Renault cars are introducing a concept that the entertainment industry has been using to prevent piracy. With the automobile manufacturer, however, it might work too well if you miss a payment.
Renault, the French car manufacturer, is using DRM in their Zoe model batteries now, and you should never fail to make a payment if you depend on it. What does this mean to those of us who don't speak technology?
It means that if your payments aren't current, Renault can shut down your battery and render your car unusable. This could lead to a whole new meaning for "excuse my French."
The Zoe model car comes sold without the battery, which is then rented out to Renault car owners in an effort to reduce the price of the car. This Zoe model is an electric car, and doesn't run on gasoline. Instead, you plug it into a designated station, at which point the battery could be switched off by remote and unable to charge.
Unlike with the media industry, which tries and fails to prevent piracy by trying to make their products impossible to replicate without certain bypass authority, Renault simply flips a switch. It is unknown at this point just how strict the payment schedule is, but according to a user entry on the German electric vehicle forum, Renault cars can simply be bricked like most month to month phone service providers can do with their devices.
There are some who claim that if the possibility exists, it will eventually happen. The DRM switch on these cars could be enhanced further to actually let a remote source control your car, much like smartphones do with some high-tech cars. in fact, the technology already exists for some smart cars to record everything you do, right down to your location at any given time.
While this is all well and good for police departments and credit reporting agencies, it could be a nightmare for a Zoe model owner who's finding it hard to get the bills paid because of car repairs. You could be on your way to work to pick up your paycheck, bring it to the bank, and make your payment the next morning, and suddenly your car stops dead because you couldn't recharge the battery.
Yes, with the Renault Zoe model, the French manufacturer could be that strict, and because you signed an agreement, they have every legal right to make your car useless.
With DRM entering the automobile market now, there is no telling how far auto manufacturers will go to enforce your regular payment. If you get a Zoe model, keep in mind that your Renault car could easily be turned off if you miss a payment on the battery.