Renault Twizy (2011): the tandem-seat electric city carThu, 30 Sep 2010 00:00:00 -0700
This is the production version of the Renault Twizy, a mad 1+1 tandem-seat electric city car that will go on sale in the UK in early 2012. It’s just been unveiled at the 2010 Paris motor show.
And 12 months on in Paris Renault has unveiled the production version. Obviously all the concept car touches has been watered down, most notable of which is the lack of hexagonal wheel fairings and hubcaps, which made the 2009 concept car look like it was gliding along. The interior is a lot more humdrum too, with just a conventional Renault steering wheel and one small display screen.
But let’s not get too down about the Renault Twizy – it’s still a cool little city car that you could be driving through central London in just over 12 months time. You can pre-order yours now at www.renault-ze.com.
It’s just 2.32 metres long, 1.19 metres wide and 1.46 metres tall – a Smart Fortwo is 2695mm/1559mm/1542mm. Not convinced? Well Renault doesn’t see it as your sole car, more a secondary vehicle for whizzing around town, and it should appeal to people who can’t stand public transport, and don’t fancy the vulnerability of a scooter – there’s four wheels, a steering wheel and pedals to sate those who don’t fancy two or three-wheeled transport.
And to make you feel even more secure there’s a driver's airbag, a four-point harness up front and a three-point belt in the back, a full windscreen, and gullwing doors, and you can option extra lower doors to help keep out the UK’s crap weather. The graphics on the Paris show car hint at the potential customisation options that will be offered to customers.
There's a tiny turning circle (just 3.4m) and a 31-litre cubby hole under the rear seat. More importantly, the Twizy weighs just 450kg (including 100kg of batteries) so the 42lb ft of the electric motor should allow it to keep up with scooters and the like. Top speed is 47mph, the lithium-ion batteries give a range of 60 miles, and the Twizy can be recharged in three and a half hours.
Sales start in Europe at the end of 2011, and Renault promises 'a price tag similar to that of a three-wheeled scooter'. UK sales are planned for the first quarter of 2012, and you'll be able to buy the car but lease the battery.
By Ben Pulman