Category Archives: Blog

Posts related to personal experiences, and the FuelIncluded.com website.

ZOE Winter Testing

ZOE it’s cold outside (or how I got my heating working)

♪ ♫ When the weather outside is frightful

the ZOE’s not so delightful

but now I know what to do

my fingers aren’t quite so blue! ♫♪

OK, I know we are past the month of December but with the current cold snap I am elated to finally have the answer to my winter woes. Don’t get me wrong I love my Renault ZOE 22kWh, but one thing I’ve always struggled with is heating her up. I’m not talking about the great pre-heat function; this is for those times when you either forget the pre-heat or you are out and about and want to get in your car knowing you can easily pop on some heat.

I have been driving my ZOE for two winters and have always been cold. I had just assumed it was a limit of the car, but having experimented, I realised there is just a bit of a knack to getting the heating to work right.  I now don’t have to wear full hat, gloves and scarf in the car!

ZOE Winter Testing
ZOE Winter Testing

After reading a few posts and trying out a few carefully selected combinations it would seem I have my solution ,these are the steps I follow and try to stick to in this order.

  • Set your heat to 24 degrees, not full whack
  • Select fan speed 3
  • Make sure Air Con is Off
  • Turn on Air Circulation
  • Leave on windscreen fan for the first minute or so
  • Change the fan direction and speed to your preference after a few minutes

Just in time for err Spring [facepalm]

By Jo Pegram-Mills

BMW i3 in Fluid Black (Image: BMW.co.uk)

New BMW i3 Business Contract Hire Prices

BMW i3 Business Lease Offers

We have new deals available from 22 February for businesses looking to lease the new longer range BMW i3.

BMW i3 'Stormtrooper' (Image: BMW)
BMW i3 ‘Stormtrooper’ (Image: BMW)

We are offering a BMW i3 (94Ah) auto hatchback on 3 year BCH (Business Contract Hire – effectively a long term rental) with either 3 or 6 months of upfront payment on a 3 year term (so ‘3+35’ or ‘6+35’ respectively). As these are business leases, there is no Fuel Included service as standard. However, you do get the usual free car tax (for the BEV version) and congestion charge exemption as well as often free public parking and charging.

These are the current prices (with the lowest ones highlighted):

Battery Electric (BEV)Range Extender (REx)
Payment Terms:6+353+356+353+35
6,000 miles paTBC£279TBC£310
8,000 miles paTBC£286TBC£317
10,000 miles paTBC£294TBC£327
12,000 miles paTBC£306TBC£340
15,000 miles paTBC£317TBC£353
20,000 miles paTBC£340TBC£378
Contact Us

 

The i3 is a very exciting car – arguably the most advanced in the world being 100% electric and the only mass production car made with a carbon fibre frame (plus aluminium chassis and plastic body panels). We have selected news and reviews (and blogging about our own i3) to read here.

A battery upgrade for the BMW i3 sees range almost doubled
The new BMW i3 (94Ah) in the new Protonic Blue colour

A unique feature of the i3 is that it comes in two versions:

  • As a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – the car just uses electricity from the battery to drive and you recharge it as necessary.
  • With a Range Extender (REx) – as an option the i3 can have a small petrol engine fitted under the boot which recharges the battery when it runs lows on charge.

In both cases we only provide the longer range version of the i3 battery known as the ’94Ah’ (which relates to the specification of the battery cells). Where the previous i3 battery had a range of 70-90 miles this new battery has a range of 120-140 miles. In the case of the REx version (with its engine and 9 litre petrol tank) the total range is over 200 miles.

The other offer terms are as follows:

  • Prices shown exclude VAT.
  • Prices are for a standard car (solid paint, options as listed) – ask us to quote for other options such as automatic cruise control and automatic parking.
  • Maintenance is not included.
  • You get free road tax for the BEV and congestion charge exemption for both versions.
  • While benefits for electric cars are changing, currently you get cheap charging on motorways and many public locations, plus free parking in many town centres and railway stations.
Contact Us
BMW i3 in Fluid Black (Image: BMW.co.uk)

New BMW i3 PCP Prices

BMW i3 Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) Deals

We have new deals available from 21 February for private buyers looking to buy the new longer-range BMW i3.

BMW i3 'Stormtrooper' (Image: BMW)
BMW i3 ‘Stormtrooper’ (Image: BMW)

We are offering a BMW i3 (94Ah) auto hatchback on 2, 3  or 4 year PCP (Personal Contract Purchase – like a lease you can give the car back at the end, but you also have the option of paying a lump sum and keeping it). To keep these prices low, there is no Fuel Included service as standard. However, you do get the usual free car tax (for the BEV version) and congestion charge exemption as well as often free public parking and charging.

