Auto Express

Is driving an electric car really child’s play?


When Peugeot calling for young drivers ready to challenge their grown-ups to a driving competition, I’m pretty sure my 10 year old son wouldn’t measure up.

It’s not that he lacks the courage, the determination or the desire to let his poor old father appear in public, but the criterion of the minimum height of 150cm seems difficult. Adding a felt border on the kitchen door, however, proves we’re close enough as long as he skips a haircut, leaving only the slight barrier that he hasn’t driven a car yet. Boy clearly won’t stand a chance when it comes to the ‘challenging the grown-ups’ part of Peugeot’s plan, I reasoned, so I totally agree we’ll do it.

Market research is why Peugeot wants to unleash potential turmoil at the Bedford Autodrome. While many motorists are clearly eager to dive headfirst into electric motorcycles, research shows that a cohort of less gung-ho people remains wary of switching from petrol or diesel cars to new electric car. Specifically, they worry that driving a battery-powered car might be complicated or confusing, at least next to models they’ve used for years. This activity is Peugeot’s chance to prove that driving an electric car is a piece of cake – wait for it – even a child can do it.

It was hard to keep the excitement under control of the early Sunday morning slogans that stretched from Sussex to Bedford, where a small but dedicated team of Peugeot had set up camp. Immediately after arriving, as my son jumped up and down in frenzied excitement on the runway next to a bright yellow Peugeot e-208 – an emotional state that can be amplified by the Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles tube consumed in one gulp since we stopped refueling – I can’t help but wonder if someone might be making a terrible mistake .

At least I didn’t misread the tape measure, though, because a test ride on the e-208 proved it to be an ideal fit for the vertically challenged. Not only is there a youthful foot within easy reach of the pedals, but Peugeot’s trademark i-Cockpit setup combines the tools you see through – instead of through – with an unusually compact steering wheel, also seems ideal for small people. With the driver’s seat set to the highest setting, my boy could even see out of the windshield. I left him in the hands of Peugeot’s tour guide with the usual trepidation, and set off to buy a well-deserved croissant.

The Peugeot e-208 happens to be one of Auto Express’ top three cars small electric car, and the first part of the driver’s training is a chance for all kids in the challenge to grasp its specs. We called the e-208 cute in our reviews, but with its aggressive chiseled headlights and pointed nose, black-trimmed wheels, and rear spoiler, our car looked good. very nicely. The cabin also has an appealing sporty atmosphere and once you’re behind the wheel, the appealing i-Cockpit 3D with its hologram engine package gives the car a modern, technological feel.

The first step in the children’s brief training program is a 15-minute guided tour around the vehicle, which includes a look at the electromechanical bits under the bonnet and an explanation of what’s going on. charging process, both of which are up to 10 years easier to explain than comparable internal combustion engines. Moving inward, the manual switches to a simple push-button start and an ‘automatic transmission’ selector functions forward and reverse, along with an additional position for maximum regenerative braking. On the dashboard section there are also instructions showing how efficiently the vehicle is being driven, with an instant result showing your kilometers per kilowatt-hour. This is going to be important information in the coming ordeal, which is probably why no one bothers to tell the grown-ups.

All the kids seem to learn the theory easily, but how can they continue with the actual driving? Mine hasn’t even worked with the gas or brake pedals, unless you count a few that took part in the old Sega Rally in our local arcade. On the track there are collision barriers, and he will direct this – hello! Only an instructor with dual control brake pedals and divine providence could stand the risk of a possible disaster, I feel certain, especially as I witness the footage. My son’s first caution from the ‘pit’ onto the track, and the massive hashes he generated. his first corner. If he continues like this, victory for his father seems assured.

Do you believe? Twenty minutes later, I’m watching the guy speeding around the circuit at 50-60mph with enough confidence to wink at me a cheeky grin and a wave as he darted past. The article has been hung on the wall.

Of course, it legitimately happened that the actual challenge would have nothing to do with the heroic wheel battles at high speed on the track, and all to do with driving to achieve effective. And so, without fully appreciating the nature of the task, only halfway through it, I realized the key to success involved keeping an eye on the aforementioned “performance metric.”

If you’re one of those drivers who remains wary of plugging into an EV future, you may not have heard of mileage per kWh. It’s a concept as simple as “miles per gallon”, and just as important if you’re looking tram cheap to run, because it reveals how an EV carefully sips the charge from its battery. Thanks to societal concerns about “range anxiety,” you will rarely see mi/kWh quoted anywhere in new car brochures, usually about how many hundred miles can you drive between charges. That usually has more to do with the size of the battery you’re buying, than how efficient your new car is.

Maybe the automakers don’t think ‘mature’ consumers can grasp the concept, but every electric car I can think of has a mi/kWh display across the board. controls – just as you might expect to see immediate mpg fuel economy notifications when running on petrol or diesel vehicles.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the number one son duly completed a pair of Bedford Autodrome laps with his eyes fixed on the performance measurements, making the best use of regenerative braking to scored an impressive 5.2mi/kWh. What about dad? Suffice it to say, by the time I realized that no one would ever be impressed by my perfectly manicured apps, the game was on. I jerked the automatic transmission back into recovery mode for my second and final lap, but crossing the line with the meter showing 4.8mi/kWh means only one thing: victory to the race. challenger and proof, if any, that EV driving is a piece of cake that even a 10-year-old can do. Dammit.

Click here to see our list of the best electric cars on sale right now



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