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Renault Twizy set to take Europe by storm

It may look odd, but expect to see lots of these Urban EVs around your local city soon...

When it goes on sale in March 2012, the Renault Twizy will either be a massive success or a monumental flop. Unashamedly a city runabout, the Twizy aims to make EVs more widespread by focusing on what they're good at. Short journeys.

Most journeys within a city are less than 10 miles, and 70% of all journeys have only one person in the car. So Renault have created a single seater EV which it claims will suit city life perfectly. 

The Twizy will be the third vehicle in Renault's Z.E. (Zero Emissions) product line and looks more like a covered motorbike with four wheels (13-inch rims) than an actual city car. It seats two, with the passenger sitting behind the driver. The car is 2,320 mm long, 1,191 mm wide and stands 1,461 mm tall. It has a 31 liter lock-box/luggage compartment underneath the rear seat that can be expanded to 55 liters and can hold a small shopping bag or a briefcase.

Renault promises the car will be nimble and practical. Given that the car weighs just 450 kg, including the 100 kg battery pack, and has a turning circle of only 3.4 meters, that may very well be the case. The Twizy comes with a 15kW (20 PS) electric motor with 57 Nm of torque. Top speed is 75 km/h (47 mph) although Renault will be selling a version in certain countries limited to 45 km/h (28 mph). Range on the Twizy is around 97 km (60 miles) and charging from a standard 220V 10A outlet takes three hours for a full charge.

The forthcoming Renault Twizy will be offered in three trim levels, after the French manufacturer revealed details of the mid-range ‘Colour’ variant of the electric two-seater. The only difference between the Urban and the Colour is the range of contrasting paintwork available.

Customers can order white bodywork with orange, blue or green panels or black bodywork with orange panels. Other options include diamond effect alloy wheels (an extra £350) and half-scissor doors (£455). Both options are colour co-ordinated. The Urban is available in red, black, grey or blue. The Technic comes in metallic black or metallic white and features ‘diamond black’ alloy wheels, ‘carbonfibre’ graphics and a white driver’s seat.

Currently one of the biggest issues with EVs is the high purchase price. Most like the Nissan Leaf are around £20,000 which prices them out of many's reach. This is mainly due to the price of the batteries, so Renault have come up with a different way of doing things. Priced at £6950, the Renault Twizy Colour sits between the £6690 ‘Urban’ and the range-topping £7400 ‘Technic’ versions which makes them as cheap as a low spec city car. But on top of the purchase price, you must hire the batteries from Renault which costs from £40 including VAT per month (based on three years and 4500 miles of usage per year). This also gets around the issue that EV batteries probably need to be replaced every 4 or 5 years at a cost of many thousands of pounds.

 

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more