These are the current prices for a 3 year term with a deposit of £1250:

Miles Per YearBattery Electric (BEV)Range Extender (REx)
8,000£380£411
10,000£389£421
12,000£399£432
15,000£413£449
20,000£437£476
Contact Us

 

The i3 is a very exciting car – arguably the most advanced in the world being 100% electric and the only mass production car made with a carbon fibre frame (plus aluminium chassis and plastic body panels). We have selected news and reviews (and blogging about our own i3) to read here.

A battery upgrade for the BMW i3 sees range almost doubled
The BMW i3 (94Ah) in the new Protonic Blue colour

A unique feature of the i3 is that it comes in two versions:

  • As a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – the car just uses electricity from the battery to drive and you recharge it as necessary.
  • With a Range Extender (REx) – as an option the i3 can have a small petrol engine fitted under the boot which recharges the battery when it runs lows on charge.

In both cases we provide the longer range version of the i3 battery known as the ’94Ah’ (which relates to the specification of the battery cells). Where the previous i3 battery had a range of 70-90 miles this new battery has a range of 120-140 miles. In the case of the REx version (with its engine and 9 litre petrol tank) the total range is over 200 miles.

The other offer terms are as follows:

  • Prices shown include VAT.
  • Prices are for a standard car with solid paint, with or without REx – ask us to quote for other options such as automatic cruise control and automatic parking.
  • Maintenance is not included.
  • The excess mileage fee is 8p to 10p per mile, depending on contract terms.
  • You get free road tax for the BEV and congestion charge exemption for both versions.
  • While benefits for electric cars are changing, currently you get cheap charging on motorways and many public locations, plus free parking in many town centres and railway stations.
Contact Us

Jeremy Clarkson builds the case for electric cars

I was running late, but I finally caught up on the last episode of Grand Tour last night, and enjoyed the usual round of sheer irreverence and pointlessness. What I love about Clarkson is that I don’t have to approve of anything, I can just laugh.

However, as a lover of electric cars, I felt trepidation as Clarkson pulled out all the stops to take the mickey out of James May by setting up a petrol Vs electric test designed to make the electric fail (and fail he did missing the whole of the Roger Daltrey gig).

James May with BMW i3 (Image: www.bbc.co.uk)

On the plus side, it set me thinking. Clarkson has a good point which is that an electric car is not the best choice for all situations. It would be a bit like me setting up an off-road race between Clarkson’s beloved Lexus LFA and a Land Rover. The Lexus LFA is great but is just not going to perform across the muddy fields.

When choosing whether to go electric it is vital to think about how you use your car, and how to select the right car to meet your needs. I’d be the first to say that an electric vehicle isn’t always right, but for many cases it is a fantastic choice, and will serve you well and save you money.

So keep enjoying Clarkson – I know I will – but if you want advice on electric vehicles, don’t take it all from a celebrated ‘petrol-head’ playing for laughs. Instead, come and talk with us and explore how to make it work for you.

Please contact us for independent advice on electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 Example Colours (Image: Renault)

New PCP Prices for long range Renault ZOE ZE40

Best Renault ZOE Z.E.40 Deals

We have new PCP prices for February for the new Renault ZOE with the ‘Z.E. 40’ long range battery – we are pleased that they show a reduction in cost of about £13 per month.

 

Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 Example Colours (Image: Renault)
Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 Example Colours (Image: Renault)

These are the current prices including fuel, road tax and VAT (from 13 February 2017):

Annual MileageDynamique Nav R90 Monthly Cost
(£1199 Deposit)
Signature Nav R90 Monthly Cost
(£2035 Deposit)
Fuel Included Total Miles
5,000£263£29810,000
6,000£266£299.9510,000
8,000£290£32510,000
10,000£303£33810,000
12,000£318£35410,000
15,000£322£35910,000
20,000£330£36810,000

The new battery has an ‘official’ NEDC range of 250 miles equivalent to a highly impressive real-world range of 170-200 miles in temperate conditions (reducing to 120-130 miles in extreme cold conditions). This ZOE is available in new colours, including red for the first time, and there are other detail changes – full details are here and here.

We are offering a Renault ZOE R90 with Z.E.40 battery on 3 year PCP; this stands for Personal Contract Purchase and is currently the most popular way to buy a car because of its flexibility. You put down a deposit, pay an affordable monthly fee (less than many people spend just on petrol), and drive away a new car with fuel included. At the end of the three year term you can choose to pay an optional lump sum and keep the car, or you can just give the car back and upgrade to the latest model.

It’s like a mobile phone contract, but with miles rather than minutes included.

The new ZOE Z.E.40 comes in two versions, the Dynamique Nav and the Signature Nav. The Dynamique Nav is well specified with TomTom® satnav, climate control, electric windows, heated mirrors, cruise control & speed limiter, Bluetooth, remote control of climate control and charging, 16″ alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, and rear parking sensors.

