Doesn’t promise what it can’t deliver — just simple urban transport that’s as fun as it looks

What is it?

Renault’s Twizy isn’t a type of vehicle I’ve driven before – or indeed any of us have driven before. It’s just over two metres long and one wide, has unassisted steering, skinny 125/80 R13 front tyres and 145/80s at the back. And it’s powered by batteries.

The nearest comparison is BMW’s C1 scooter-with-a-roof, but the Twizy has a steering wheel and foot-operated accelerator and brakes. Car drivers will feel at home. I’m strapped in by a combination of a conventional seatbelt and an additional diagonal belt from the other side of the vehicle. There are no doors on these prototypes, but the production cars will be available either with simple beams that open and close, or beams with lower panels to keep spray out.

What’s it like?

Top speed from the 20bhp electric motor is 50mph. That’s enough for a vehicle that’s likely to be used exclusively in towns, as is the claimed range of 60 miles. All-up weight, including batteries, is 450kg. Driven solo, the Twizy’s acceleration feels sprightly, and quicker to the senses than it probably is in physical terms, if only because of the open sides and the directness of all the controls.

The gung-ho Renault test driver we’re following flings his Twizy into the first corner. I do the same, preparing to lean to counteract any two-wheeling. Instead, there’s a fair bit of understeer; with 100kg of batteries under the driver’s backside and barely any weight higher than a couple of feet up, the Twizy swoops around corners.

The track we’re on is super-smooth but the unsprung weight should be low, so ride quality on more challenging surfaces is likely to be good. These really are prototypes with crude plastic panels not properly attached to the Twizy’s frame; there’s a bit of banging and crashing from them that should be gone by the time proper production parts are used.

Should I buy one?

Renault claims it has received four times more interest in the Twizy than it has in its conventional EVs. The beauty of the Twizy, apart from its sense of fun, is that it doesn’t try to be anything other than an urban runabout. There won’t be tales of Twizys running out of juice on motorways because no one will try to use one for over-ambitious journeys.

The Twizy isn’t the only electric car that I’ve enjoyed driving, but it’s the only one I could imagine owning. Just for the fun of it.

Renault Twizy

Price: £7000 plus £45pcm for battery lease; Top speed: 50mph; 0-62mph: na; Range: 60 miles; CO2: 0g/km (tailpipe); Kerb weight: 450kg; Engine: electric motor; Power: 20bhp; Torque: 42lb ft; Gearbox: none

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RadeB 2 May 2011

Re: Renault Twizy EV

Los Angeles wrote:

RadeB wrote:
I can't escape the feeling that its the opposite in fact!
As you know, normally I'd be agreeing with you on this score, the undemocratic nature of private corporations but ...

It was the car manufacturers who resisted EV introduction, and one even took to destroying its 100 experimental vehicles in California when the Bush administration accepted lobbying from the car giants EV's were not what the public wanted. I realise it's more sophisticated that I relate, but once Renault decided it wanted an independent image from its sister French companies, and governments started to offer subsidy, the rest swung into line.

Alternative solutions for ICE are necessity, they has to go, because the pollution they make and oil reserves that will be gone eventually.

Its just the kind of technology I'm wondering is best solution for the future.

And who and where that decision is making. And why?

That's why I'm craving for scientific, rational answers. Maybe the answer is EV, but from what I can apprehend, as a layman, I'm not convinced at all!

RadeB 2 May 2011

Re: Renault Twizy EV

Los Angeles wrote:
Governments responding to debate instruct private car corporations,

I can't escape the feeling that its the opposite in fact!

What do you think who have more power VAG,or Angela Merkel (for instance)? In a corporative capitalism, corporations are the real governments.

And the real debate would be among the scientific community. I would like to look into such debate!

[ States governed by scientists, ( philosophers)! Was that what Plato was talking about millenniums before? "Philosopher kings" as "those who love the sight of truth" !) ]

Los Angeles wrote:
Neither government nor car companies are forcing us to buy them.

No, not in a vulgar sense. But, if there is a constant propaganda that this is the only viable solution, and the government gives subsidiary to one who buy EV, which means everybody are taking part, wanting or not, than its an influence.

Los Angeles wrote:

Political decisions issue from us

I wish I have that confidence!

Los Angeles wrote:
EVs will be sold alongside conventional cars

I really wish I could find some true scientific elaboration and comparison taking into account the long term benefits for the humanity for EVs versus FCVs.

Los Angeles wrote:
No giant EV company exists pushing EVs as the new transportation.

I agree, that's why I have the feeling that more parts are in the play!

I guess,when that huge infrastructure has to be build, the governments will say its good for the country, the construction industry will have more jobs. Than the pay tolls will rice, prices for registration vehicles will increase, there will be additional tax on electricity bills... and so on.

So far I haven't saw good arguments against FCVs that I mention before.

And no comments on this:

Its not just Top Gear, there are many of them on the web.Videos, articles...

RadeB 2 May 2011

Re: Renault Twizy EV


I'm aware, like you are, that current production of Hydrogen relies on fossil fuels. But, we are talking about future here. The world is on a crossroad choosing technology that will have huge impact on our enviroment in the future, hence lives of our children.

The trouble I have with EVs is that I feel someone is forcing this technology without explaining to the people the problems that they'll have latter. Beside the energy source needed for the huge electricity demand, the infrastructure needed for them would be of unprecedented proportions.Every road, every street in every town will need reconstruction. Even then, can you imagine hundreds of thousands cables plugged to the charging points during the night for people living in buildings or skyscrapers? What a playground for hooligans! It is very likely that EVs will be improved in the future, but look how manufacturers are lying about their range today. Leaf ranges 160 miles, than according to the journalists 70 miles in everyday driving, but then, maybe not more then 50 miles if you use air condition or defrost windscreen...etc,etc. OK, I won't mention Top Gears test of Tesla.Than battery durability, price for their replacement? Insane!

What I like in FCV,s?

First of all , the existing infrastructure! We already have everything that is needed. Just another cistern, refiling like we are doing today, not more than a couple of minutes, not hours like for the EVs.No batteries, no replacing them, no waste products.

The problems with Hydrogen storage and danger are solved according to the :,

...and many other places , if you want to do some research. Please do, I can see you have interest in this topic!

And yes, where the energy for hydrogen production will come from? As I wrote earlier, If you give a task and motivation to the scientists, you can bet they will come with solutions that are far better than we have today. I'm just afraid the political decision is needed, and maybe other interests behind everything!