Renault Introduces DRM For Cars

from the question-of-power dept

The problems with DRM for videos, music, ebooks and games are well known. Despite those issues for the purchasers of digital goods, companies love DRM because it gives them control over how their products are used — something that has been much harder to achieve in the analog world. The risk is that as digital technologies begin to permeate traditional physical products, they will bring with them new forms of DRM, as this post by Karsten Gerloff about Zoe, one of Renault’s electric cars, makes clear:

When you buy a Renault Zoe, the battery isn’t included. Instead, you sign a rental contract for the battery with the car maker. In a Zoe owner’s forum, user Franko30 reports that the contract contains a clause giving Renault the right to prevent your battery from charging at the end of the rental period. According to an article in Der Spiegel, the company may also do this when you fall behind on paying the rent for the battery.

This means that Renault has some way of remotely controlling the battery charging process. According to the Spiegel article, the Zoe (and most or all other electric cars) collect reams of data on how you use them, and send this data off to the manufacturer without your knowledge. This data tells the company where you are going, when, and how fast, where you charge the battery, and many other things besides. We already knew that Tesla was doing this with its cars since the company’s very public spat with a journalist who reviewed one of their cars for the New York Times. Seeing the same thing in a mass market manufacturer like Renault makes clear just how dangerous this trend is.

He goes on to point out the ways in which such DRM capabilities can and probably will be abused:

This could be the manufacturer, shutting down your car as you fall behind on the battery rent because you just lost your job, meaning that it becomes harder for you to find work. It could be the government, compelling the manufacturer to do its bidding. In his forum post, Franko30 predicts that at some point, governments may simply ask car manufacturers to block charging near controversial political events (e.g. a G8 summit), in order to prevent you from participating in demonstrations. Or it could be any random criminal out there, gaining access to this mechanism by bribing a Renault employee.

Gerloff notes that one way to avoid these problems is to choose electric cars that put the user in control, and that means those built with free software. Of course, as President of the Free Software Foundation Europe, he would say that, but he’s right. The trouble is, it’s hard enough buying a smartphone running entirely on free software; an electric car based on fully-hackable open code, with all that this implies for road safety, is almost certainly never going to happen.

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Comments on “Renault Introduces DRM For Cars”

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art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: And this is why...

i wouldn’t be so quick to give petrol carmakers a free pass:

many contemporary gas vehicles have onstar and other centrally controlled services which CAN shut off your engine, unlock the doors, honk the horn, or do whatever they want to do remotely…

i thought it was even here where i saw a story a while back where donut eaters had some onstar type service kill a car of a ‘perp’…

not simply electric cars (they were probably just easier to insert the DRM into), but EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE is going to be ‘DRM’ed…

THAT is the world we are building, and we must like it that way, richtig ? ? ?

…or is it being imposed on reluctant sheeple who won’t bare their fangs ? ? ?

velox (profile) says:

Re: And this is why...

“The gas and oil companies will stick around for a long, long time.”

Your comment is just another way of saying that competition disciplines the marketplace. So long as gas-powered cars are reliable, and do not bring the hidden ‘gotcha’ factor found in some consumer electronics, they will have a place in the market.
Renault won’t be able to do much with DRM so long as there is healthy competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Jailbreaking your own car

Exactly. Nobody wants to sell anything with a potential time of use of more than a few years. It is far more profitable to use renting, leasing, licensing and other periodic payment schemes for that. It has the addition of muddy legal contract issues and a far more constant cash-flow and therfore a more advantageous tax-planning situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Butlerian Jihad

To quote Frank Herbert
“The target of the Jihad was a machine-attitude as much as the machines,” Leto said. “Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments. Naturally, the machines were destroyed.”
The time may be coming, as corporations are treating people as money giving machines.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Butlerian Jihad

…Dune Messiah was the shortest book in the series, if memory serves. So…how could you struggle through a shorter book but not the longer ones?
If you were struggling about the plot…just off the top of my head it’s about SPOILERS
Paul Atreides, about a decade or so into his reign as Emperor, coming to terms with the fact that he launched a bloody religious Jihad (he says somewhere near the beginning he’s super-nuked 90 planets and killed about 60 billion odd people) but that his prescience, his ability to see the future, told him that this was the least bloody route he could have taken. He has to deal with a conspiracy by old enemies, which eventually costs him his eyes. He uses his prescience to see, but the cost to use it is enormous: he has to predict the future perfectly in order to be able to “see”. In the end, his concubine dies in childbirth, but to his surprise, she gave birth to twins; he had only predicted one child. Since his prescience has now failed him, he is now completely blind and is faced with the stark reality of Fremen law: blind folk must go into the deep desert. Paul’s willing acceptance of such a law forever binds the Fremen’s loyalty to the Atreides family.

