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.

Home Forums ZOE Test Drive – 3: Driver’s Controls

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  PerLyngemark 4 years, 6 months ago.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #2985

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    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 th
    [See the full post at: ZOE Test Drive – 3: Driver’s Controls]

    #2994

    Nosig
    Participant

    I really love cruise control, use it almost continuously, even in town except when busy (it won’t work under 40 km/h or so). But I think the operation is slightly different than how you think it does. Pressing the accelerator most probably (on the Renault I had, on my Prius and on any other car with cc I drove) does not disengage it, but will just accelerate it from the set speed. However when releasing the throttle, it will slow down but pick up the set speed again when reached. So it can be handy to help out when you want to pass a vehicle a bit quicker (or to keep the momentum downhill for efficiency), after which you can just release the throttle and relax again.

    The master switch of the cruise control is indeed on the center pedestal, you can also select to let it function as a speed limiter. When a speed is set (with the same wheel buttons) the accelerator will harden when reaching the speed to give you a hint. Don’t think I’ll ever use that as it is just as simple and more comfy to just use the cruise control.

    #2996

    PerLyngemark
    Participant

    Did you find the button(s) for the ZE-Voice?

    I also tried to flip over the backseats since the salesperson said it would be completely flat, but the backseat cushion was interfering so it became a 30degrees angle. Anyone knows if you can remove the cushions easily and thus make the backseat aligned flat? It seemed possible, but I didn’t want to ruin 25% of all the ZOE cars in Scandinavia by trying too hard, lol.

    I also found big differences in the ECO button on/off, but didn’t correlate this to the power consumption. Once I get the car I will try to drive the same distance over and over again in different styles to figure out power consumption and driving techniques… The ZOE driving technique should be different from other EVs since the re-generative braking is so powerful.
    For instance what is the ideal speed to drive? How much more power is consumed at 100kmph than 50kmph?

    #2997

    Nosig
    Participant

    You can turn off “the voice” with the button next to the charge port button, but changing voices is probably done in the menu somewhere (I just turn it off).

    The backseat only folds down to about 30 degrees from horizontal as far as I know.

    The ECO mode, as far as I experienced, makes the accelerator pedal a bit harder (but you can still reach peak power if you floor it, that’s just harder) and it makes the regen a bit stronger (which I like). I also believe it makes the airco work less hard, but I have to look that up.

    Concerning power consumption, With an EV it’s important / handy to know a bit technical background. But the easiest thing to remember is that slower is better. That doesn’t mean city driving is always better for range, since accelerating (stop and go) does ask extra energy as well.

    Drag is a function of speed and actually increases with the square of the speed. In other words, twice as fast means FOUR times the drag.

    An ICE car has an efficiency of about 20 (gasoline) to 30 (diesel) percent. The rest of the fuel (80%!) is spent on making pointless heat, noise and vibrations. On top of that, depending on design, you have a very limited power RPM range, so you have to work with a gearbox design to keep the ideal speed for optimal combustion.

    An electric motor has an efficiency of about 90%. So pretty much all the energy is used just to propel the car.

    So if you go faster with an ICE car, the influence of air drag on fuel consumption will be much less noticeable since it will only impact the 20% that’s actually going into the motion of the car. If you go twice as fast with an EV, the fact that drag increases 4 times should mean you need about 4 times the power. It also means that the difference between going 110 or 100 (2100 more units) has a much bigger impact on kW consumption than going 60 instead of 50 (1100 more units), about twice as much is needed for that extra 10 km/h at 110.

    So going faster gives a much bigger penalty in an EV, but equally going slower gives a much bigger reward, compared to an ICE (which has a much more constant consumption, throwing most of the energy away anyway).

    Hope that will help you with getting your optimal range, hope others will correct me or fill in blanks if I made a wrong assumption.

    #2999

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    Nosig, thanks for the info on cruise control and power consumption – very interesting.

    #3012

    PerLyngemark
    Participant

    @nosig, that was a very interesting insight, thanks a lot!

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.