The Signature Nav adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, BOSE® audio system, and rear camera.

Renault ZOE Z.E.40
Renault ZOE Z.E.40 in Mars Red

The other terms are as follows:

  • There’s an initial payment (‘deposit’), as specified, when you order.
  • There is a Rapid charge option (‘Q90’) for £22 per month.
  • A finance fee of £99 will be added to the first monthly payment.
  • All prices include VAT (these offers are only available to private customers).
  • The excess mileage fee is typically 16p per mile (8p for car, 8p for battery).
  • Fuel included: you get free electricity over the contract term as listed above (this is at the Economy 7 rate but you are not required to switch to Economy 7).
  • You get free road tax and congestion charge exemption.
  • You get a free home charge point paid for by Renault.
  • You get free breakdown recovery, and telephone and email support.
  • All prices quoted include battery rental.

Full details of what’s included in the deals are on the Fuel Included offer page.

Contact Us

Coverage: We have bases and electric car suppliers in Milton Keynes, St Albans, London, Northampton, Bedford, Cannock, Leicester and Liverpool allowing us to supply all around the Midlands (including London, Luton, Oxford, Rugby, Kettering, Coventry, Nottingham and Birmingham). However we can deliver all around the country – just contact us for details.

My Electric Valentine

“What I actually found from the minute I first took her for a spin, was the very modern run around punched above its weight on looks, equipment & costs”

I find myself in a strange dichotomy at this time of year when pledging love to your nearest & dearest is the thing to do. Just two years ago my new love affair started with a ‘newer, younger model’ named ZOE. She came with all the whistles & bells that would normally only be associated with an uptown high-end model, but I have to say it was love at first sight.

my other love is electric

To set the record straight, I am a 40+ year old biker who works through the week to get to the weekend to take my Harley Davidson out on the open road. A true petrol head, raised on a diet of high octane & V twins so you would be surprised at my reaction to living with an Electric Vehicle.

I was a total sceptic at first, all the usual urban myths of “it will be a faff to charge”, “the car will look like a bubble car” & “I won’t want to be seen driving it”. What I actually found from the minute I first took her for a spin, was the very modern run around punched above its weight on looks, equipment & costs, which took me by surprise. With benefits including cheap running costs, free parking in designated areas, and looks that rival any Cleo or Fiesta to name a few, you would be mad not to consider an Electric Vehicle when the time comes.

On balance, I will always love the thump of a V-twin, but if owning an Electric Vehicle helps me do my part for the environment, keeps my costs low to keep me in the saddle, then I will choose electric every time. I would do your research on Electric Vehicles; trust me there are some fantastic deals out there already and you could be part of a revolution that shapes the way motoring will ultimately go. Check out FuelIncluded.com also for the latest advice and steer on your new love affair.

Submitted by Jay Little – Fuel Included customer

BMW i3 interior: Lodge interior world with standard Eucalyptus trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)

Choosing the Interior for Your BMW i3

When ordering a new BMW i3 it’s important not just that you get the right exterior paint colour but that you get an interior that complements it and that you’re happy with.

BMW i3 in Fluid Black (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 in Fluid Black (Image: BMW.co.uk)

Prices for i3 on PCP

Prices for i3 on Business Lease

To be honest BMW don’t make interior selection easy in the sense that you might expect to be able to just choose a fabric and a colour. Instead there is a standard interior plus three optional (i.e. extra cost) interior arrangements; BMW refer to these interiors as ‘worlds’.

 

These worlds have a choice of trims (essentially the dashboard inlay material):

  • Andesit Silver matt (Atelier only)
  • Dark Andesit matt (Loft only)
  • Eucalyptus matt (any world but Atelier)
  • Oak dark matt (any world but Atelier)

 

The four ‘worlds’ are as follows:

  • Atelier (standard) interior world: Neutronic cloth with Andesit Silver trim
  • Lodge interior world: Solaric climate active wool/leather, standard trim is Eucalyptus
  • Loft interior world: Electronic cloth/Sensatec artificial leather, standard trim is Dark Andesit
  • Suite interior world: Stellaric natural leather, standard trim is Oak

 

There are therefore a total of 8 different world/trim options; these are illustrated below (click to enlarge).

BMW i3 interior: Atelier interior world with Andesit Silver trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Atelier interior world with Andesit Silver trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Lodge interior world with standard Eucalyptus trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Lodge interior world with standard Eucalyptus trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Lodge interior world with optional Oak trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Lodge interior world with optional Oak trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Loft interior world with standard Dark Andesit trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Loft interior world with standard Dark Andesit trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Loft interior world with optional Eucalyptus trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Loft interior world with optional Eucalyptus trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Loft interior world with optional Oak trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Loft interior world with optional Oak trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Suite interior world with standard Oak trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Suite interior world with standard Oak trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Suite interior world with optional Eucalyptus trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
BMW i3 interior: Suite interior world with optional Eucalyptus trim (Image: BMW.co.uk)
The Ioniq will first be available as a hybrid and EV, with a PHEV coming later

My IONIQ Test Drive

Together with my wife I set off to our local Hyundai dealer in Hendon for a test drive of the all-electric IONIQ Premium.

