamond asked for almost 4,000 euros to completely change the charger.
What if it was a very small component a few millimeters long? There, it would be Erwan Lefèvre who would certainly intervene. The electronics specialist would use a microscope for this. He has been doing this for over 10 years, in embedded systems in gasoline and diesel cars. The company’s motto is: Electric or hybrid, will last 100 years “.
For Alexis Marcadet, fully in tune with the rest of the team, ” an electric car must be able to be passed on to your children as real estate “. He calculates: We have already repaired a hundred electric cars and have contacts to intervene in another hundred “.
A cost history
” Our first customers were among the pioneers of electric mobility, for repair operations. But we are doing more and more revisions. The size of our workforce keeps pace with the volume of customer inquiries. We will go from 10 people today to about fifteen at the end of this month of September », explains Alexis Marcadet.
” Customers tell us directly that they want to help us with our approach. Do not hesitate to entrust us with various interventions “, he rejoices.
” Overall, we were able to divide by 2, 3, 4, and even more, the value of the quotations presented by the construction companies. So, with an electric car from the city of Rennes, where we solved for 1,200 euros including taxes a problem for which the manufacturer claimed 17,000 euros “, compares.
” We launched an observatory of the intervention costs observed by electromobilists in their electric cars. After 500 responses, for example, we recorded an average of 162 euros for the maintenance of a Renault Zoé and around 1,000 euros for breakdowns. “, lined up.
Training for future technicians
” The yellow Citroën C-Zero in our booth was in a garden about 2 years ago. Dismantled parts were strewn across the back seats. We managed to fix it. Now she can get back on the road “, Illustrated Alexis Marcadet.
The e-Revolte brand doesn’t stop at cars. ” We will provide after-sales service for 2 electric motorcycle brands. We are moving forward with new manufacturers that have vehicle durability in their DNA “, he underlines. During this month of September, the company will also start training technicians who will be able to intervene effectively in electric vehicles.
The desire of Revolte’s founding team is to develop skills in France to reassure EV users and help them have reliable machines. Meanwhile, Jérémie Noirot and his colleagues travel across France as needed.