I have written in the past about how we are making changes at home to be more eco friendly. How we try to recycle as much as possible, take an interest in the environment and teach the kids that this is their planet now and we need to look after it. Studies out right now show that this will not always be the case if we carry on living the way we do.
We were contacted to work alongside the Go Ultra Low NE programme which has been designed to raise awareness of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) in the North East. The aim is to help people understand the benefits, cost savings and capabilities of a wide range of electric vehicles on the market, which only leaves the question of #WhyNot make the switch?
Thanks to Lookers Group on Benfield Road, Newcastle, we were loaned the Renault Zoe to test drive over the weekend to see just how easy going ultra low would be. When we arrived at the garage it was already on charge and looked pretty sleek from the outset. With clear lines and hidden door handles it does have a little futuristic look to it.
The battery was topped up at 165 miles and we were told it would take a good 8 hours to recharge but knowing we were not going too far at all this wasn’t an issue and hoped that it was true to the readings, I would hate to think we struggled to find a charging point in the middle of town!
I think we were all pleasantly surprised at how smooth the ride was and just how quiet! The kids didn’t have to shout to be heard and we had the radio on yet could still hear conversations etc, the thud of the road in a diesel car drowns out most of the things we say! Stuart was rather taken with the dash board, the markings were crystal clear and you could switch to eco mode at the flick of a button. However, Eco mode was great for driving around the city but not on the motorway which we found out! Also, there is the fact that the car is so quiet which did prove a little difficult for people noticing we were behind them in car parks etc.
With it being Evie’s birthday weekend we had made the plan to stop off at the Arnison centre for her to choose and pick up her presents. Sainsburys have a great car parking spot for electric cars with a charging point which we made the most of. The whole process was simple, after downloading the Pod-Point app we were directed to the nearest charging point and told to scan the card we were given, the cable from the front of the car to the power point was then plugged in – that was it, simple!
We popped to the shops and to McDonald’s for lunch and could spend that little bit more, not having to worry about the cost of petrol for the day. It really was liberating in a way and knowing we would come back to the car still plugged in and charging was quite the novelty, even more so to passers-by who were looking and commenting.
Having bought a mountain of shopping and a giant number 9 balloon we hadn’t even considered the boot space but were really pleased to find that there was more than enough space for everything and some left over! I can imagine it being able to fit a double buggy or wheelchair very comfortably. The Zoe is a great family car and even with 2 car seats in the back there was still ample space for a third seat in the middle. All too often we have fights over being squashed but not once did that happen all weekend.
Overall, we spent most of the day in the car and I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable rides I have ever had. The whole experience was a delight and this is most definitely the way forward for me. There were just so many reasons why this works and looking at the big picture, taking care of the future, ultra-low emission vehicles should be championed across both the North East and the UK as a whole.
We were compensated for our time with this project, all views and opinions are my own and genuine.