We are currently Leaf drivers and thinking of upgrading to the 30 kWh version. However, given the very positive range reports being given for the IONIQ, it made sense to try it as a possible alternative.

The Ioniq will first be available as a hybrid and EV, with a PHEV coming later
The IONIQ electric car

It was a booked test drive so we were disappointed to be kept waiting an extra 30 minutes, but eventually we got to go on the road.

My wife had her turn first, and took a few minutes to run over the controls and get everything set up. Our host took us on a route through rather slow, congested roads, so there was little chance to swoop on the open road. However, my wife enjoyed adjusting the regenerative braking to different levels and feeling the effect, as well as switching between the ECO, NORMAL and SPORT modes of drive. What she didn’t like was the bar across the back window where the spoiler is placed. Apparently, this is a major contributor to a low drag coefficient, but because they add glass below the spoiler, it does look a bit odd from the inside. I didn’t mind it myself.

After a few miles we swapped over and I enjoyed the feel of the sporty steering wheel. The layout of the controls was good and intuitive; I certainly preferred the steering wheel paddles for adjusting the regenerative levels, against the rather tiresome central lever in the Leaf. Eventually we came to a spot of more open road, and I was pleased at the sporty feel of the car to the throttle, even with 3 adults inside. As ever, the instantaneous response of an electric drive was satisfying (petrol automatics always have an annoying lag). We also saw some of the advanced driver support features such as accidental lane change warnings and car follow.

And of course, it has all the usual features of satnav, timers to pre-heat the car in the morning, and a good stereo. Unusually it doesn’t have an app to allow you to trigger pre-heat from your phone.

At the end of it our conclusions were:

  • Pros: sporty feel, apparently excellent range, nice roomy hatchback, advanced driver support features.
  • Cons: a slightly ordinary look externally, split glass on the back window, no app available for remote pre-heat.

So, a very impressive car. Left to me we would get the IONIQ, but my wife is a big Leaf fan. Watch this space. I’ll let you know what we choose eventually.

Charging my Renault ZOE in Milton Keynes (Image: J. Pegram-Mills)

How an electric car can work without a home charge point

Enthused by the technology and the idea of being an everyday Eco Warrior, I traded petrol for electric and became part of the EV revolution – despite not being able to charge my car at home! Yes that’s right … I charge my car publicly all the time!

The fact I don’t have an electric charge point installed at home seems to surprise a lot people I talk to about my EV (Electric Vehicle). In most cases it seems they wouldn’t even consider an EV if they couldn’t charge it up at home. I must admit if I were doing long journeys each day I think I would struggle a bit – but I’m not. My Renault Zoe is my ‘run around’ (albeit a High Tech run around). It gets me from A to B and serves exceptionally well as a city car, certainly in Milton Keynes which is a major hub for EV owners.

Charging my Renault ZOE in Milton Keynes (Image: J. Pegram-Mills)
Charging my Renault ZOE in Milton Keynes (Image: J. Pegram-Mills)

When deciding to go electric I found out I couldn’t have a charge point installed at my home but rather than give up on the idea I started to look into other charging options, there were plenty! And all of these options made me realise it wasn’t actually a necessity and would still be much cheaper than running a petrol car. Fifteen months on I love my Renault Zoe and I do only charge publicly; Charging has become almost second nature when parking my car – it’s simply an additional thing to do like paying for a parking ticket. In fact I do it instead of paying for a parking ticket because electric car parking is free. As a result the cost of charging is actually less than the cost of parking.

So, If you want to go electric but can’t get a charge point installed at home, don’t be deterred – do some research (and FuelIncluded.com helped with this)….

* How often are you likely going to charge your car each week? Look at the real-world mileage range of the EV you are considering against how many miles you travel each week.

* Where is your nearest charge point to Home or Work, and what are the parking and charging terms?

* Check if there are charge points in the areas you regularly visit.

* Find out where your nearest Free charge points are – The Holy Grail!!

* Where are your closest ‘Rapid’ Charge points – these can be a bit more pricey but always great to use as a fall back if you need a full charge fairly quickly.

What’s important is you make charging your EV fit around your lifestyle, rather than make it a chore. Once you familiarize yourself with the Electric Charging Network available to you, public charging can actually work in your favour and you may be surprised to learn of additional perks and cost savings in doing so.

Jo Pegram-Mills