Renault ships a brickable car with battery DRM that you're not allowed own




ahh, the future.


Two things I like about copyright. Laws and DRM. The law didn't work, necessitating DRM... which doesn't work, necessitating a law to protect the DRM.

That doesn't work either.

It does however teach a healthy disrespect for laws.


I'm not sure it's automatically a bad thing that the battery is rented.

Consider a car-scale battery has a finite lifespan and should be recycled at the end of that lifespan. Not everyone might want to own a car battery and assume the responsibilities for doing the recycling themselves. If there's an ideological objection to renting hardware and not owning it, a full sale / depreciating buy-back option could achieve the same effect as a rental for people who care about the ideology.

I guess the DRM precludes you buying the car battery and using it for something different to powering a car. But that just means there's a market for large non-DRM rechargeable batteries as well as for car batteries.


Just what the world needed: a car you're not allowed to own, and which you can't use anymore if you lose your job and can't pay the monthly battery rental fee.

GM did it first with the EV-1. Yoo-Ess-Aay!

That said, I don't have too much of an issue with DRM on things I'm not allowed to own- just don't put DRM on it and tell me I own it.


I don't think there would be a DRM method to protect a battery. Best you can do is prevent the car from using oem batteries.

Like laptops do with generic batteries. It's just proprietary technology protected by DRM... to prevent knockoffs.

Maybe it's a razors and blades thing. Cheap car, expensive battery.


Sure there's a way to keep the car from using its own battery, if it's phoning home regularly via the cellular network. If you don't pay the battery bill, they shut it off by remote control. It's kind of like computer programs that phone home every time you use them, and stop working if you don't pay the support bill.

Thing is, with programs like that, you give up privacy and ownership rights because you REALLY want or need the program. Exactly what is this car offering that you can't get in some other car that doesn't keep its nose up in your business all the time?

Funny thing though - some folks just won't put up with that. That's why some people root and jailbreak their mobile phones, why some buy region-free DVD players.

Never underestimate the power of entrepreneurship. If this car catches on, I predict that someone will offer for sale a battery crack that lets you use the bricked battery that's in the car, and/or lets you replace it with a generic Chinese Lithium Iron Phosphate battery - which you'll also be able to buy on eBay. It will also neuter the car's ability to phone home - or, better yet, direct it to send bogus data back to the spooks.


I don't like the future. frowning


It seems more like buying a computer and then paying a monthly fee in order to turn it on.


Their UK website says £18,443.34, including taxes, for a Renault Zoe (29,576 in US dollars) : Another link tells me £13,995 ($22,442) : (I do not know why the quotes are different.)

The monthly battery rental apparently ranges from £70 ($112) for a 36-month contract with annual mileage up to 7500 miles to £113 ($181) for a 12-month contract with annual mileage up to 12,000 miles. (Excess mileage is charged at 4.5p per mile (inc. VAT).)


Cracked in 3... 2... 1...


Jailbreak the DRM, then an army of bozo lobbyists gets congress to pass a law making it the equivalent of felony car theft -- on a car that you own.


I think this is down to something called the plug-in car grant which gives 25% off.


Renault make electric cars, but hates electric cars, every model they release is a pain in the ass.


"The Problem – Smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles are powerful computers with lots of untapped potential. Yet many of these devices are set up to run only software that’s been approved by the manufacturer." - EFF

I'm sure someone then explained this by using an existing device we're more familiar with to illustrate the absurdity.

"Now imagine, if your car behaved the same way."

Hey! That's a great idea!


Just what I was thinking - sif even contemplate such a product until folks have hacked the shit out of it.

For instance, the only brand of camera I'm interested in is Canon.


Ladies and gentleman... the iCar.


I like not this future! Bring me another!


I need this like I need a hole in my head.


Depends how you look at it. Overall, if the firms / investors / shareholders are sucking undue amounts of money out of consumer pockets, it's nasty. That's not improbable, of course.

One financial angle is - you can securitise reliable cash flows, which could bring the cost of financing the firm down, which could (if they so chose) lead to price competition on the batteries and vehicles between different manufacturers.

I'd prefer an open system myself. All this DRMing and locking-in has historically proven to harm consumers and producers more than benefit.