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Electric Vehicle Challenge: Audi E Tron and Renault Zoe

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Would I like to borrow two cars for a couple of weeks? Er yes! We share a car in our house, a very practical estate car, great for holiday, kids and greyhound friendly, and it is more often in Mr A’s hands than mine. So I was really excited about the idea of road testing some cars. More importantly to me, the one who pushes for the greenest car options, Go Ultra Low and Netmums explained this was an electric vehicle challenge: the Renault Zoe, is completely electric, and the Audi e tron is a hybrid.

We used to have a Toyota Prius (until we got a caravan – busting my Top Gear credentials in the second paragraph there!) I love hybrid cars – quiet, green and so smooth. Go Ultra Low set me two challenges, ‘rag the Audi etron and prove it is as sporty as a petrol car‘ (my interpretation), and ‘find as many charge points locally as possible in an hour in the Renault Zoe‘.

Electric Vehicle Challenge

Both cars were delivered with chargers which plug into the mains, this is a pretty slow way to charge, so most electric car owners will have a faster charge point fitted on their driveway at home. I liked the idea it was just a case of plugging in, as you would your mobile phone, to recharge – it could easily become habit. Then I was given my challenges…

The Performance Challenge – Audi e tron

After a great drive through the Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire countryside in the e tron, I found myself at Rockingham race track, in the hands of Advanced Driver Andy who was willing to put me and the car through his expert paces. Andy insisted on taking me out in his drifter first, just in case the Audi didn’t thrill me enough…he needn’t have worried, more on that in a moment.

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Lots of arty angles on the car, the sun setting was a gorgeous backdrop to this stunning car.

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Here’s what happened.

 

Andy certainly proved this car can move, fast, very fast, so much so I had motion sickness for a whole day afterwards. Under normal driving conditions however, I felt absolutely great in this car. It responds brilliantly, the controls are really intuitive, driving it was very instinctive. In fact when I got back in our car, for weeks I was still trying to drive the Audi, and putting our car in park, instead of putting on the windscreen wipers. I think Audis are really logical.

Most of all, it is great fun to drive. And now I have done the technical stuff, can I also say it is my favourite colour? The Audi etron and I were meant to be.

 

The Charge Point Challenge: Renault Zoe

Next it was time to get to grips with charging on the go.

I admit I was pleasantly surprised by the Zoe, it wasn’t just ‘nippy’ it was pretty powerful – so much so that the crew had to tell me to slow down quite a few times when they were trying to film me driving it. It is a small car, but the seats back and front are roomy and it looks like a 3 door, but it’s actually 5 – sleek design work. A minor niggle, it made some slightly space-age noises when driving and indicating, which I found disconcerting, but with more time to sort the stereo out, these would soon fade into the background.

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The dare devil crew spent lots of time out the sunroof of the electric car they were testing, trying to get these shots. You can see them here in the mirror.

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This car is fully electric, you can charge it at home, or on the go. As a family we took the Renault around Nottingham, trying to find charge points. Here is how we got on:

 

 

The challenge showed me there is an electric car for everyone. If we had a second car, I think it would be mainly used for local running around, a car with the Renault Zoe’s charge range would be great for that, (although boot space for our rather large greyhound is another consideration). It is smooth, powerful for a small, electric car and deceptively spacious. When it came to charge points, I was surprised to find they were all there, they all worked and none had a queue.

Have you ever driven an electric car, would you consider one? Between the film crew, me, My Two Mums and Caro at The Twinkle Diaries we road tested 7 cars – you can find out about all the different models via this Go Ultra Low #EVChallenge playlist.

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23 Comments

  • Reply Louise

    This looks like a lovely nippy number! I have never driven an electric car but am tempted by them for the environmental factors though would be concerned about charging them as I am always forgetting to fill up with petrol! I guess you get into the swing of it and find your local charging points. xxx

    29/01/2016 at 3:01 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      You can charge them at home each night, rather than using charge points, just like plugging in your mobile phone, I could see how it becomes habit.

      30/01/2016 at 8:14 am
  • Reply Carole at Healthier Mummy

    Oh wow, this looks fun. I especially like the sound of the Audi. I laughed when you said you had motion sickness for a day after driving it around the race track – I’d be the same!

    29/01/2016 at 9:43 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      It was such a great car!

      30/01/2016 at 8:13 am
  • Reply Kara

    I think as a larger family that an electric car wouldn’t be big enough, plus we don’t have a driveway to install a charge point. I much prefer the sound of the audi and would love to test it around that race track. Sounds like you had a fabulous experience even if motion sickness kicked in

    30/01/2016 at 7:51 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      The film crew had a much bigger e car than us, a 4×4 style car, but I am not sure what options there are for people carrier style vehicles.