At least, that’s what I got from it.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Butlerian Jihad

So…how could you struggle through a shorter book but not the longer ones? If you were struggling about the plot…just off the top of my head it’s about SPOILERS

I was mostly struggling with the six chapters of Princess Irulan speaking in a meeting with the others about poisoning Paul. Half of the shortest book was people talking to one another.

But other than that, I loved the series, and really enjoyed Children of Dune.

DannyB (profile) says:

I can see a legitimate use for DRM'ing the battery

If Renault is renting you the battery, shouldn’t they, as owner of the valuable and expensive battery, be able to protect their property? Renault might, for example, like to ensure that you don’t charge the battery using an inferior brand of electricity. Only quality brands of electricity, from utility companies that have paid to go through Renault’s extensive qualification and validation program, should be used to charge the battery.


Anonymous Coward says:

So you have to pay probably over $20,000 for the car itself (probably even more with all the new technology involved) AND for an almost certainly overpriced battery with DRM in it?

Is there anything else in the world that’s so expensive that a company or individual that sells it to you can retroactively make it so completely useless and not give you a refund?

I consider myself somewhat of an environmentalist, I drive a Prius to save money on gas, which also helps conserves resources some, but I would NEVER buy a car like this knowing about this DRM.

Heck, I don’t even buy or play videogames with DRM (which are WAY cheaper then even the cheapest car), simply because it’s not worth the hassle.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 More data to vacuum up

The space ship and River clued me in but I admit I had to look up Vera. Forgot about that name.

Sorry, I couldn’t miss it even though it was off-topic. One of my most favorite quotes from that show was when River came in and told Jayne “and also, I can kill you with my mind.”

I wish we could have at least had two seasons of that show.

out_of_the_blue says:

Techdirt always arrives late and without the last decade context.

Ever heard of General Motor’s Onstar, combination snooping / vehicle control system? Not only does it have the ability to track your movements, but can remotely shut down the car. This is same. Every new car apparently has some remote control and tracking built in. Needs only a slightly modified cell phone to send and receive digital data. — I guess you surely know this, but to write as if not, HMM. NOW is the dystopia that science-fiction writers have been warning you about for decades, when “smart” gadgets watch you constantly. — Anyway, this is just one small way the gadgets are going to be used for spying and control from now on, kids, unless we get The Rich and their spying mega-corporations back under control first. We’re moving beyond all previous totalitarian states to the total technocratic state where The Rich control armies of gadgets against We The People.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Techdirt always arrives late and without the last decade context.

Why was this hidden?

Just because of who wrote it?

Surely not because of its content.

OOTB – I suggest

Use a different name

Stop the repetitive slagging off of the site.

Because you DO have some useful contributions to make (such as this one) – unlike some of the A/C commenters around here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt always arrives late and without the last decade context.

The second half… no, two thirds of his post isn’t “insighful”.

OnStar has it’s problems.

Not mentioning OnStar isn’t a reason for his comment to be insightful. OnStar at least has some potentially useful functionality (not enough to offset the DRM), wheras this is just pure DRM.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Techdirt always arrives late and without the last decade context.

yes, BUT don’t you think that gas vehicle manufacturers (who are generally also electric/hybrid makers) WANT to have DRM in all their vehicles ? ? ?

it was only because it was relatively easy to slip that in unnoticed on their electric vehicle that they did it; i’m certain ALL auto makers would do the same…

THAT is the arc of how this story is unfolding, aint it ? ? ?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt always arrives late and without the last decade context.

I agree. That’s exactly where things are heading (and one of the reasons that GM is so extremely keen on making OnStar ubiquitous).

However, removing the OnStar computer from a car isn’t difficult and won’t make the car nonfunctional. That’s why it’s not actually a form of DRM.

Anonymous Coward says:

Smells like anti-electric car propaganda to me.

I don’t know enough about the Renault situation to be able to comment, but that’s a complete distortion of the Tesla

First, Tesla doesn’t “rent” the batteries – you buy them when you buy the car.

Second, while Tesla vehicles can report back to them with statistics, it is entirely voluntary and doesn’t include where you’re driving. (In order to get that, someone from Tesla must actually physically access the vehicle.)

