ZOE Test Drive – 3: Driver’s Controls

ZOE Display with Selector Button, left-hand drive version (Image: TheRegister)
ZOE Display with Selector Button, left-hand drive version (Image: TheRegister)

[Part 2 is here]

During the test drive I had a chance for the first time to try out some of the driver’s controls. First of all there is a display selector, just to the left of the main dashboard TFT display screen. This cycles between three different forms of display – as I recall one that’s primarily a numeric display of speed, energy consumption, mileage and so on; one that’s like a speedometer dial going up and down as electricity is used or generated, and one that has a more artistic display showing lines of energy moving to the right, from battery to car, when accelerating or moving to the left, from car to battery, when regenerative braking.

ZOE Display, ‘speedometer’ version (Image: MyElifeNow)
ZOE Display, ‘speedometer’ version (Image: MyElifeNow)

Next I tried out the cruise control. I believe this is initiated by the button to the left of the gear lever (it was actually done by the salesman) but then I was able to operate it using buttons on the steering wheel. When switched on the vehicle will accelerate or decelerate to the currently set speed; this speed is shown top centre on the driver’s display. The set speed can be adjusted up and down by a centre-biased switch on the left side of the steering wheel – pushing the top half of the switch (marked ‘+’) increases the set speed and pushing the bottom half (marked ‘–’) decreases the set speed.

Cruise control buttons on steering wheel (Image: T. Larkum)
Cruise control buttons on steering wheel (Image: T. Larkum)

The cruise control was certainly a novelty to me, perhaps because I’ve never driven a car before that had it. It was mildly disconcerting having it speed up or slow down apparently under its own control, though I can certainly see the attraction and use of such a system, particularly on the motorway. Pressing the accelerator or brake disabled it.

The cruise control can be engaged or disengaged by pressing the centre-biased switch on the right side of the steering wheel – pushing the bottom half of the switch (marked ‘O’) turns it off and pressing the top half (marked ‘R’) re-engages it.

The other button on the right of the steering wheel is to turn on voice-activated commands. I didn’t get a chance to experiment with it beyond pressing it and having the R-Link respond ‘Say voice command’ or something similar.

I certainly had the impression from my test drive that the ZOE is loaded with technology and clever controls, and look forward to experimenting with mine when it arrives.