While the first copies of electric cars of the lithium-ion generation have exceeded 10 years, the question of their durability arises. Are there garages able to repair them at an acceptable price?
At the start of 2013, Renault sent me an estimate of 14,865.83 euros to replace the nickel-cadmium traction battery in my electric Kangoo, less than 10 years old. Finally, helped by a friend, I was able to replace the only defective element for 70 euros by buying directly from the hundred-year-old Fossard companies (Accus Service, Pessac, in Gironde).
In the footer of the invoice it was written ” Who better than Renault to maintain your Renault “. If it is electric, then the answer could well be: Revolte e-Garages!
With a first address opened in Rennes (35) a few months ago, the brand intends to develop faster and faster. In a few weeks, the Nantes grounds (44) will be inaugurated.
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 to be found on the battery side. Whether for thermal, hybrid or electric models, it is this 12 V lead-acid battery that is the main source of failure.
In addition, the end of the battery life of the hands-free key. In both cases, the electronic unlocking of the doors no longer occurs. To quickly distinguish between the 2 problems, the smartphone application is a great help. If it cannot be connected to the vehicle, it will definitely be the 12V lead battery that is to blame.
The manufacturer is able to solve these 2 breakdowns, which are also found on a petrol or diesel car, very quickly and at a reasonable price. What about other problems?
When it comes to a breakdown involving the traction battery, the usual dealers are usually much less competent, mainly because they do not have enough feedback and they are more logical in changing a complete element.
For example, a lithium-ion pack, charger or converter. Even if the cause of the failure is a very small electronic component. So it was 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 e-mobility fair.
In his left hand, it’s a Leaf’s preload resistor. It prevented finding the full capacity of the package. Nissan had prepared 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 Revolte e-Garage in Rennes for 1,000 euros all inclusive, parts and labor (diagnosis, disassembly-reassembly, testing).
Even very small components
In our picture, Alexis Marcadet is holding in his right hand a faulty block of Renault Zoé capacitors. The repair was carried out by specialist technician Jérémie Noirot. The invoice amount: also about 1,000 euros, when Diamanten asked for almost 4,000 euros to fully replace the charger.
What if it was a very small component a few millimeters in length? There it would be Erwan Lefèvre who would certainly intervene. The electronics specialist would use a microscope for this. He has done this for more than 10 years on embedded systems in petrol and diesel cars. The company’s motto is: Electric or hybrid, it lasts for 100 years “.
For Alexis Marcadet, completely in harmony with the rest of the team, ” an electric car must be able to be passed on to one’s children as real property “. He calculates: We have already repaired a hundred electric cars and we have contacts to intervene on a hundred others “.
A story of cost
” Our first customers were among the pioneers of electric mobility for repair operations. But we do more and more revisions. The size of our workforce follows the volume of customer enquiries. 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 in our approach. They do not hesitate to entrust us with various interventions “, he rejoices.
” Overall, we are able to divide by 2, 3, 4 and even more, the amount of the offers presented by the builders. Thus with an electric car from the city of Rennes, where for 1,200 euros including tax we solved a problem for which the manufacturer demanded 17,000 euros “, he compares.
” We have launched an observatory of the intervention costs electromobilists observe on their electric cars. After 500 responses, for example, we record an average of 162 euros to have a Renault Zoé serviced and around 1,000 euros for breakdowns “, he corrected.
Training for future technicians
” The yellow Citroën C-Zero on our stand had been in a garden for about 2 years. Dismantled parts had been scattered around the back seats. We were able 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 brands of electric motorcycles. We are moving forward with new manufacturers who have vehicle durability in their DNA “, he emphasizes. During this month of September, the company will also start training technicians who will be able to intervene effectively on 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 throughout France as needed.