Third, the “spat” with Tesla was because the journalist was being given a model to review – it wasn’t one he purchased, and the agreement he signed to get a car for free included the data collection provision.

Considering how manufacturers like GM and BMW have had similar capabilities for years with their gas-powered vehicles and nobody mentions that, this just seems like a smear piece to sow FUD for electric vehicles.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re: Smells like anti-electric car propaganda to me.

You need to know a little bit about the story before you start going into a balls-out rage. The journalist wrote a bad review of the Tesla model about performance. Tesla fired back that the collected data contradicted how the journalist described his route. So if anything the journalist is “anti-electric car.” All three of your points either were never inferred in this article nor are relevant to the topic.

Hibby the Hoovy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

They used to. My mom had one back in the 70s she called “Petit Rouge.”
I think they pulled out of the US market sometime around 1982.

IIRC Renault is co-owned by Nissan now. From what I can see the car looks strikingly similar to the Nissan Leaf that’s for sale in the US. I’ve heard no word on Nissan using the same tactic with batteries for the Leaf…

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Rental Batteries

There is a good TED Talk about this.

Buying the car and renting the battery is the correct economic model.

The battery is an extremely expensive component. Maybe almost as much as the rest of the car.

Asking consumers to buy the battery up front is like asking a gasoline car buyer to pay up front for all of the fuel the car will ever use.

A ‘rental’ business model also allows for a business model of swapping out batteries quickly on long drives. Sort of like the returnable soda and milk bottles business model from thousands of years ago.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Rental Batteries

“Asking consumers to buy the battery up front is like asking a gasoline car buyer to pay up front for all of the fuel the car will ever use.”

It’s worse than that. Tesla have stated the Model S’s battery should be good for ten years. How would you sell a 10yo electric car with a soon-to-be-useless battery? Who would buy such a car knowing the huge upcoming expense. The result has to be massive depreciation. Meanwhile a 10yo petrol-powered car is probably still in great working condition.

Battery tech is still the key to making electric cars truly viable for the masses, and it seems we’re still a very long way off.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Rental Batteries

Actually I would prefer to rent the batteries.

If I could rent from third parties, yes. If the manufacturer is the only one who has the batteries, they can charge whatever they want, and will charge as much as they think they can without negatively impacting sales of the car too much. You would also have to watch out for stuff like “Battery rental is only $50 a year!!!!

tiny print at the bottom: introductory offer for first year of ownership only, rates may vary afterward.

McGreed (profile) says:

Re: Re: Rental Batteries

The problem is that they can claim monopoly on the ‘fuel’. Today, we can choose which gas station we want to use to get our fuel, but with what they are trying to go ‘Apple’, and force people to only use their own equipment.
And even if someone else create better batteries which can keep the charge better or something like that, you won’t be allowed to do it.

That’s what would happen if they are allowed to lock your car (which you have bought and own) to only use their batteries.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Re: The Source of Power is Being Consumed Over a Short Period of Time (to Richard, #24).

In the first place, it is not “random cell death.” Every time a battery is charged and discharged, it becomes a bit more chemically disorganized. Atoms are not put back in the same place they were taken from. Chemical entropy at work, if you like. The batteries are used up in about the same sense that a nuclear reactor’s fuel rods are used up, in the sense of becoming hopelessly internally contaminated. Eventually, the cells have to go back to a reprocessing plant, to be separated into pure materials, and made into new cells, on the same principle as fuel rods. The only thing random is that some cells age faster than others, for unpredictable reasons. That is the main reason why prudent automobile manufacturers prefer to rent rather than sell battery packs, to avoid getting into the messiness of guaranteeing something which fundamentally cannot be guaranteed. The value of a battery pack is materially diminished every time it is used. It is reasonable that there should be some kind of “clock” which keeps track of the rate at which it is used up, and acts accordingly. In an airplane, there is something called a “hobbs meter,” which keeps track of the rate at which the engine is wearing out, defined as the number of operating hours at which replacement or overhaul becomes legally required. Aircraft engines have to be light enough, relative to their power, that they aren’t very durable.

