I’m currently sitting on a frozen lake, inside a giant tent heated by a wood fire. After two flights, via Stockholm, we’ve flown into Kiruna in the far north of Sweden, close to the Arctic circle.
Tomorrow is the last day of cold weather testing for Renault’s all-electric Zoe supermini and the French company invited us along to get a taste for the car before they pack up and head back to their HQ.
As we sit here in -5c conditions, another team of Zoe engineers are finishing up the hot weather testing in southern Spain. Production of the Zoe is just winding up ahead of the car going on sale in October. We’ll be here for the rest of today and tomorrow morning and, as yet, I’ve just had a quick passenger ride in the test car.
Seeing it out here under the blue skies reveals what an attractive car the Zoe is in the metal. It’s a neat and handy size, small but big enough inside, with excellent high-back front seats. The interior styling is in that self-consciously ‘sci-fi’ style that all 40-something designers absorbed as children by watching Gerry Anderson’s Space 1999.
The Renault test driver flung the car around on deep snow, demonstrating just how clever today’s ESP systems are today, as the individual wheels are braked with great speed and sensitivity to put a completely wayward car back on the straight and narrow.