      30/01/2016 at 8:11 am
  • Reply Kizzy

    I’m very interested in electric cars, if we had a bit more in our budget I would definitely be looking into one for our next car. Glad you had fun!

    30/01/2016 at 8:05 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      Let’s hope they come down in price over time. We leased the Prius years ago, we haven’t owned a car for a while now.

      30/01/2016 at 8:12 am
  • Reply Donna

    What a fun experience! I’m a big fan of e-cars. We seriously considered the Mitsubishi Outlander recently and it was only just popped to the post by something else. I think there are lots of pluses to them and I agree, charging them overnight would soon become second nature.

    30/01/2016 at 8:32 am
  • Reply Ness

    My only concern about the electric cars is the amount of time they take to charge. The local Asda has a charge point but it also has a time restriction on how long you can park there!

    30/01/2016 at 9:46 am
  • Reply JuggleMum, Nadine Hill

    I have driven an electric car before – a Vauxhall Ampera and also a Toyota Prius+. Both were so quiet and nippy to operate!

    30/01/2016 at 9:57 am
  • Reply Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com

    I would definitely switch to an electric car. We live in central London, so it would be easy to find charge points, and a lot of my driving is making short trips – this kind of car would be so much more economical than the one we have. Having said that, my friend lives in the depths of Wales, and has installed a charge point at her home. She’s not the stereotypical electric car driver, but even she finds it saves an awful lot of money.

    31/01/2016 at 8:12 pm
  • Reply Lucy Dorrington

    These really appeal to me, I hope they become more mainstream in the future.

    31/01/2016 at 9:22 pm
  • Reply Stephs Two Girls

    We are an Audi family here, love them so I’m going to share this with hubby and it might inspire him to get a new one! Like most people, think I’d worry most about finding a charge point but sounds like that is covered now! x

    31/01/2016 at 9:57 pm
  • Reply oana79

    I keep seeing these electric charging stations popping up everywhere, I do think the future will bring more and more of these cars into reality.xx

    01/02/2016 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply John Rawlings

    We love electric cars and highly recommended them. I have had a Nissan Leaf for 11 months now an done nearly 7000 miles. We love it and fined electric motoring really works for us (we also have a big family car for holidays and longer trips). It’s so convenient to be able to charge it at home every night – and use the timer on the heater to pre-warm the car in the morning

    01/02/2016 at 1:37 pm
  • Reply Liz Burton

    We have a hybrid, in fact a Prius the same as you used to have and the only downside is we can’t get a caravan with it! Oh and we often nearly in people over on country lanes because it’s so quite they can’t hear us coming!

    Nervous about going fully electric though until charging stations become a little more mainstream.

    01/02/2016 at 3:29 pm
  • Reply Catherine

    Really interesting – I knew pretty much nothing about electric cars and having read this I realise I definitely had lots of inaccurate preconceptions. I love the environmental benefits but thought there’d be more compromise on performance. Having given up my little sporty car when our eldest came along, and driven an MPV for years, I’m very much liking the look of that Audi… and I’d love a go on the track with it!

    02/02/2016 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Jen

    We considered an electric car as a second car, but they were out of our price range. I tend to stick to lots of local journeys and one would be idea for me

    02/02/2016 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply Mary Louise

    Looks like you had a great time and sounds like you know your cars too! I love the Audi for appearance.
    I have never driven an electrical car but my Husband has been looking into it. I can imagine he would have fun charging it on the driveway in the evenings. They were very pricey though.
    Great videos and review x

    02/02/2016 at 10:00 pm
  • Reply Lucy Zelazowski

    I wonder if these are really going to take off, electric cars I mean. I have 2 charging points 5 minutes away from my house. I have never seen them being used. I walk pass them everyday.
    Shame as both cars look great. Zoe, I wouldn’t mind having a go myself, nippy and powerful are perfect for me. I hope they that off in a good way, are not damaging the atmosphere.

    02/02/2016 at 10:19 pm
  • Reply Mark Wright

    I guess the progress is unstoppable. It’s funny now how I used to think electric cars belong in science-fiction. Until very recently.

    23/02/2016 at 10:11 am
  • Reply Autozik

    Thanks for your post, Penny! I love both of these car – Audi E Tron and Renault Zoe because not only their features but also their designs.

    28/03/2016 at 3:44 am
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