I think the issue is that reality is catching up with Elon Musk and company. Moore’s law does not apply to batteries. The process for making batteries is already highly mechanized. You need a lot of small cells, to wire them in series and produce a cumulatively high enough voltage that the motor and control circuits can be reasonably compact. It may prove necessary, one way or another, to set aside a fund of fifty cents or so per mile, to pay for replacing the electric car’s batteries, and that would be equivalent to gasoline costing twenty dollars per gallon (assuming 40 miles per gallon). Tesla has departed from Generally Accepted Principles of Accounting, over the issue of buyback clauses in the purchase contract, which ultimately boil down to an argument about making sufficient financial provision to replace the batteries. The buyers will say, in effect, “either give me a new battery, or buy the car back.”

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Source of Power is Being Consumed Over a Short Period of Time (to Richard, #24).

Chemical entropy at work, if you like.

In other words, random.

That is the main reason why prudent automobile manufacturers prefer to rent rather than sell battery packs

But rental totally sucks. It means that I am responsible for someone else’s property. A buyback program would be preferable.

But, regardless of that, I think the main problem with Renault’s approach isn’t the rental part. It’s the DRM part.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The Source of Power is Being Consumed Over a Short Period of Time (to Richard, #24).

entropy and random are not the same things, entropy is not ‘random’, sorry..

“But rental totally sucks. It means that I am responsible for someone else’s property.”

No, they are responsible for that property, much better than you being responsible for it.

If you rent a house, and the plumbing breaks, you ring the landlord and he has it fixed, you don’t pay for it.

If you own the house, and the plumbing breaks you pay.

If you rent a house, and don’t pay rent, that service is removed.

If you rent your house, and the hot water system explodes and kills people you are not liable, the owner of the house is.

If you rent a battery for an electric car and the battery explodes you are not liable.
But if you buy the battery, and you misuse it and it explodes you are liable.

This is the Only WAY for Renault to be responsible, and to avoid making the owner of the car responsible for misuse of the battery, including using it beyond its useful life.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Source of Power is Being Consumed Over a Short Period of Time (to Richard, #24).

In the first place, it is not “random cell death.”

The general degradation of the batteries is not random cell death – but random cell death does occur. I have observed it. I fly some relatively high power electric model aircraft. These use similar cells to the ones in cars. I have observed cell failure for no apparent reason.

Most vendors of these batteries will offer NO WARRANTY at all one you have connected them to anything. SO I maintain that, in addition to the gradual loss of capacity of all the cells, there will be occasional total death of individual cells.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: The Source of Power is Being Consumed Over a Short Period of Time (to Richard, #24).

With a battery pack the size of that used in a pure-electric car, such as the Tesla, the cells are organized both in parallel and in series. You need perhaps a hundred or two hundred cells in series to get a reasonable operating voltage, say 300 volts If you are using little cells which only weigh a pound or so each, you can additionally organize them in parallel, say, ten-wide, or twenty-wide, or a hundred-wide, and the system can be made to route around individual bad cells. I understand that Tesla has done this, though it is probably not original enough to justify the patents they are claiming. Mere isolated failures can be coped with readily enough via standard reliability engineering practice. The real problem is when all the cells are failing, for a common reason.

truthy-dude says:

Im callin BS on this one

This smells a bit of hyperbolic “what if” to me. There would be no reason for a manufracturer to do this suddenly with an electric car, when they could always do it on petrol cars and dont. Also this car is basically a Nissan Leaf with different badges, there isnt really anything new here. My guess is the “rent” idea is a way to get consumers around the fear that they are buying a car that will need 10k worth of batteries in 4 years.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Im callin BS on this one

Well, I don’t have anywhere to point, only an anecdotal story.

A few years ago I helped a friend move to North Carolina to be near his mother after his father died. Stayed down there for a week and enjoyed the beach. I was the one who drove the moving van, so I didn’t have a car to do little runs, so I borrowed my friend’s mother’s car.

When she gave me the keys she told me something interesting. She said that I had to turn the car on, but not turn over the engine, wait 30 seconds, and then turn over the engine. I asked why and she told me that it’s something car dealers do where they live. There is a device that will not allow the car to start if it’s not reset by the dealer every month.

Apparently buying a car and then running off without paying the monthly payments is so common dealers had to start putting the device in cars to prevent it.

That was my first experience with a DRMed car.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Im callin BS on this one

I’d believe that, but it’s hardly common practice — at least, I’d never heard of it before. But that’s still a lot different than the implication of the claim (that all gas cars can be disabled.)

Also, there’s literally no way in hell that I would buy a car that had such a system under any circumstances.

roarshock44 says:

how hard will it be to put a microphone in the car and microwave it to compliant cell phone towers.? utterly regardless of the source of energy.

whenever you complain to your passenger about any aspect of the car, you are in danger of the two of you being stranded somewhere remote, and it’ll know where you are.

lovely new world you have there, kiddos.? sorry ’bout that.

