New vehicle type-approval to allow 28mph Twizy to be driven by 16 year olds without a licence

Renault is likely to introduce a 28mph-max Twizy 45 to the UK in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new light-vehicle category that will allow it to be driven by 16 year olds without a driving licence.

Andy Heiron, head of EV programme at Renault UK, said the new type-approval category would start from January 2013. It will include quadricycles with a limited 28mph top speed, weighing less than 350kg unladen. According to Heiron, “there are still details to be finalised by the government, and there will be a basic practical and theory test involved.”

One issue could be insurance. Heiron said, according to initial enquiries drivers under 18 “could be faced with premiums of up to £4000” though that figure drops dramatically with age.

The Twizy 45 will cost around £6200 if it goes on sale in the UK.

Renault remains tight-lipped about predicted sales figures for any of its electric cars, but Heiron did confess that “sales of the Nissan Leaf show that there is currently a fundamental problem with electric car sales. It may have 60 per cent of the pure-electric market, but that’s only 1000-odd cars in the UK. Nissan have also been talking to us about battery hire as a way of reducing the purchase cost.”

Our Verdict

The Renault Twizy is surprisingly good fun with an endearing character, even though it has obvious flaws

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