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