DB (profile) says:

I believe that the reference to Tesla needs to be corrected.

The data to refute the NYT reporter’s story wasn’t reported over the air in real time. It was physically downloaded from the car after it was returned.

That was actually one of the issues: when the reporter called customer support, they could advise him based on a guess about the current state of the battery, not the previous usage.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: this cant go wrong at all

I’d make it shut off the next time the car was turned off, so you just wouldn’t be able to start it again.

Making it absolutely imperative that you don’t make any trips to the wrong side of town.

Would hate to have to leave your car running while you are stopping in the hood for your BBQ fix at the best BBQ in town that just happens to be located in the wrong area. Even worse if you live in a town that closes at 5pm and becomes a really dangerous part of town after everyone shuts down shop.

It would be better to have some sort of GPS to know it is in your front yard before it decides not to start up again. Would be tragic if one of your side trips to the Bronx or South-side of Chicago should happen to result in an error on the part of the vendor and your attempting to escape unharmed without your car.

Anonymous Coward says:

Listen to the TD RANTS

This is perfectly acceptable, and its NOT DRM (idiots), these batteries have a limited number of charge/discharge cycles, beyond that point, you start to damage the batter, and risk damaging the cars circuitry, and a LOT less performance.

Before the damage is done, you can recondition the batteries and put them back into service, leave them too long and they cannot be reconditioned.

It’s not a matter of ‘remotely’ controlling your car, it would be a charge/discharge system that would do that.

Oh the things TD gets upset about !!!!

TD THINK BEFORE OPENING MOUTH !!!! lest you look like an idiot..

Anonymous Coward says:

Mobile phone service DRM too ???

I guess it is by this definition, after all you don’t buy or own the infrastructure, or maintain it or install it, and if you don’t pay them a “rent” you remotely cut you off !!!
But you are also not liable if a cell tower falls over and kills someone, or if a cell breaks down you don’t have to pay to fix it.

so every cell phone in the world is DRM’d, so is every rented house or unit, and every hotel, every rental car, every bus ride, every airline, every restaurant, every pub, almost EVERYTHING !!!! Oh and the road system, every car registration, drivers license, you could go on forever, would be easier to list what is NOT DRM’s by this broad TD “definition”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Lets look at this some different ways:
These batteries have a limited life span, after that time they lose efficiency, their internal resistance increases, and they require more charge and provide less power.
Lower terminal voltage from an old batter, means more current (less voltage) and more heat, and lower motor efficiency (more heat generation).
This can cause components to fail as they have to switch higher currents.

When these batteries have reached their usable life, charge/discharge cycles, their internal resistance increased, that means they use power, and do not hold a charge, power through increased resistance = heat
Heat makes batteries produce more energy, more energy means more heat, more heat = more energy….. BOOOM.
Its called “thermal runaway”

When these batteries get old they require a huge input charge to produce less and less output current.

From normal use liability falls on the owner not the user, you rent a house and the toilet breaks you call the landlord comes and fixes it.
In this case, if the battery explodes the owner is liable, and also responsible for “reasonable use” so if the car company accepts liability they must ensure “reasonable use”, they do this by making sure they do not allow dead batteries (or old) to be used.

Companies are responsible for the disposal of what they make, especially with toxic waist.
If they did not recall the batteries, what would you do ? replace it yourself, and dump the old one at the dump ?

Old batteries take longer to charge and give up less power, as your battery ages you pay more and more on your electricity bill to go shorter and shorter distances, until you are charging all the time and going nowhere.
(if you battery has not blown up your car and family first).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Regarding your Engineering, Efficiancy, and Economical points:

Yes, so? That’s not relevant.

Its called “thermal runaway”

That’s right, and that’s why battery packs (including the ones in your phone) have circuitry to prevent this. That’s a different thing than what we’re discussing here.

Companies are responsible for the disposal of what they make, especially with toxic waist.

Yes and no. This is no different than with the batteries in your laptop, cell phone, etc. As the consumer, you are supposed to take old worn-out batteries to be recycled. As a manufacturer, you are supposed to provide a way for the consumer to do that.

