Many people have driven electric cars--just not full-size ones.
Electric-car advocates may be pulling out all the stops to get "butts in seats," but slot cars have entertained children for decades.
Now French carmaker Renault is trying to recapture a bit of that youthful magic with a new ad.
A new video shows two Renault Zoe electric cars racing on a life-size slot-car track in Central London, controlled remotely through smartphones by two drivers in a helicopter.
It's quite an operation: workers are shown building the 570 sections of Scalextric track that supposedly make up the 1.9-mile course, and fitting the cars with special devices that allow them to follow the grooves in the track.
2013 Renault Zoe electric car (European model) at 2012 Paris Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
The power comes from the cars' battery packs, naturally.
The result is an entertaining race that fatures the cars screeching around tight corners and nearly colliding at an "X"-shaped crossover, the seemingly obligatory feature of every slot-car track.
However, Renault did it with more than just electric cars and smartphones.
As Transport Evolved notes, the race happened with the help of CGI. It's less obvious in some scenes than others, but look closely and it's apparent that Renault tried to pull off Hollywood-style stunts without a Hollywood set budget.
In reality, the sections of track shown in the film probably wouldn't support a car, and the smartphones-cum-remote controls would probably suffer from too much lag, making all of that close racing impossible.
Renault acknowledged this in the press release that accompanied the video, saying "all is not quite as it may seem."
Still, the ad is a fun (and seasonally-appropriate) way to promote Renault's electric hatchback.
After all, no one said electric cars couldn't be fun, as well as efficient.