Virginia Barton

23 August 2015: It’s all go


23 August 2015


Always game to try out a new gizmo, a trip in an electric car was irresistible. My American coz belongs to a club in her neighbourhood that has access to two of these, and she offered to take me for a spin. We opted for the scenic route to a rustic eatery beside the canal, only a few miles from the city centre.

It could have been a Twizy or a Twingo but the car was a Renault 4 seater called Zoe: sort of white and round and car-shaped. It boasted a range of about 70 miles in the suburbs, and if you had such a thing as a “home wall box charger” it would take only 3-4 hours to fill, sorry, charge it. We picked it up in a public car park which was where it was docked. Everything worked by smart card or pin number (love that!) and after stowing our stuff away we set off. Slowly.


Zoe is 100% electric and 100% va va voom! says the blurb. Well, Jeremy Clarkson can demonstrate the vvv; we were rather more cautious as we crept out of the car park and headed for The Bargee’s Buttery. It didn’t take long for rather a long queue to line up behind us, not actually tooting, but definitely restive. By dint of turning off among the byways, we threw off the petrolheads. Out among the fields you could really hear how silent the car was — if you see what I mean.

Actually it was at it’s best in traffic where the 30mph speed limit is observed, for shopping, or for taking Gran to the doctor. I have not been allowed to drive since ’91 (no I did NOT fast forward over a policeman’s foot) but if anything could tempt me back on the road it’s Zoe; though nowadays it’s more likely to be a Vienna Shoprider.

Apart from the obvious drawback of remembering to keep the vehicle charged, it’s lightness – almost flimsiness — bothered me. How would it stand up to the effects of a prang with a Merc? The publicity was reassuring:

Stay Zen even in tough motoring conditions! … airbags protect from impact and submarining (??) … Zoe is born for motion having a sculpted shape, long wheel base, and raised belt line!

Sold to the old girl with the raised belt line.


Here’s a lovely joke someone sent me, not about cars:

A line of children were queuing up for lunch. At the head of the table was a basket of apples with a note attached:

“Take only one. God is watching.”

At the other end of the table was a basket of cupcakes with a note attached:

“Take as many as you like, God is watching the apples.”

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