DRM-like abilities are not required to accomplish this.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Tell it to a Taxi Driver

I take a rather detached view of automobiles in general, and electric automobiles in particular. I don’t drive. I hire a taxicab when I need to go somewhere by automobile, and in practice, if I have time on my hands, and the weather isn’t too nasty, I prefer to walk for the benefit of my health. Even at the times when my life was most physically chaotic, I didn’t feel the need to take more than one taxi ride a day, on average, and in more normal times, the figure would sink to once a week or less.

I _think_, with a lot of caveats (*), that I could just possibly convince a taxi driver of the merits of a primal hybrid car (non-plug-in, probably with capacitors instead of batteries). I do not think I could make such a case for an electric car. If a vehicle (a) costs much more than the standard chariot, and (b) you cannot make a case for it to someone who makes his living as a driver, there doesn’t seem to much to say for such a vehicle. So, what about the taxi driver test?

(*) Specifically, the police department would have to buy the car first, so that the cab company could buy the car used at the police auction. Under pressure from the state licensing board, and the threat to grant a license to a competitor and break the local taxi company’s monopoly, the cab company agreed to buy some mini-vans to handle peak load (commuter rush, and when the bars close). However, it is not happy with them, and finds them mechanically unreliable. The company’s preference is the Ford Crown Victoria (Long Wheelbase or Police Interceptor models), bought cheap at the auction.

Anonymous Coward says:

In France, most of electricity is from nuclear plants (80%) and hydro dams (15%), so that’s almost zero CO2.

I haven’t read all the comments, but the Renault Zoe is probably the best electric car for a quite reasonable price (around 20?000 euros). I drove one for a few kilometers and it was a pleasurable experience : there is not much to criticize the car, it’s silent, powerful and stylish.

The real problem, I think, is the proprietary power-charger that Renault sells for around 750 euros.

Greg says:

They are taking ideas from Idiocracy now? Seriously though I’m tired of this evil DRM bullshit being forced on us, and now its seeping into every aspect of life, For the moment we have the choice to not buy that car, but maybe 10 years down the road DRM cars will be ubiquitous just like it is with media. something has to be done to put an end to it before it gets more obnoxious.

Oresias says:

Funny how US medias discover this just now…
This car is released for 1 year now in France (and probably in some other places in Europe), and this business model is not so new…
With Renault, you buy the car, you rent the battery (starting at $106/month) and the car costs $28,000.
Another competitive model, the Peugeot iOn (another French car manufacturer), you buy the car AND the battery. Price : $39,700.

Both models are the size of a Chevrolet Aveo. And the Peugeot iOn is quite ugly but that is my opinion. It is like the car tries to say “Look! I’m slow and ugly. It’s normal, I’m an electric car. Brought to you by ExxonMobil”.

The fact is the battery is the most expensive part of an electric vehicle. So you rent it ($106/month), or you buy it ($11,700).

If you buy it, you amortize the investment in 9 years.

The main problem with the Renault Zoe is when you want to sell your car, you have to convince the buyer to continue to pay $106/month, event if the car is old. But how much you pay gasoline, especially in Europe, even for an old car? Depending of your needs, it’s often more.

Do not forget to mention that a similar business model exists, still with another Renault model, only sold in Israel: You buy the car, you still don’t own the battery, for the good reason that when you need a full charged battery, you go to the gas station to change your depleted battery for a charged one. The operation does not last longer than to fill a gas tank.

Andrew Paterson says:

DRM Cars

when I heard about electric car battery renatl I had never heard of DRM. That was yesterday.
My first thought was that this was a ploy to ensure ongoing revenue from car owners. Currently if you have a petrol or diesel car you provide the car industry/oil giants with ongoing revenue by buying fuel. The oil/car industries are obviously looking to continue the revenue stream into the age of the electric car.
This is clearly the route being taken by car manufacturers via battery rental. You won’t be able to take out the manufacturer’s battery and put in your own after-market battery.
A key question here is: who owns the car battery industry?
Of course the further question is: who owns the technology, patents and so on?
The remoe control of the car is perhaps a side effect of the need to get ongooing revenue.

Andrew Paterson says:

Re: Re: DRM Cars


Thanks for the response.
Answer is no.
These are my first thoughts and I have done no research. Other posters have put forward plausible reasons for battery rental. For example, deterioration and replacement of battery. However, the flaw with that is that the car owners have to pay the full cost of the battery one way or another.
I do remember in the 1970s that there were all sorts of alternatives to petrol cars being mooted and invented, including electric and fuel cell, and it was “common knowledge” at the time that the oil companies were buying them up and sticking them in a cupboard and forgetting about them.

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