Miles ZX40s Test Drive
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Miles ZX40s Test Drive
By Noel Adams
December 2, 2007
One NEV that I have really wanted to test drive for quite some time has been the Miles ZX40s. I have seen static displays of this vehicle on several occasions but have never had a chance to drive the car. At EVS 23 Miles were conducting test drives and the line was really quite short.
I got in the car and Aggie hopped in the back seat. The car was already on so I took off the brake set the car in Forward and with a press of the accelerator I was gliding silently towards the test route.
Seating was quite comfortable for the drive and Aggie seemed to have plenty of room in the back. The ZX40s will be quite comfortable for a family of four to ride around town.
The first thing I noticed when I pressed the brake pedal as I approached the exit that would take me out onto the street. The brake pedal seemed very soft and at first I thought that there was a brake problem with the car but it turned out that the car has power brakes. It took a few presses of the brake pedal to get used to the feel but the car stopped well. I didn't get the feeling I wasn't going to stop like I have on some NEVs without power brakes.
Power assist doesn't extend to the steering system so steering felt a little heavy but the vehicle is relatively light so I never felt like I really had to work hard at steering the car. The ride was better than I have experienced on other NEVs although Aggie felt the ride in the back was a little too bumpy for her taste. There was also no rattles with this car, another plus over the traditional golf cart based NEV.
The car accelerated briskly up to 25mph and then stopped accelerating and cruised along at that speed. The car felt like it still had lots of power remaining. I asked about that and it appears the car is quite capable of around 40mph but is being electronically limited to 25mph. Unlike the Zenn that needs to have the motor upgraded to go faster than 25mph, the ZX40s only needs to have the controller reprogrammed to get a faster top speed in those states that allow Medium Speed Vehicles. Miles cannot legally do that but the local dealer can.
When I came up to the stop sign I let of the accelerator to see how much the regen brakes stopped the car. Regen is not as hard as you find in the eBox or Phoenix SUT, more like I expect in the Prius. The result was that I overshot the stop sign with the front wheels by about three feet. This isn't any reflection on the Miles which performed as expected, I just expected too much from the regen brakes. It wouldn't take long to get used to the specifics of this vehicle.
Soon I was back at the ride and drive area. The area was quite busy but there was nobody waiting to drive the Miles they asked me to pull it forward and back it into the space so it was perpendicular to the curb. I pulled the car forward, pushed the little button that put the car into reverse, and backed the car up to the curb. Rearward Visibility was ok but not stellar, although no worse than most cars I have driven.
I went away being a lot more impressed by the Miles than I had been previously. While it might not look as good as the Zenn on the inside it performed really well. This car looks so much like a regular car that I think there might be problems with a top speed of only 25mph that you wouldn't get in a golf cart style NEV. In states that have enacted medium speed vehicle legislation though I think that the Miles ZX40s would be the car of choice.